New-look Bulls go undefeated in first weekend of softball competition
Published: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014 19:02
In 2013, it took the softball team 28 games to win six. The 2014 team only needed six games to reach that mark.
The Trena Peel era has officially begun in Buffalo. The former standout college softball player from LSU – in her first season as head coach of the softball team – led the Bulls to a program record six straight wins to start the season this weekend.
The Bulls (6-0) accumulated wins against Southern University (0-2), Texas Tech (3-2), Alabama State (0-5), Southeastern Louisiana (2-2) and Nicholls State (1-4).
Peel can already see a noticeable difference in the team’s success.
“It’s not even a comparison,” Peel said. “They only won 16 games last year and to start off the season with six wins is only the beginning.”
The most exciting games of the weekend came on Saturday and Sunday.
In the Bulls’ second game on Saturday, they trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, but three late RBIs from senior pitcher/first baseman Heather Ryder and junior catcher/third baseman Alexis Curtiss led the Bulls to a 4-3 victory over Alabama State.
Senior infielder Sammi Gallardo delivered some game-saving heroics in the top of the seventh inning of the Bulls’ game against Southeastern Louisiana in the Bulls’ final game on Saturday. With the Bulls trailing by a run, Gallardo provided all the offense the Bulls needed for the day with a two-run blast.
On Sunday, senior pitcher Tori Speckman kept the weekend perfect despite offensive struggles with a complete-game, four-hit shutout. It was her fourth win of the weekend.
Friday featured a record-breaking offensive output as the Bulls swept their doubleheader against Southern University.
Gallardo and outfielder Holly Luciano led the offensive explosion with a pair of hits and three RBIs each in the first game.
Luciano stole the show in the second game, amassing six RBIs and the Bulls’ first home run of the season, launching a three-run home run over the left field fence during the top of the sixth inning. The Bulls also set a school record for most runs scored in a single game in the 19-5 rout. Freshman outfielder Ashton Earnhardt and Curtiss contributed to the record-breaking win with three RBIs each.
The Bulls also defeated Texas Tech during the first game on Saturday.
Peel says her formula for success at Hampton University was her inspiration for the Bulls this season.
“[At Hampton] we won our conference championship and got two recruiting classes the following year,” Peel said. “I’m hoping we have the same success here.”
Not only has the team seen more success on the field, but the locker room mentality is growing more positive.
“They expect to win,” Peel said. “They put the work in off the field and it shows during games. The seniors are leading the way and they are doing a great job of it.”
With the combination of high-powered offense and lights-out pitching, the Bulls are seeing more success than they ever have before.
The Bulls travel to Oxford, Miss., for their next game on Feb. 21 to compete in the Red & Blue Classic. They take on Saint Louis (2-2) at 9 a.m. that day.