Bulls and RedHawks split doubleheader
After recording consecutive losses against Ball State on Friday, the softball team looked to turn around the rest of their weekend when they took on the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks in just their third home game this season.
The Bulls (14-24, 4-6 Mid-American Conference) started out strong as they took down the RedHawks (20-19, 5-5 MAC) in Saturday's opener at Nan Harvey Field, 4-1.
Assistant coach Jessica Jones thought the Bulls performed well.
"We played well against Miami in both games, and we actually had an opportunity to win the second game as well," Jones said. "Any time you're in both games, you have to be proud of your kids. Obviously we can do better, but we're improving every game."
After a scoreless first inning, Buffalo struck in the bottom of the second.
Senior pitcher Sharon Barr reached first base on a walk and she advanced to second on a single to right field by freshman infielder Alyssa Ward. Freshman infielder Andi Saucier then drove a single to center field to bring Barr home, giving the Bulls an early 1-0 lead.
Miami answered back. Freshman Taylor Rice tied the game up with a homerun in the top of the third inning, however, the RedHawks would be unable to plate any more runs for the remainder of the contest.
In the bottom of the third inning, freshman infielder Kristin Waldron singled down the middle. Freshman infielder Jessica Griffin followed up with a double to right-center field to drive in Waldron and regain the lead for the Bulls.
Buffalo struck again in the bottom of the fifth as junior outfielder Candice Sheehan drew a walk to reach first before senior outfielder Kristen Gallipani came in to pinch run. Freshman infielder Ashley Bertot reached first on a fielder's choice and Gallipani moved to second.
Both Gallipani and Bertot stole a base, putting two runners in scoring position. Gallipani then scored an unearned run on a fielding error by Miami's shortstop to put Buffalo up, 3-1. The Bulls finished off the RedHawks with a late homer in the bottom of the sixth. Saucier knocked one over the center field fence for her first collegiate home run to secure the victory.
Barr pitched a complete game and earned her 12th win of the season. She struck out six batters over seven innings and allowed only three hits and one walk.
Game two of the doubleheader began much like earlier in the day as the teams closed out a scoreless first inning. But the Bulls once again jumped out to an early lead following a solo home run by Barr in the bottom of the second.
A series of wild pitches in the top of the third allowed the RedHawks to take the lead. Sophomore Daniela Torres hit a single down the middle to take first and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sophomore Jordan McElroy took first on a walk before a second wild pitch moved each player ahead a base.
Jones said that the RedHawks' runs were not a direct result of the wild pitches.
"There were a lot of different factors that fell into [the RedHawks] scoring in that particular inning," Jones said. "Barr obviously threw a phenomenal day; she threw both games. With them scoring in that particular inning, they kind of had her number. She was trying to throw around them a little bit. It got away from our catcher and also they had some timely hits. It was just unfortunate that it moved the runners into scoring position at that moment."
Miami junior Meghan Mawn brought home both Torres and McElroy with a double to left field to give the RedHawks a 2-1 advantage.
Down one, Saucier started the fifth inning for Buffalo with a single to third base. Gallipani took first after being hit by a pitch and Bertot laid a sacrifice bunt to advance Gallipani and pinch runner Lindsay Hampton.
Hampton was called out at home on a fielder's choice as Waldron took first base and Gallipani advanced to third. With two outs and two runners on base, the Bulls could not convert in their final at-bat. The RedHawks held on to the narrow 2-1 lead to seal the victory.
Barr pitched another complete game and recorded five strikeouts for Buffalo.
The Bulls face the Niagara Purple Eagles (11-13, 4-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) in a non-conference doubleheader today at Nan Harvey Field. Game one is set to get under way at 3 p.m.
"Niagara is a hitting team, so we're going to have the pitchers do a pretty decent workout to make sure that they're prepared for hitting their spots and trying to shut down their defense," Jones said. "But our whole team is going to be focused on offense."