Bulls go undefeated in opening weekend

On February 23, 2014

  • Senior outfielder Matt Pollock went 3 for 3 on Sunday as the baseball team defeated Quinnipiac, 10-1, to complete an undefeated weekend at the Spartan Classic. Chad Cooper, The Spectrum

Coming into the weekend, the baseball team thought its biggest problem was replacing its star-studded senior class from last season. On the way home, its biggest problem was deciding whether to watch a comedy or a horror movie on the bus ride.

After Buffalo's opening weekend against Davidson (2-2) was snowed out, the Bulls (3-0) had their first action of the season this weekend at the Spartan Classic in Norfolk, Va. The round-robin tournament consisted of four teams, each playing one game per day for three days.

After nine months of anticipation following the most successful season in program history, the Bulls did not disappoint. The team went 3-0 in its first taste of competition, with wins against Norfolk State (1-4), Villanova (1-4) and Quinnipiac (0-3). Both strong pitching and offensive performances contributed to the victories.

Coach Ron Torgalski believes the theme for success this season is smart, fundamental baseball along with motivated players.

"Our situational hitting was on point all weekend," Torgalski said. "If we needed a sacrifice with a guy on third, we got it done. They work hard in the offseason and in the weight room, and you could see the progression."

Coming into the season, the team knew that replacing star outfielder Jason Kanzler - who is now in the Minnesota Twins' organization - was going to be a challenge.

Kanzler led the team with a .330 batting average, 53 RBIs, 12 home runs and a .997 fielding percentage in 2013. As hard as it is replacing those numbers, a young platoon of speedy and athletic outfielders has so far impressed.

"You can't replace a guy like Kanzler, but we have an array of young talent that will collectively make up for what we lost," Torgalski said.

Senior infielder/pitcher Mike Burke led the Bulls with a .625 batting average, one home run and four RBIs over two games. He launched a home run to right field in the top of the fifth inning in a 7-1 win over Norfolk State on Friday.

Saturday was the closest game of the weekend, but the Bulls' pitching was too powerful for the Villanova bats.

Junior pitcher Anthony Magovney hurled a gem, allowing only two hits and two walks over 7.1 innings in the 4-2 victory. Junior first baseman Tyler Mautner went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs. Senior shortstop Mike Scarcello and senior designated hitter Thomas Richards contributed positive offensive production.

The team finished its weekend with a 10-1 rout of Quinnipiac. Sophomore outfielder Nick Sinay led the offensive explosion with a 5-tool performance, going 3 for 3 with three walks, a pair of RBIs and a stolen base, and providing excellent fielding in the outfield.

Burke, the team's leading pitcher last season, silenced the Bobcats by pitching 6 innings, allowing one earned run and striking out 10.

The team continues its season on Friday with a doubleheader against Maryland Eastern Shore and Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.


email: sports@ubspectrum.com

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