KALAMAZOO, MI - The University at Buffalo softball team received another big day from senior Sammi Gallardo, who became UB's all-time career leader in home runs on Friday, hitting three overall, as the Bulls swept a pair of games from Western Michigan. UB won the opener 6-2 and then came from behind to win the second game 6-5 in eight innings. The victories improve UB to 23-20 on the season and 7-5 in MAC play. The 23 wins are the third most in a season in the Division I era.
"We are very beat up, but my girls are fighters," said head coach Trena Peel. "We have people playing out of position, but we are finding a way to make plays and we got two great team wins today! We swung the bats well in both games and Sammi had another outstanding performance with three bombs. I'm proud of Hayley for stepping up and throwing a complete game. She got off to a slow start, but then really settled in."
Buffalo 6, Western Michigan 2
The Bulls got off to a big lead in the first game and used a solid pitching performance from senior Tori Speckman to win the opener, 6-2. The Bulls scored three runs in the top of the third inning as senior Holly Luciano hit an infield single to score senior Tori Pettine. A stolen base from Luciano, scored pinch runner Alexis Curtiss from third base. UB scored its final run in the inning on a single through the left side from senior Heather Ryder.
The Broncos pulled within one in the bottom half of the inning on a pair of solo home runs, but Speckman kept them off the board for the remainder of the game. UB added two in the fifth inning as Gallardo hit a solo home run to the right field, her first of three this afternoon. A double from Ryder, scored Luciano to put the Bulls up 5-2. A single from Gallardo in the sixth scored sophomore Ryleigh Fitzgerald for the final run.
Speckman picked up her 15th win of the season as she pitched seven innings and struck out five, while walking just one. Gallardo finished game one, 3-for-4 from the plate with two home runs. Luciano went 2-for-3 from the dish and Ryder went 2-for-4 from the plate.
Buffalo 6, Western Michigan 5 - 8 innings
The Bulls found themselves behind for most of the second game, but kept answering offensively to take the game in extra innings. Western Michigan scored three runs in the first inning against starter Hayley Barrow, but she settled down to pitch the complete game.
UB quickly tied the contest up in the top of the third as Gallardo hit a three run home run to right field, scoring both Fitzgerald and junior Karly Nevez. The Broncos regained the lead 4-3 after three innings. Another home run from Gallardo in the fifth, tied the game back up, but WMU regained a one run lead heading into the top of the seventh.
With UB down to its final at bats, Gallardo drew a leadoff walk and was replaced on the bases by Kenzie Koch, who moved to second on a passed ball. The Bulls put two in scoring position with one out when a groundout from Ryder brought in the tying run.
UB pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh to send the game into extra innings. Freshman Ashton Earnhardt opened the inning with a double down the left field line and she moved to third on a groundout. Earnhardt then got caught on the bases after a missed bunt attempt, but was able to succeed in the rundown, beating the throw to the plate to give UB a 6-5 lead. Western Michigan put two runners on in the bottom of the eighth, but the Bulls pitched out of it for the win.
Barrow picked up the victory to improve to 2-2 on the year. She pitched all eight innings, while walking four and striking out three. Gallardo went 2-for-3 from the plate with four runs batted in as she completed the doubleheader 5-for-7 with six runs batted in. Nevez went 3-for-4, while Luciano finished 2-for-3, as she went 4-for-6 in the doubleheader. Earnhardt also had a two-hit game for UB.
The Bulls will continue the road trip tomorrow at Northern Illinois beginning at 3:00 pm EST.