UB Bulls baseball continues poor season, falls to Central Michigan
Young team compiling experience but not wins
Much like the baseball team’s season, its weekend of play was one step forward, but two steps back.
To open a three-game series against Central Michigan, the team accumulated 11 runs and a season-high 18 hits in a four-run victory. But the Bulls combined for nine hits and were outscored 13-3 in the following two games.
The last-place baseball team (11-21, 5-10 Mid-American Conference) fell again this weekend, dropping two of three to first-place Central Michigan (27-13, 12-3 MAC) at the Amherst Audubon Center.
The team won the first game of the series on Friday, but then lost on Saturday and Sunday. It had just nine hits on Saturday and Sunday combined. Junior outfielder Nick Sinay continued his strong season, going 4-for-11 on the weekend and bringing his batting average to .339.
“It’s great to see,” said head coach Ron Torgalski of Sinay’s season after Sunday’s game. “He’s a kid who works pretty hard. He’s always doing the little things to get better. You need a guy like that in the leadoff spot, a guy who’s always a threat to steal bases, or to bunt, or to slap a ball somewhere and get on base. He’s really been fantastic so far this year, and hopefully over the next 20 games or so that we have left he continues on that pace.”
Sinay led the charge in Friday’s 11-7 win, scoring two runs. Despite three errors the Bulls impressed on offense, finishing with 18 hits. Sophomore outfielder Vinny Mallaro had two hits and three RBIs. Freshman infielder Ben Haefner and freshman 1B/Pitcher Ben Vey each had two RBIs apiece.
On Saturday, the Bulls lost the second game of the series 7-2. Buffalo committed three errors on defense in the game, including two by Haefner. Senior pitcher Anthony Magovney fell to 2-5 on the season after giving up six runs, four of which were earned and 11 hits in six innings. Senior catcher Justin Gonzalez was 2-3 in the game with an RBI and a walk.
Despite the team’s struggles, the Bulls dugout continued to be loud and supportive throughout, consistently cheering each other on and chanting – an admirable trait for Torgalski.
“We stress it all the time,” Torgalski said. “It’s about being a team and supporting your guys. We need energy from our dugout all the time to keep guys going.”
The final game of the series was a 6-1 defeat, where the Bulls accumulated just three hits on the day and scored off a Central Michigan error in the top of the third inning. Sinay had two of the three hits. Senior pitcher Mike McGee started the game and went just one and one third innings, walking three and allowing six runs.
The bullpen, however, fared better. Sophomore pitcher Mike Kaelin and junior pitcher Ben Hartz combined for seven and two thirds shutout innings in relief.
“Today was an off day for McGee,” said Torgalski. “He couldn’t find his stuff. Our plan all along was to go to Kaelin if McGee struggled early, he’s been one of our best arms this year. We wanted to get him out there to at least give us an opportunity to climb back into the game, and he did that. Same thing with Hartz. Kaelin and Hartz were fantastic against a real good hitting team.”
Although the team is at the bottom of the conference standings, Torgalski has a positive outlook on the remainder of the season.
“Were very young, we’ve got a lineup full of guys who have never played Division-I baseball on a regular basis before, we’ve had to travel a ton,” Torgalski said. “We have six guys out with injuries for the season right now… these guys that are playing now, the experience they’re getting is great. We’re going to have three or four freshmen who are going to finish the year with 150 at bats, you can’t beat that experience.”
The team will have its next game on Tuesday against Canisius (18-22, 8-4 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) at 3 p.m.
Michael Akleson is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org