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

Bulls Look To End April Struggles

The baseball team started play last weekend on a seven-game losing streak that it was hoping to break in Toledo. After play concluded on Sunday, the streak had ballooned to 10 games.

The Bulls (7-21, 0-9 Mid-American Conference) dropped all three games against Toledo (16-15, 7-2 MAC), and none of the contests were very competitive (7-0, 7-3, 9-5).

Buffalo's offense has been a huge problem in many games this year, and that didn't change last weekend. The Bulls were outscored over the three games by a combined score of 23-8.

In game one, Toledo starting pitcher Mike Hamann shut down the Bulls offense, throwing seven innings of shutout ball. The Bulls were only able to muster up six hits, which resulted in zero runs on the scoreboard.

Head coach Ron Torgalski was frustrated after the game with his team's offensive performance.

"Our inexperience is really showing right now," Torgalski said. "Our guys aren't used to seeing the type of pitching Hamann displayed today. We just need to step up to the plate focused and really lock into the at-bat."

Although the Bulls continue to struggle at the plate as a team, sophomore center fielder Matt Pollock continues to swing a solid bat for Buffalo. He had four hits in the series and his dependability at the top of the lineup has been helpful for the Bulls this season. This season, Pollock is hitting .315 and leads the team with 35 runs scored; his two triples are a team best.

In game two, Toledo jumped all over Bulls senior pitcher Josh Edwards in the second inning. They roughed him up for six runs on six hits. Edwards settled down and only gave up one more run as he pitched a complete game.

The Bulls offense scored its only three runs in the fourth inning. Senior designated hitter Eric Bryce hit a two-out single to move sophomore first baseman River McWilliams to second. Then, junior outfielder Jordan Camp came through with an RBI double. With runners on second and third, freshman shortstop Michael Burke delivered a double to knock in Bryce and Camp.

In game three, the Bulls looked to put an end to their offensive struggles. They were able to come up with five runs on 12 hits, but it wasn't enough.

The Bulls were up 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh. Junior pitcher Cameron Popping ran into trouble, so freshman pitcher Cory Folk came in to relieve him. After he quickly gave up two hits, the Bulls went to junior pitcher Kevin Hughes to attempt to get out of the jam. Hughes gave up one run, and when the inning was finally over, Toledo had scored six runs.

After entering the seventh inning with the lead, the Bulls went down 9-5 and were never able to mount a comeback.

Sophomore catcher Tom Murphy had a huge day at the plate against Toledo in game three. He went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. He leads the team with a .387 batting average, 41 hits, 31 RBIs, and seven home runs. His development at the plate is another positive that Torgalski can take out of the tough start in conference play.

Torgalski knew going into the season that it would take some time for his young team to figure things out. Playing in front of a home crowd is just the thing the Bulls need to get back on the winning track, according to Torgalski.

"We just need to keep improving every day," Torgalski said. "We have been playing a lot of games on the road lately, so it will be nice to be playing on our own field Tuesday."

For full coverage of Tuesday's double header against St. Bonaventure (8-15, 2-4 Atlantic-10), check out Friday's edition of The Spectrum. The games can also be seen locally on Time Warner Cable Sports on Wednesday night at 10 p.m.




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