AKRON, OH - The University at Buffalo softball team won its eighth straight game on Thursday as the Bulls defeated Central Michigan, 12-1, in five innings. It was the first time that UB has ever won twice in the same MAC Tournament. The Bulls are now 29-20 on the season. UB will face Ohio on Friday at 5pm with a trip to the Championship Game at stake.
UB has now scored 23 runs in two MAC Tournament games, putting up five-run innings in the second and again in the fifth.
After both teams were scoreless through the first, UB put up five in the second, using a pair of home runs. Junior Hayley Barrow hit a solo shot with one away and then the Bulls scored four more with two outs. Sophomore Ryleigh Fitzgerald singled home a run before senior Sammi Gallardo hit a three-run home run to left center, her 16th home run of the season. The Bulls added two more in the fourth after a sacrifice fly from junior Alexis Curtiss and wild pitch, which scored Fitzgerald.
Senior Tori Speckman continued to keep Central Michigan out of the hit column until the fourth when the Chippewas got on the board with an RBI single.
UB answered though by scoring five more times in the fifth to put the game out of reach. All five of the runs came with two outs after CMU was unable to field a shallow popup, which scored the first run. The Bulls then loaded the bases and freshman Savanna Norcio came in as a pinch hitter and hit a double to left center, scoring a pair of runs. Curtiss followed that up with a single to left center, driving in two more. Three infield pop ups for CMU in the fifth ended the game due to the run rule.
"I am so blessed to be coaching this group of girls," said head coach Trena Peel. "They are on a mission and I'm riding the wave with them. They are taking their hacks and playing awesome defense. Tori is doing her job on the mound and putting us in position to win."
Speckman improved to 21-11 on the season as she allowed just two hits and one unearned run. She struck out four in her five innings in the circle. Offensively, both Gallardo and Curtiss drove in three runs, while Norcio drove in another two. Six different players recorded hits in the game.
The Bulls will face Ohio on Friday at 5pm after the Bobcats defeated top-seeded Ball State on Thursday. The winner will move straight into the championship game.