Bulls lose series to Kent State despite Hughes' shutout
Freshman pitcher Alec Tuohy and the baseball team defeated MAC East-leading Kent State in the first game of their series this past weekend, but dropped the next two games. Chad Cooper, The Spectrum
Kent State's offense has scored over nine runs in a game four times and has not been shutout in Mid-American Conference play this season.
Buffalo senior pitcher Kevin Hughes took the mound and changed that.
The Bulls (17-14, 8-6 MAC) defeated the Golden Flashes (25-12, 11-4 MAC) 6-0 in the first game of the series at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio behind Hughes' complete game shutout. Buffalo couldn't carry its momentum and dropped the last two games of the series.
"Hughes pitched the best game of his career, let alone the season," said head coach Ron Torgalski. "He kept the offense off balance, pitched ahead of guys and really good defense was playing behind him."
The Bulls jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the third inning with RBI singles from senior outfielder Matt Pollock and sophomore first baseman Tyler Mautner. It was all the offense Hughes needed as he threw a complete game shutout, allowing only two hits for his second win of the season.
Hughes began the game retiring the first eight batters he faced before surrendering his first hit.
Despite their play on Friday, the Bulls struggled in the final two games. Their five-game win streak was snapped on Saturday with an 8-4 loss.
Saturday's game was broken open in the top of the fifth inning when junior pitcher Anthony Magovney surrendered three runs to give the Flashes a 6-2 lead. Kent State would not relinquish its lead for the rest of the game, ultimately handing Magovney his first loss of the season.
"They outplayed us in every category of the game," Torgalski said. "Any time you give up 13 hits, hit six guys and walk a couple more you are not going to win a game."
Pollock was the main offensive contributor for the game with two hits and three RBIs.
The rubber match on Sunday was close for the first half of the game, as the Bulls led 2-1 going into the sixth inning. But Kent State capitalized with four runs in the latter stages of the inning - due in part to one of the rarest plays in baseball: the inside-the-park home run.
After senior outfielder Jimmy Topps suffered an injury in the game, sophomore outfielder Nick Sinay moved from right field to center - a position that he has not played all season.
"[Sinay] misplayed a hard-hit ball and started to come in on it, tripped and the ball ended up falling where it was too late to make a play," Torgalski said.
The Bulls could not play catch up after the sixth inning, ultimately losing 7-4.
The team's play as of late has been a tremendous upgrade from the beginning of the season, as its quest for a MAC title continues. Torgalski realizes, however, there are still holes that the team needs to fill in order to fulfill its goal.
"We have too many guys struggling in the lineup right now," Torgalski said. "The bottom of the order is not producing, not getting on base. For us to be a championship team, it has to improve."
With the Bulls playing 13 of their last 18 games at home, the team is confident that its late season play will propel them into the playoffs in pursuit of a MAC championship.
The Bulls next play on Friday when they host Akron (20-17, 9-6 MAC) at Amherst Audubon Stadium. First pitch is set for at 3 p.m. The series continues on Saturday and Sunday with first pitch set for 1 p.m. both days.
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