Bats Get Hot As Bulls Split Midweek Doubleheader At Akron

Alexis Matheney

AKRON, OH – The University at Buffalo softball team split its midweek doubleheader at Akron on Tuesday afternoon. The Bulls lost 4-3 in game one before the bats exploded in a 16-6 win in six innings in game two. Buffalo is now 3-3-1 in league play.

The Zips got on the board first in game one on a rundown situation in which a runner scored to give Akron a 1-0 lead at the end of the third, but the Bulls would have an answer. Buffalo loaded the bases in the top of the fourth and took advantage as Alissa Karjel smacked a bases clearing triple to the right field corner to put UB up 3-1.

Akron would tie the game 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI triple and a UB error. The Bulls got a runner in scoring position in the top of the seventh but couldn't bring her home and that would prove to be costly as the Zips won the game on an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh for the 4-3 walk-off victory. The Bulls stranded nine baserunners in the opening game.

"In the first game we struggled with our timely hitting," head coach Mike Ruechel said. "We had plenty of opportunities but were unable to capitalize."

Akron struck first again in game two, scoring three runs on three straight hits to take an early 3-0 lead, but the Bulls responded in a big way in the top of the second as Alexis Matheney blasted a grand slam over the left field wall, her team-leading fifth home run of the season, to put UB up 4-3.

The bats continued to heat up as the Bulls broke the game open in the bottom of the third as Catrell Robertson took the first pitch deep to left for a solo home run. Buffalo would add five more insurance runs on a Karjel RBI sac fly and RBI singles by Ufuoma Ogagan, Anna Aguon and Jenelle Martinez to extend their lead to 10-3 through three innings of play.

The barrage continued in the fourth as Matheney smacked an RBI double through the left side and Aguon followed with an RBI double of her own to put the Bulls up 13-3. The Zips fought back adding three runs in the bottom of the inning on a three-run home run to cut the lead to 13-6 but the Bulls continued to pile it on in the sixth as Olivia Kincanon ripped a bases clearing double to the gap in left center to extend the Buffalo lead to 16-6 and that would be the final as the Zips were unable to score in the bottom of the inning to extend the game.

Matheney finished her career-day at the plate going 3-for-3 with a double, a home run, five RBI and four runs scored, while Aguon went 3-for-5 with a double, three RBI and a run scored. Also recording a multi-hit game for UB was Ogagan who finished 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and four runs scored.

Lace Smith got the start in the circle in game two, giving up four runs on seven hits in four innings of work. Ally Power gave up two runs on three hits and struck out five batters in two innings of relief.

"In the second game we were able to get our swing off," Ruechel said. "We took advantage of big situations and were able to string multiple hits together. It was great to see an offensive rebound in the second game and we are looking forward to returning home next week."

The 16 runs were the most scored by the Bulls since April 3, 2018, also against Akron. The 16 runs scored, 14 RBI and 31 at bats were all season-highs for Buffalo. The four runs scored by Ogagan and Matheney tied the UB single-game record.

Buffalo will have the weekend off before returning home to host Akron in a single-game on Wednesday, April 10, at 2pm at Nan Harvey Field.