A tale of two days
The softball team traveled to Ohio in search of their first win over a Mid-American Conference foe since 2005. After a tough first day, Buffalo finally broke the trend.
Things didn't start off as planed for the Bulls (11-21, 3-3 MAC) as they fell to the Kent State Golden Flashes (17-16, 4-2 MAC) in the opener on Saturday, 8-2.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, Kent State scored the game's first run on a solo homer by Amy Hair in the bottom of the second frame. Buffalo played small ball to tie the game in the third inning after converting on a walk, a bunt single and a balk that set up a sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Candace Sheehan.
Hair countered with her second homerun of the day in the fourth inning to headline a four-run outburst by the Golden Flashes. KSU scored another run in the fifth inning on a solo long shot by Jess Carmichael.
The Bulls scored their second and final run in the top of the sixth. Sheehan led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sophomore catcher Kristin Waldron then drove Sheehan home on a double.
Kent State responded once again with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth and coasted the rest of the way to earn the victory.
"We knew we were going to face [Kent State's] number one pitcher, Kylie Reynolds," said Assistant Coach Jessica Jones. "She has a great curveball and we focused on our offense to make sure we weren't just guessing. We did a decent job going into the first game, but we seemed to have a mind block and were still very passive at the plate."
Sophomore pitcher Terese Diaz started the game for Buffalo and struck out two batters in only one inning of work. Senior pitcher Sharon Barr earned the loss in relief despite retiring eight batters over five innings.
Sunday's game was a different story as the Bulls tallied seven hits en route to a 2-1 victory for the program's first win over Kent State in five years.
Buffalo struck first in the opening inning as freshman left fielder Ashley Bertot led off with a single and then stole second base. Waldron followed with a single to set up an RBI opportunity for freshman first baseman Jessica Griffin. Griffin delivered with a single to left to score Bertot. A wild pitch by Reynolds gave the Bulls a 2-0 lead after the first.
The Golden Flashes threatened in the bottom of the first, but left the bases loaded for a second consecutive day. Kent State's Mary Holt cut the lead in half with a solo home run in the fourth, but that was all that the Golden Flashes could muster against Barr in game two.
The Bulls stranded two runners on base in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings but their two first-inning runs held up to notch the victory.
Five different players had at least one hit on the afternoon. In her second contest in two days, Barr pitched a complete game and struck out 11 batters.
Jones was very pleased with how the team played.
"We watched a video of the game on Saturday night as a team and each player critiqued how we played," Jones said. "A hitter can learn a lot about their game when they see themselves on the screen. We responded very well on Sunday and used a full team effort to beat a solid Kent State team that is tied for first in the MAC."
The Bulls will try to earn consecutive victories when they make their season debut at Nan Harvey Field against St. Bonaventure (7-14, 2-6 Atlantic-10 Conference) on Wednesday.
"We are in a great place right now," Jones said. "We are playing with high energy. We are close-knit and we have great chemistry. We are just going to keep doing what we're doing and our play will continue to improve."
First pitch is set for 3 p.m.