Baseball Gets Swept in Season Debut
The UB Baseball team lost its series against Kentucky 0-3. Courtesy of Paul Hokanson
The baseball team got its season under way last weekend as it took to the diamond in Lexington, KY for a three-game series.
The Bulls (0-3) are coming off of a very disappointing season (14-38) as they faced an undefeated Kentucky (6-0) in what would be a grueling non-conference series. Buffalo came out of the weekend winless, losing all three games, 13-4, 9-5, and 7-6.
Despite going winless, head coach Ron Torgalski thought his team put up a good showing.
"For the first time out on the field I thought we played well," Torgalski said. "We faced a handful of pitchers this week that are going to be top two or three round guys. So we were stepping up a level against a good SEC team."
The Southeastern Conference is home to some of the best baseball teams in the country and Kentucky has two starting pitchers in Baseball America's top 20 draft prospects.
The Wildcats were able to get off to a hot start in game one as they scored an insurmountable five runs in the first inning.
"We got to come out and throw strikes," Torgalski said. "I think it might have been a little nervousness for the guys making their first start against an SEC team. Once we got through that it seemed like our guys settled in pretty well."
The tables turned in game two, as it was the Bulls that piled on five first-inning runs, but a six-run inning in the sixth gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead in the series.
Game three proved to be a thriller as the Bulls attempted to avoid the sweep. Senior outfielder Dan Scahill and junior shortstop Jon Mestas had two huge at bats in the top of the ninth.
Trailing 6-4, Scahill started the rally with a solo homerun to bring the Bulls within one. Moments later Mestas hit an RBI single that tied the game. In the bottom of the ninth, a bases loaded walk by Buffalo's senior Kevin Crumb gave the Wildcats their third and final win of the series.
"This weekend alone I saw improvement over last year," Torgalski said. "Our approach is better, we're going into games expecting to win and it's got to be like that every time we step onto the field."
With higher expectations heading into this season, there are some promising aspects to the team.
Junior catcher Tom Murphy returned as the reigning Mid-American Conference player of the year. He was named to the Golden Spikes Award watch list, as one of the top 50 players in the country.
"I thought Murph had a pretty good weekend, offensively he picked up right where he left off last year," Torgalski said. "Defensively, we played a team that likes to run a little a bit and they didn't even try stealing on him."
Murphy batted an impressive 6-for-14 against Kentucky's dominant pitching rotation but his performance alone will not be able to bring the Bulls to success.
Although coach Torgalski was proud of the way his team played against a tougher out of conference opponent, they still came out of the weekend winless.
"My expectations are for us to keep getting better," Torgalski said. "Our goal is to be at our best when conference play starts at the end of March and make the MAC tournament this year, and I think we have the talent to do that."
The Bulls will stay on the road as they travel to Morehead, KY to face Morehead State (4-4) in a four game series this weekend. Game one will take place on Friday at 3 p.m.
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