BUFFALO, NY – Powered by a five-run eighth inning, the University at Buffalo baseball team (13-25, 5-8 MAC) collected a come-from-behind victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Friday afternoon at Amherst Audobon Field, 6-3. Senior designated hitter Vinny Mallaro finished the game with two RBI as he became the programs all-time leader in RBI with 139 career runs batted in for the blue and white.
Trailing 3-1 entering the eighth inning, the Buffalo offense awoke and scored five runs to take the 6-3 lead into the final inning. Andrew Taft started the rally with an opposite field home run to right field to bring UB within one, 3-2. Brian Wasilewski earned a walk before Phillip Tomasulo and Ben Haefner were hit by pitches to load the bases. With a new pitcher entering for the Eagles, Mallaro worked a walk to force home the tying run. Chris Kwitzer then stepped in and wasted no time, knocking a bases-clearing double into the right center field gap to give UB the 6-3 lead and eventual win.
After a quick first inning, the Eagles were able to strike first in the second inning as they put a run on the board to take the 1-0 lead. The Eagles loaded the bases before Drake Lubin notched the RBI with a ground out to Charlie Sobieraski.
Sobieraski got out of the third inning with a pair of strikeouts before the Eagles knocked in a run in the fourth and fifth innings to take the 3-0 lead.
The Buffalo offense was finally able to break through with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning as Mallaro crushed a solo home run to deep left field, his sixth homer in his last eight games. The solo shot tied Mallaro for the program lead in RBI for a career. UB loaded the bases after the home run but weren't able to get any closer, trailing 3-1 through six innings.
Ben Vey was able to strike out three Eastern Michigan batters over the next two innings to give UB a chance to win the game. The Buffalo offense responded in a big way in the eighth inning as they scored five runs to take the 6-3 lead.
After back-to-back singles and a fielding error in the outfield gave the Eagles runners on second and third with no outs, Vey was replaced by closer Logan Harasta. The flamethrower came in throwing strikes with a pair of runners in scoring position as he struck out the side to nail down his fourth save of the season. All three strikeouts were swinging strikeouts as the Eagles weren't able to catch up to Harasta's fastball.
Kwitzer continued to swing a hot bat for the Bulls on Friday as he finished off the game going 1-for-4 with three RBI and a double, extending his season-long hitting streak to 12 straight games. Mallaro connected on his team-leading seventh homer of the season as he finished the game going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. The senior now has 139 career RBI, a program record, while ripping 25 career homers which ranks fourth in program history. Mallaro now has a team-best 14 multi-hit games to go along with nine multi-RBI efforts for the Bulls.
After pinch hitting late in the game, Taft was able to go 1-for-2 with his second home run of the season and one RBI. Brian Wasilewski earned two walks and scored a run while Phillip Tomasulo went 1-for-4 with a run scored in the win.
Sobieraski finished off his no decision going 5.0 innings while allowing six hits, three runs and striking out six batters. Vey was great out of the bullpen for the Bulls as he went 3.0 scoreless innings while allowing just four hits and striking out five batters. Closer Logan Harasta had one dominant inning as he struck out the side in the ninth inning to record his career-best fourth save of the season.
The Bulls and Eagles will return to the diamond on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm for the second game of a three-game series. Shawn Dubin will take the mound for the Bulls while Brad Allen will pitch for Eastern Michigan.