Softball drops doubleheader
Bulls’ bats go cold against Canisius
The Bulls lost the battle of Main Street on Wednesday, dropping each game of their doubleheader against Canisius.
Canisius (8-25) derailed Buffalo (9-26-1, 6-4-1 Mid-American Conference) from its recent success at the game. The Bulls went into the matchup winning four of their last five games, scoring at least five runs in each win. Buffalo couldn’t find the same success against the Griffs’ tandem of freshman pitchers, scoring just three runs in the afternoon.
“We didn’t execute today,” said head coach Mike Ruechel. “We didn’t understand the strike zone today. Just last week we beat the MAC pitcher of the week in two games and then we lay an egg today.”
The Bulls lost game one 2-0, and game two 8-1.
Senior pitcher Ally Power was strong on the mound at Demske Sports Complex. Power went five innings, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out four.
In the bottom of the second, the Griffs loaded the bases but Power escaped by striking out Erin Hufford.
The Bulls’ offense generated little opportunities in game one.
Buffalo loaded the bases in the top of the second inning. Junior Gabby Keller singled up the middle, senior shortstop Alissa Karjel walked and freshman catcher Hannah Bardeen singled to load the bases.
Junior right fielder Ufuoma Ogagan was up next with bases loaded. She made solid contact but couldn’t beat the throw to first and the Bulls were retired, leaving three on base.
UB didn’t get its next hit until the top of the fourth when Keller singled down the third-base line. Senior first baseman Catrell Robertson walked, putting two runners on but Bardeen grounded out to end the inning.
Buffalo went hitless the rest of the game.
“We didn’t come out and play the way we’re capable of competing,” Ruechel said. “That’s part of the game sometimes, it’s unacceptable, but it happens. That happens a little more so in the game of softball than other sports.”
Canisius scored its only two runs of the game when a diving freshman center fielder Alexis Matheney couldn’t make the catch, allowing the Griffs’ Gianna Degaltini to drive in two on a triple.
Canisius’ bats remained in control in game two, but the Bulls didn’t help themselves with their fielding and committed four errors throughout the game.
The Griffs struck first in the bottom of the first after a fielding error allowed Sue Vi to score.
Buffalo responded in the top of the second and tied the game 1-1. It was the team’s only run scored of the day.
Keller doubled, Robertson reached on an error and freshman Kassidy Aiken walked to load the bases for leadoff hitter Matheney.
Matheney singled through the right side, driving in Keller for the Bulls’ lone run.
Buffalo unraveled in the bottom of the third. Canisius scored 6 runs on six hits and one error by UB.
Senior pitcher Lace Smith lasted just 2.1 innings and allowed seven runs, three earned and six hits and struck out one. Freshman pitcher Damaris Sutherland finished out the game, allowing two hits and no earned runs across 3.2 innings.
“We just didn’t come to play our game,” Ruechel said. “If we come play our game the way we’re capable of, we have a shot of coming away with a couple of wins.”
Keller finished her afternoon 4-6 with a double and a run scored. She was the only Bull with an extra base hit and a hit in each of the games.
Keller had a little more experience against Canisius than other members of the team. Keller matched up against some of them in high school.
Buffalo will play three more games this week when they travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on the Miami RedHawks as they look to get back on track.
“I’m completely confident we will, everybody has a bad day,” Keller said. “I’d rather have a bad day now in a non-conference game, than a conference one. I have faith we’re going to get back in it.”
Nathaniel Mendelson is the senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NateMendelson