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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Bonaventure Blasts Bulls

The baseball team played its first game of the season at Amherst Audubon Field on Tuesday. However, it was its opponents who felt right at home.

The Bulls (7-23, 0-9 Mid-American Conference) sought to end their 10-game losing streak when they faced St. Bonaventure (10-15, 2-4 Atlantic-10 Conference) in a doubleheader. The Bonnies took advantage of Buffalo's poor performance and took the two-game series, 3-2, 12-4.

The afternoon's increasing winds led to a hard-fought first game. Buffalo took the lead in the third inning when sophomore catcher Tom Murphy and senior designated hitter Eric Bryce drove in a run each to put the Bulls ahead 2-1. The Bonnies scored runs in the fourth and fifth innings to retake the lead.

Buffalo had a chance to come back in the seventh inning. A string of fielding errors by St. Bonaventure loaded the bases for the Bulls. Murphy tried to capitalize off of this golden opportunity, but he hit a grounder to the shortstop, whose short throw pulled the first baseman away from the bag. This allowed sophomore outfielder Matt Pollock to cross the plate and tie the game.

Unfortunately for Buffalo, the umpires changed the call after the St. Bonaventure coaches made an appeal. Murphy was consequently ruled out at first, which negated Pollock's scored run and ended the game.

Head coach Ron Torgalski said that the situation wasn't the only opportunity Buffalo missed, as his team was docile at the plate for the majority of the game.

"We didn't wake up until the end," Torgalski said. "We had opportunities and… good teams take advantage of them. [St. Bonaventure] loaded the bases for us, and all we needed was a hit or two to win the game."

Things only got worse for the Bulls in the second game. A series of mishandled balls by the infield allowed St. Bonaventure to take a 5-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Buffalo's sloppy defensive performance led to five errors and six unearned runs.

Torgalski was disappointed with the infielders' performance.

"It was a lack of concentration," Torgalski said. "We had a couple of new guys in there and they played scared. They didn't make plays and that set the tone for the whole game."

The pitching staff couldn't get anything going at the mound. The Bulls only managed to strike out one batter after four pitching changes. They also allowed six walks and 11 hits.

Buffalo was cold at the plate as well and hit 5-for-26 in the game. Torglaski thought the field's windy conditions were no excuse for the batters' lackluster performances.

"We got to be able to make the adjustment [against such conditions]," Torgalski said. "I thought we had guys in the lineup that… took lazy swings and chased bad pitches. I don't think what [the Bonnies] threw against us was anything close to what we saw on the last few weekends and we let them get away with it."

St. Bonaventure scored seven unanswered runs before the Bulls responded in the sixth inning. Sophomore outfielder Jason Kanzler's and Bryce's back-to-back singles sent junior catcher Jamie Jiron across the plate after he led off with a double to left center field. An error allowed Kanzler and Bryce to cross the plate to cap the Bulls' scoring.

Buffalo's poor performance in the afternoon led Torgalski to question the will of his starting players.

"I told my players that tomorrow at practice every position is wide open," Torgalski said. "We're going to find nine guys that want to play with passion and sacrifice their bodies to make plays. I didn't see that today and it was disappointing."

The Bulls were far more successful in their March doubleheader against the Bonnies. Buffalo's .381 batting average allowed them to take both games, 7-1,11-3.

Buffalo will return to MAC play when it hosts Ball State (7-23, 5-4 MAC). The first game is scheduled to start on Friday at 3 p.m.

Email: sports@ubspectrum.com


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