OLEAN, NY – Behind seven scoreless innings on the mound from junior right-handed pitcher Brent Cleland, the University at Buffalo baseball team (7-14, 0-0 MAC) collected their second straight win on Tuesday afternoon on the road at Big 4 foe St. Bonaventure. Cleland had his best outing in over a year on Tuesday as he went 7.0 innings while allowing just five hits and striking out a season-best seven Bonnies batters in the UB victory.
Buffalo was able to get on the board in the top of the first inning as Alex Thrower, Brian Dudek and Ben Haefner all earned free passes to load the bases with no outs. Vinny Mallaro then collected his 13th RBI of the season as he grounded into a fielder's choice to third base that scored Thrower.
After Brent Cleland was able to get out of some trouble in the bottom of the first, the Buffalo offense added three runs to give them the 4-0 lead in the second. Eddie Edwards III reached on a dropped third strike before Phillip Tomasulo was hit by a pitch and Thrower earned his second walk of the game to load the bases with one out. Dudek then dug in and grounded out to score Edwards III before Haefner stayed hot at the plate with a 2-RBI single to center field.
Clinging to the 4-0 lead, junior Brent Cleland began to find the zone and made quick work of the Bonnies at the plate. He spread three hits out over the next three innings and then finished off a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fifth to send the Bulls to the sixth leading 4-0.
The Bulls added another run to their lead in the seventh inning as Edwards III walked and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Thrower extended his season-long hitting streak to eight straight games as he singled and advanced to second on a throwing error by the third baseman that allowed Edwards III to touch home plate.
Cleland's sparkling day came to an end after he made quick work of the Bonnies in the bottom of the seventh as the Bulls led 5-0 heading into the eighth.
After a scoreless top half of the eighth, the Bonnies struck for four runs off of the Bulls bullpen. The Bonnies collected four straight hits including a 2-RBI triple by David Vaccaro to score four runs before Greg Dunham was able to get three straight outs to help preserve the 5-4 Buffalo lead heading into the ninth.
Ben Vey entered the game in the ninth inning and made quick work of the Bonnies as he forced a ground out, a fly out and a strikeout to give the Bulls the 5-4 road victory and record his first save of the season.
Cleland sparkled on the mound for the Bulls on Tuesday as he returned to his dominant self from two seasons ago. The junior went 7.0 innings while scattering just five hits and one walk while allowing no runs and striking out a season-high seven batters in his first win of the season. Vey was able to close the door for his second career save.
As a team, the Bulls were only able to collect two hits on the afternoon but they used patience at the plate to earn 10 free passes. Thrower was the headlight for the Bulls as he went 1-for-2 at the plate with three walks and two runs scored. Edwards III was able to earn two walks and came around to score twice while Tomasulo scored the other Buffalo run in the win. Haefner was able to go 1-for-4 with two RBI, extending his reaching base safely streak to 21 straight games while Brennan earned a walk to reach base safely for his 18th straight game. Dudek finished with a RBI and a walk as he has now reached base safely in 18 straight for UB.
The Bulls will return to the diamond on Friday night as they open up Mid-American Conference play on the road at Kent State. First pitch is set for 6:00 pm as Alec Tuohy will toe the rubber for UB.