Bulls win walk-off thriller, split series against Ball State
Freshman pitcher Alec Tuohy throws a pitch in the baseball team’s 12-11 loss to Canisius March 25. The Bulls split two games with Ball State this weekend, as the third game of the series was canceled due to weather. Chad Cooper, The Spectrum
Despite scoring at least one run in every inning from the third to the ninth on Friday, the baseball team never held a lead until the game's final swing.
Senior Mike Burke's one-out double drove in sophomore infielder Tyler Mautner for Buffalo's 14th and game-winning run in the first game of the squad's weekend series, which was split between two days after being delayed by darkness on Friday night.
The Bulls (11-9, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) won the first game of a two-game series Friday in an 11-inning marathon against conference rival Ball State (18-9, 4-1 MAC play), 14-13. Buffalo dropped the second 5-2 on Saturday and Sunday's game was postponed due to snow.
In the team's first 'home' series of the season, the Bulls endured a slew of strange weather patterns, including wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour and a suspension late in the first game due to darkness in Rochester.
The Cardinals jumped on the Bulls in Friday's contest - leading 8-1 after three innings. The Bulls responded with a four-run bottom of the fourth, but they allowed another four in the top of the fifth. Trailing 12-5, the Bulls knew they had to close a large gap with only four innings to go, but head coach Ron Torgalski was not worried.
"I told the team that we were going to score runs," Torgalski said. "Little by little, we worked ourselves back into the game."
In the bottom of the fifth, Burke hit a home run to deep left field to erase a run off of the deficit. The Bulls scored another three runs in the sixth.
The Bulls continued to close Ball State's lead until they tied the game at 13 in the bottom of the ninth inning due to a wild pitch that allowed senior outfielder Matt Pollock to score from third.
As the teams were getting ready to continue play into extra innings, however, head umpire Kirk Dominic saw dark clouds blanket the skies and decided to suspend the game due to darkness.
"We knew that it was going to snow and rain, so we planned accordingly by having [Burke] pitch the rest of the [first] game and then start the next game," Torgalski said.
The game resumed after a 19-hour hiatus.
Burke closed the game with both his arm and his bat, as he allowed no runs and only one hit in the final two innings. He also drove in the game-winning run in the 11th to end the first game.
The Bulls' bats cooled off as they fell to the Cardinals 5-2 later in the day. Ball State's All-American pitcher, Scott Baker, silenced their bats with a complete-game shut out, striking out nine and allowing four hits.
Burke started the second game, allowing four earned runs over four innings in the loss. His record now stands at 3-2, earning a win and a loss in one day.
Junior pitcher Anthony Magovney went in for relief and allowed only one run in five innings of work in Saturday's second game.
"[Baker] was an All-American last season and it showed against us on Saturday," Torgalski said. "He got into a groove early and allowed only two base runners after the third inning."
The third game, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, was canceled due to heavy snowfall in the Rochester area.
The Bulls next play a doubleheader Tuesday against St. Bonaventure (4-14) at Fred Handler Park in St. Bonaventure. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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