EDINBURG, TX – The University at Buffalo baseball team was not able to close out the series against the UTRGV Vaqueros on Monday night with a win as the home team downed the Bulls 4-2. With the loss, the Bulls fall to 4-13 on the season while UTRGV improves to 16-7.
The Bulls struck first in the second inning as Kyle Brennan opened the inning with a single to left field, extending his career-long hit streak to 15 straight games. After a sacrifice bunt by Brian Dudek, Brennan moved into scoring position and Jeff Palczewski single to center to score the UB catcher. The RBI for Palczewski was the first of his career and made the score 1-0 in favor of the Bulls. Wyatt Myers then earned a walk and Phillip Tomasulo singled to score Palczewski and give UB the 2-0 lead.
Buffalo starting pitcher Brent Cleland had a quick 1-2-3 second inning before he battled out of the third inning when the Vaqueros got two runners on.
Buffalo opened up the fourth inning with back-to-back singles by Brennan and Dudek before Palczewski put down a sacrifice bunt to give UB runners at second and third with one out. Unfortunately, the UTRGV starter was able to strikeout the next two batters to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
After Cleland was able to gun a runner out at home on a suicide squeeze attempt and Dudek threw a runner out at home plate from left field, the Vaqueros collected three straight hits and scored four runs to take the 4-2 lead into the fifth inning.
The Vaqueros were able to open the bottom of the fourth inning with a double and single to give the home side runners on the corners with no outs. Cleland then made a great play as he threw the UTRGV runner out at home plate as they tried a suicide squeeze play. The next batter notched a single to left field and Dudek came up with the ball cleanly and threw out the runner at home plate as Brennan made a quick tag before the runner got his hand on the plate. The Vaqueros were then able to tie the game, 2-2, as they hit a single up the middle that hit second base and deflected into center field to plate a pair of runners. The home team took the 3-2 lead as the next batter connected on a double to deep center to plate the go-ahead run.
Freshman Greg Dunham entered the game and closed out the fourth inning with a strikeout before making quick work of the Vaqueros in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to send the game to the eighth with the home team up 4-2.
UB went scoreless in the top of the eighth inning and Ben Vey entered and pitched a perfect bottom half of the inning to send the game to the ninth.
After a quick out, Tomasulo singled to center and moved over to second on a passed ball and then third on a ground out by Alex Thrower. Haefner then sent a dangerous shot down the left field line but the UTRGV left fielder made a nice diving catch to prevent the run from scoring from third and gave the Vaqueros the 4-2 win and series sweep.
Palczewski finished off his game going 1-for-3 with his first career RBI while Tomasulo went 2-for-4 with a RBI in the loss. Haefner extended his reaching base streak to 17 games as he finished off his night going 2-for-5 at the plate while Brennan moved his hit streak to a career-best 15 games with a 2-for-4 day at the plate with a run scored. Dudek was also able to record his sixth multi-hit effort of the season as he went 2-for-3 with a walk as UB dropped their 10th straight game.
Dunham had his best outing of his career on Monday as he went 3.1 innings while allowing just one hit and no runs while striking out a career-high five batters as he came in relief of Cleland.
Buffalo will stay down in Texas for three more games as they head to Sam Houston State on Thursday. The Bulls and Bearkats will square off at 7:30 pm on Thursday with Alec Tuohy taking the mound for UB.