HARRISONBURG, VA – The University at Buffalo baseball team (4-5, 0-0 MAC) was handed their second straight loss on Sunday afternoon despite owning a 4-1 lead entering the seventh inning. The James Madison Dukes earned the 9-4 win on Sunday as the UB offense was only able to produce six hits in the loss.
The Bulls wasted no time scoring the first run of the game on Sunday as Alex Thrower led off the game with a walk and he stole second base to get into scoring position. After Eddie Edwards III moved Thrower over to third with a ground out, Ben Haefner flied out to deep right field and Thrower crossed the plate on the sacrifice fly.
Buffalo made the score 2-0 in the top of the second as Kyle Brennan singled to right field and advanced to second on an error by the right fielder. Brian Dudek then walked to give UB runners on first and second before Andrew Taft singled through the left side of the infield to score Brennan from third.
UB starter Shawn Dubin got out of a major jam in the bottom of the third inning after walking the bases loaded with no outs. Dubin made a great pitch and induced a double play as Wyatt Myers fielded the ball and threw it home for the force before Brennan gunned out Brett Johnson at first. Dubin then struck out the next batter to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
After a quick fourth inning by Bulls, the Dukes were able to get on the board in the bottom half of the inning as Ky Parrott singled through the right side of the infield to score Ryan Coale from second base, making the score 2-1 in favor of UB.
The Bulls added to their lead in the top of the sixth as Haefner earned a walk and then was able to score on Vinny Mallaro's first homer of the season. Mallaro took the pitch over the left center field wall to make the score 4-1 in favor of UB. The home run for Mallaro was the 19th of his UB career as he moved into a tie with Jason Kanzler for 6th most in program history.
The Dukes threatened to cut into the 4-1 Buffalo lead in the bottom of the sixth as they loaded the bases with no outs. Ben Vey entered the game out of the bullpen and got a pair of strikeouts and a foul out to first base to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
The James Madison bats continued to stay hot in the seventh inning as they were able to take a two-run lead, 6-4, as they scored five runs in the inning off of Vey. Jack Hamner struck with a 2-RBI single to tie the game as Logan Harasta was called out of the pen to replace Vey. Kyle McPherson then connected on a 2-RBI single of his own to give the Dukes the 6-4 lead heading into the eighth.
The Dukes added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth to put the game away. The home team claimed the 9-4 victory and a 2-1 series win over the Bulls despite trailing by three runs entering the seventh.
Mallaro was the lone bright spot for the Bulls on Sunday as he connected on his first homer of the season, going 1-for-4 with a homer, two RBI and a run scored. Brian Dudek continued to swing a hot bat as he went 2-for-3 with a walk while Haefner and Taft each notched a hit and RBI in the loss.
Dubin was impressive in his five innings of work on Sunday as he allowed just one run while striking out six James Madison batters in the no decision.
The Bulls will return to Buffalo for their next game as they head to cross-town rival Canisius on Tuesday afternoon. The Bulls and Griffins will face-off at 3:00 pm on Tuesday at the Demske Sports Complex on the campus of Canisius.