Baseball falls one rally short of sweep
Bulls take two of three from Ohio, remain No. 1 in MAC
Published: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 11:05
After two easy wins to start the weekend and with its ace on the mound Sunday, the baseball team appeared to be in a good position to sweep its third straight conference series.
But uncharacteristic poor defense and wild pitching gave underdog Ohio (12-33, 7-14 Mid-American Conference) two leads late in the game, and although the Bulls (26-18, 15-5 MAC) rallied from behind twice earlier in the game, they could not overcome the final deficit. The Bulls remain 1.5 games ahead of Kent State and Northern Illinois for No. 1 overall in the conference.
Buffalo won its seventh straight conferences series, defeating the Bobcats on Friday and Saturday, 6-1 and 8-0, respectively, before falling just short of the sweep with a 4-3 loss Sunday.
“They made plays; we didn’t,” said head coach Ron Torgalski on Sunday. “We had opportunities we didn’t take advantage of, but at the end of the day, we are still walking out of here with our seventh series win and we’re still in first place.”
Sophomore pitchers Mike McGee and Anthony Magovney held the Bobcats to just one run in their Friday and Saturday starts.
McGee struggled early in his start on Friday and could not get out of the sixth inning. He only allowed one unearned run, however, before handing the ball off to freshman Ben Hartz, who went the rest of the way with 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Magovney was brilliant on Saturday, throwing just 85 pitches in a complete-game effort. He allowed just four hits white striking out four and walking none.
Junior pitcher/shortstop Mike Burke took the mound on Sunday, but a combination of Burke’s early struggles and the team’s offensive woes downed the Bulls.
Burke, who missed his start last weekend because of a rainout, allowed two runs in the third before settling in and retiring nine in a row from the fourth to sixth innings.
Burke went eight innings, throwing 85 pitches and allowing six hits and two earned runs while walking one and striking out three.
Senior pitcher River McWilliams came on for the ninth, and after not pitching on Friday or Saturday, hit the first batter he saw and allowed a double to the next to put runners at second and third with no outs. He retired the next three batters, but Ohio scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly.
After combining for 23 hits on Friday and Saturday, Buffalo was held to just six on Sunday.
“This kid throwing today shouldn’t have had the success he did against us,” Torgalski said. “We’re a better hitting team than that.”
Buffalo has already clinched a spot in the MAC Tournament and currently holds the best record in the conference.
The Bulls will travel to Niagara (15-31, 9-12 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) on Tuesday before jumping back into their conference schedule.
They will take on Miami Ohio (22-25, 11-10 MAC) in their second-to-last conference series next weekend. The RedHawks are currently in third place in the East, four and a half games behind the Bulls.
First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Sal Maglie Stadium in Niagara Falls.