Buffalo softball falls in MAC Championship game
Senior pitcher Tori Speckman and the Bulls' season came to a conclusion Saturday following a 4-0 loss to Ohio in the MAC Championship. Yusong Shi, The Spectrum
Buffalo softball's historic season came to a finish Saturday.
The Bulls (30-22) lost to Ohio (32-24) 4-0 in the Mid-American Championship game Saturday. Buffalo began the day with a 7-2 victory over Northern Illinois (26-31) to advance to the championship.
The team entered the MAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed - its best since joining the conference. This was also its first trip to the MAC Championship and first winning season since 2004.
Buffalo's offense struggled to do much against Bobcat starting pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey. Dorsey took the game over, not only with her pitching, but her hitting. Her solo homerun in the fifth inning was the Bobcats first of three runs as they built a comfortable lead heading into the final innings. Ohio's final two runs came on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
Dorsey pitched all seven inning, allowing only five hits and striking out 10 batters. Dorsey started four Ohio games during the tournament and only allowed one run.
Buffalo threatened in the following inning with back-to-back singles to start the inning, but Dorsey retired the next three batters to halt any potential comeback.
Senior pitcher Tori Speckman allowed two earned runs on nine hits and recorded three strikeouts in the loss.
The Bulls' success throughout the season was largely due to their strong senior class. Speckman finished the season in the circle for Buffalo, much as she did throughout the year. Speckman rewrote the Buffalo softball record books this season.
Her 37 starts, 244.2 innings, 228 strikeouts and 22 victories are all program-bests for a single season. Speckman ended her career as Buffalo's all-time leader in games (147), starts (98), innings pitched (649.2) and victories (48). Her 530 career strikeouts is just six behind Stacey Evans for the best in school history.
Senior shortstop Sammi Gallardo finished the season with 16 homeruns - a single-season program record - and a team-leading 42 RBIs. Gallardo set the single-season home run record with 30, breaking Breanne Nasti's record of 27 from 2001-04, and was one RBI shy of tying the single-season record.
Senior centerfielder Holly Luciano led Buffalo with 53 hits. Lucianio, Gallardo and Speckman all earned First-Team All-MAC honors.
Speckman pitched all seven innings in Buffalo's morning victory against Northern Illinois. The Bulls' six-run third inning catapulted them to the 7-2 victory.
Both of Buffalo's losses in the MAC Tournament came to Ohio. Ohio finished the tournament undefeated and earned the conference's automatic berth to the national tournament.
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