On the road again
Baseball team travels to Akron after home-opening sweep of Kent State
After sweeping conference rival Kent State last weekend and claiming sole possession of first place, the Bulls are headed to Akron to take on the Zips. Joe Malak, The Spectrum
A little more than halfway through its conference schedule, the baseball team has already matched the school record for conference wins.
The Bulls (21-17, 11-4 Mid-American Conference) have catapulted into first place in the MAC East division after a sweep of defending MAC champion Kent State (20-20, 9-6 MAC) last weekend.
This season has been full of firsts for head coach Ron Torgalski's squad. The Bulls have already won more games than they did last season and are just two wins away from the school record. But the season has included disappointments, too.
Buffalo is 1-6 in games played during the week - something Torgalski acknowledged has been an issue over the past few seasons. While everyone has been focused for conference games this season, every player isn't mentally there for the midweek games, according to Torgalski.
"For us to be a good team, our approach has to be the same every time we step out on the field," Torgalski said.
Poor midweek play has been one of the only negatives for the Bulls since they started conference play. Despite playing four of five series away from Buffalo, the Bulls have won every weekend series and, after last weekend's sweep, hold a perfect 3-0 home record against conference opponents.
The Bulls' four series wins to open the conference season were particularly important, according to Torgalski. Those games were pivotal to dictating the Bulls' success this season because they came before they played a single home game.
Torgalski believes the Bulls proved a lot in those series, and the confidence has carried through to this point in the season.
"We grind it out and we come to play, and they showed it again this weekend, grinding out three one-run games against what is supposedly the best team in the conference," Torgalski said.
Because poor weather forced Buffalo to play two of its four conference home series out of town, the squad has only one conference home series remaining. This weekend, the Bulls will travel to Akron (9-29, 6-9 MAC) to take on the Zips in another MAC East showdown.
Torgalski has made sure his team understands just how close the MAC is at this point in the season. There are three teams behind the Bulls with eight or more wins, which means one bad weekend could drop the Bulls from their place atop the standings to third or fourth.
The Bulls can't look past Akron, either. Despite the Zips holding the worst overall record in the conference and winning just six conference games, they have beaten every conference foe they have taken on at least once.
"There is still a long way to go and we haven't accomplished anything yet," Torgalski said. "They know that; we know that we have to keep taking care of business and try to make it a special season."
The Bulls seem to be building on their momentum as they extend their series-winning streak deeper into the season. If they continue winning, it won't be long until they clinch their second-straight MAC Tournament berth.
"Every time we step on a field, our goal is to win a game and I think they're starting to believe it more and more," Torgalski said.
First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Canal Park.
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