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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Stampede Halted at Eastern Michigan

The baseball team was poised for a strong start to conference play coming off of a five-game winning streak. As hot as the team was, it could not handle its first familiar foe.

With their recent success, the Bulls (7-14, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) had high hopes of continuing their winning streak against Eastern Michigan (15-8, 3-0 MAC), but Buffalo couldn't get anything going at the plate in the first two games and lost 11-2 and 5-1. Then, the Bulls blew a three-run lead in the series finale and lost in extra innings, 6-5.

Buffalo's hitting was nonexistent in the first two games. The windy weather hindered the Bulls' approach at the plate; they recorded a .197 batting average and struck out 29 times in the series.

The defense didn't perform well, either. In the first game, the Bulls' pitching staff allowed 18 hits. In Saturday's game, fielding errors proved costly for Buffalo, as Eastern Michigan capitalized off of Buffalo's mistakes en route to a win.

Head coach Ron Torgalski was surprised that the team didn't build off of its five-game winning streak.

"I thought we would've came out and played a little bit better," Torgalski said. "We didn't play clean baseball and we didn't execute as well as we needed to. I think [the losses] woke us up."

Buffalo nearly avoided being swept with its performance in Sunday's game. After finding themselves down 2-0 in the fourth, the Bulls took advantage of two errors by the Eagles to score three runs. The team then extended its lead to 5-2, courtesy of RBI singles by sophomore infielder Alex Baldock and junior infielder Jordan Camp.

Junior pitcher Cameron Copping only gave up two runs and four hits before senior Jeff Thompson relived him. Thompson couldn't keep the Eagles' batters in check and gave up three runs.

Junior pitcher Kevin Hughes stepped in for Thompson and had to work his way out of trouble in the ninth. With runners at first and second base, Hughes forced a fly out and a ground out to send the game into extra innings.

Buffalo couldn't capitalize off of the extra opportunity. The team went three-up, three-down in the 10th. The inning proved to be the Bulls' last shot at victory, as the Eagles scored right after to lock up the dramatic comeback win.

Although Torgalski was disappointed about the losses, he was quick to praise Eastern Michigan's performance.

"[The Eagles] were able to come out and make plays," Torgalski said. "Right now, they're probably playing the best baseball of anybody in the conference and good teams find a way to do that."

Torgalski believes that his team needs to be able to execute better offensively in order become more competitive against its upcoming conference opponents.

"We've been throwing strikes lately but this weekend we just didn't make the plays we needed to make," Torgalski said. "Until we become consistent, we're only going to be an average team."

The Bulls will hit the diamond again to face Canisius (9-14, 3-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Wednesday. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Email: sports@ubspectrum.com


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