Cold day on Main Street
Bulls’ bats freeze up, UB drops Big Four opener to Canisius
The shining sun did not make the mercury rise in the thermometer on Tuesday afternoon.
It was a chilly March afternoon as the Bulls (12-11, 2-1 Mid-American Conference) saw an early lead disappear against Big Four rival Canisius (15-7), as Buffalo lost 6-5.
After jumping to an early 5-1 lead in the second inning, Buffalo failed to record a run in six consecutive innings, finishing the game going 5 for 29 from the plate while striking out 10 times.
"Their guys kept us off balance," said head coach Ron Torgalski. "I didn't think we had a real good two-strike approach today and we took some bad swings. We have to get more base runners. Bottom line, we just didn't hit. We just didn't do what we needed to do at the plate. To go that long without hits is just unacceptable."
Senior outfielder Jason Kanzler - who is batting .368 with 28 runs batted in and six home runs this season - opened the Bulls' early offensive assault with a triple, but that was the only hit he recorded on the day.
"He happened to throw me a fastball down the middle, which is the pitch I'm hunting for," Kanzler said. "I got lucky with that and I smashed it."
The Bulls scored five runs in three innings but then lost their momentum, allowing it to swing in the favor of the Golden Griffins, who took advantage of a pitching change.
Torgalski changed pitchers to start the bottom of the sixth inning, electing to go with senior Zach Stephens. Canisius hit Stephens hard, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth and pulling within one.
"We let one get away," Torgalski said. "I thought we would be able to hold a five-run lead. [Stephens] came in and he just didn't have it today. He got squared up a handful of times."
Canisius took the lead on a double by Brett Sidall in the eighth inning. The Griffs held on, putting the Bulls down in order in the ninth to complete the comeback victory.
"Off-speed pitches are not our forte and we just got a little lazy with the bats," Kanzler said. "When it's this cold out, you just have to get the ball in play and we just didn't do that."
Junior Cory Folk started on the mound for the Bulls. He pitched five innings, surrendering four hits and one run. He struck out one batter.
Stephens recorded one inning of work with four hits and four earned runs. Freshman Mike Kaelin allowed the winning run to cross the plate in the eighth inning and was credited with the loss.
The Bulls now travel to Western Michigan (7-16, 3-0 MAC) for their first conference road series. The first game will be on Friday; opening pitch is slated for 3 p.m. at Robert J. Bobb Stadium.
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