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Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Sports

SPORTS

Bills open quarterback position to public

Jack Kemp, Joe Ferguson, Jim Kelly and Drew Bledsoe – all great quarterbacks in Buffalo Bills history. You could be next. New head coach Chan Gailey announced late Tuesday afternoon that the Bills will hold open quarterback tryouts to the public over a two-week period leading up to the NFL Draft. "This is a unique opportunity to add some raw talent to our depth chart for training camp," Gailey said during a press conference at One Bills Drive. "Mr. Wilson, Buddy [Nix] and myself debated back and forth over the idea of an open tryout. But ultimately, we decided it would be in the best interest of the franchise to open our doors to some quarterbacks out there who haven't been given a shot under center in the NFL." The Bills have had a glaring hole at the quarterback position since Bledsoe left via free agency after the 2004 season. Since then, the franchise has experimented with five different signal callers: Kelly Holcomb, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm and former first round pick J.P. Losman. During that time, Buffalo has gone 32-48 and has failed to qualify for the postseason for 10-straight seasons. Last season, both Edwards and Fitzpatrick struggled to take the reins under center while Brohm fluttered in his only outing of the year. "It's no surprise that this team is in need of a franchise quarterback," said first-year general manager Buddy Nix. "A team will go as far as your quarterback takes it. Look at the greats of today's game, like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Brett Favre. What do they all have in common? Playoffs and championships. That's where we want to be." Beginning April 3 at 8 a.m., Gailey will open the field house doors to anyone interested in landing a professional football contract. The nationwide quarterback search is open to anyone ages 18-28. While no previous football experience is necessary, Gailey did admit that those without experience could struggle to adapt to an NFL tryout. This isn't the first time an NFL team has held open tryouts. First-year head coach Dick Vermeil held an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978. With the no first-round draft pick, Vermeil opted to find players who may not have been talented, but knew the meaning of work ethic and sacrifice. The Eagles were rewarded with wide receiver and special teams ace Vince Papale. The 30-year-old played two seasons with the team in which he was voted Special Teams Captain by his teammates and earned "Man of the Year" for his charitable contributions. "I've had extensive talks with Dick about this process. He's been through it before and knows how successful it can be," Gailey said. "Knowing that Dick found a leader in Vince gives me some encouragement that we can do the same. There's somebody out there for us and it's just the matter of finding him." With the NFL Draft just three weeks away, many around the league are questioning the peculiar move by Bills management to hold an open quarterback tryout. With the 9th overall pick, Buffalo is in line to potentially land former Notre Dame star Jimmy Clausen in the first round. Should Clausen be off the board, other potential prospects will be available for the taking in the second round, including Colt McCoy, Dan LeFevour and Tim Tebow. The Bills have already been linked to Clausen and Tebow as draft day approaches. Buffalo held a private workout with Clausen while Hall of Famer Jim Kelly recently treated Tebow to a steak dinner at the Buffalo Chophouse. As Kelly praised the young quarterback, he stated that an open tryout could do nothing but hurt the organization. "Tim [Tebow] is a proven leader and a natural born winner. He has everything you'd want in a franchise quarterback," Kelly told The Spectrum. "There's no reason Buffalo should pass on him. The fact that Coach Gailey has decided to hold an open tryout leads me to believe they aren't looking to add a quarterback in the draft. It's an embarrassment, if you ask me." Opening tryout days will include rigorous strength and conditioning drills. Following first cuts on day three, contenders will hit the field for a technique and mechanics test in throwing and pocket presence. The field will be narrowed down to ten finalists on day eight, who will then be required to learn a standard NFL playbook and be thrown into live 7-on-7 action in full pads with the rest of the team. By the end of week two, Buffalo's coaching staff and management will offer a two-year entry-level contract to the most impressive quarterback. "By the end of this thing, we're going to have our man," Nix said. "Whether he is a former high school star, college dropout, CFL bust or Thanksgiving Day legend, we'll be heading into the season confident in our quarterbacks." With just 400 available spots, stadium organizers recommend arriving at the field house four days prior to the tryout to ensure your opportunity. "This is an exciting time in Buffalo Bills football," Gailey said. "I feel we've made significant strides since Buddy [Nix] and I have come on board. We've addressed holes on the defensive unit and offensive line and we are confident we'll have our quarterback of the future in the coming weeks. This is going to be fun, I'll tell you that." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

The season of firsts

The men's tennis team continued its winning ways at the Miller Tennis Center, blanking St. Bonaventure for its fourth-straight victory to keep its undefeated home campaign alive. After an exhausting comeback victory against Toledo on Saturday, the Bulls (8-4, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) faced off head-to-head with the Bonnies (6-6) on Sunday afternoon. Noticing the team's fatigue from the day before, Buffalo's coaching staff stepped up to give its athletes a bit of a spark. "From having such an exciting match the day before against Toledo, there was a good chance we were going to come out flat," said head coach Lee Nickell. "It was vital to make sure that the coaching staff was loud and manufactured some energy to prevent this from happening. Luckily our guys came through and had great energy." The Bulls started off the match on the right foot and didn't look back. Buffalo took the early command by declaring the doubles points in less than an hour of play. Buffalo's first doubles duo of senior Kirill Kolomyts and junior Marcelo Mazzetto cruised to an 8-1 victory against the Bonnies' Christ Post and Diego Valdenegro. The Bulls' No. 3 doubles team of freshman Vusa Hove and junior Mitch Zenaty also picked up a victory in doubles competition over St. Bonaventure's Oscar Yanez and Luis Guevara, 8-4. Sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz and freshman George Tibil found themselves in a back-and-forth matchup against Enric Larregola and Mikhail Sudakov, but prevailed to clinch the doubles point with an 8-5 decision. Buffalo continued to overwhelm the Bonnies in singles play, winning all six matches on the afternoon Playing out of the No. 2 singles spot, Mazzetto clinched the victory for Buffalo with a 6-2, 7-6(4) victory over Larregola. Mazzetto made quick work of Larregola in the first set before Larregola came alive in the second set. Down 4-1 in the tiebreaker, Mazzetto rallied back to take six straight points to clinch the victory for Buffalo. The five other singles matches went off without a hitch for Buffalo. Competing out of the No. 5 slot, Hove blanked the Bonnies' Juan Garcia, 6-0, 6-0. Alex Kalinin retired Luis Guevara, 6-3, 6-2, while Starakiewicz needed three sets to defeat Valdenegro, 6-0,4-6, 6-1, in his first match at the No. 1 slot. Kolomyts and Tibil each won their matches in straight sets over their opponents as well. Sunday marked Buffalo's first win over St. Bonaventure since the 2006 campaign. The Bulls look to keep their undefeated home record in tact as they host defending MAC champion, Western Michigan, on Saturday at 3 p.m. "We have never beaten Western Michigan in [the] history of our program. This is obviously something we are looking forward," Nickell said. "We have them at home and [look forward] to see what's going to happen." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

NHL moving to Hamilton

Amidst the most successful season in franchise history, it was announced late Monday night that the Valley of the Sun will be without professional hockey starting in 2011. The Phoenix Coyotes (47-23-6) will be changing climates to start next season as they become the Hamilton Tigers and return to the country that calls hockey home. Before becoming the Coyotes, the team was known as the Winnipeg Jets and only moved to the Grand Canyon State because of financial difficulties. As irony would have it, a long financial struggle would send the franchise back to Canada nearly 15 years later. After declaring bankruptcy on May 5, 2009, former owner Jerry Moyes was forced to sell the team to the NHL. Several attempts by the league to sell the club to a local business owner failed before the co-CEO of Research in Motion, Jim Balsillie stepped in and was approved as the new owner of the team. Balsille will move the Tigers to Hamilton, Ontario and has an arena already in place for the team in Copps Coliseum. "The people of Hamilton deserve this," Basillie said. "We're going to bring a Stanley Cup to the Great North once more." This was Balsille's third bid to the league to purchase a franchise. His previous two attempts – Pittsburgh and Nashville – failed and hope seemed bleak for the millionaire. With the move, the Coyotes will be changing their name to the Tigers, referring to the hockey club that once called Hamilton Home from 1920 to 1925. Hockey in Phoenix has been abysmal since its inception. In 12 seasons prior to this year, the Coyotes only qualified four times for the playoffs and have never made it past the first round. Before this year, the team has gone six seasons without playoff hockey. As strange as it may sound, the team is firing on all cylinders this season which makes this move even more puzzling. Not only is the team playing well, but they are exceeding the most optimistic predictions from the pre season. Hockey icon Wayne Gretzky coached the team for four forgettable seasons and his departure prior to the season has only furthered the idea that great players don't necessarily make great coaches. The Coyotes are fourth in the Western Conference and are ranked third in the league in points. Anchored by a core group of veterans, the Coyotes have found a perfect mix of youth and wisdom to carry them this season. Starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has been brilliant between the pipes for the Coyotes and has been somewhat of a find for the team. A career back-up, Bryzgalov has found a home in Phoenix and has been mentioned as a possible Vezina Trophy candidate. "I'm excited for the move," Bryzgalov said. "We'll miss our great fans in Phoenix but we're excited to gain a new family in the Hamilton area." Like the rest of the team, however, Bryzgalov will be packing his bags next season when the Hamilton squad starts a new chapter in the long and storied history of the team. The move will change many divisions throughout the league. The Tigers will move to the Northeast Division, with the Boston Bruins leaving to move to the Atlantic Division. To make room for the Bruins, the New York Islanders will then move to the Pacific Division, because "no one really cares about the Islanders anyways," according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Fans in Buffalo are devastated by the news as a large portion of the Sabres fan base comes from Hamilton and surrounding cities. "Because of the move, I won't be surprised if we don't fill HSBC Arena up on a daily basis," said Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano. "We might have to look into relocation ourselves if the situation gets to be unbearable." Olympic hero goaltender Ryan Miller released a statement after the announcement with some shocking news. "I love Buffalo, but I do not love the situation that I am being thrown into," Miller said in the press release. "With that being said, I am demanding a trade or a release from my contract effective at the end of the season. I don't want to be thrown into a situation where my godly goaltending skills will be jeopardized." As of late, there have been several police reports that the family of general manager Darcy Regier has filed a missing person report with the Amherst Police Department. A connection to the news has not yet been made. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Will the Yankees repeat?

Although we are fighting off 40-degree weather, Spring Training has basically come and gone. Bats have been swung, pitches have been thrown, rotations have been set and injuries have been recorded. And as April 4 approaches, teams are ready to take the diamond for another 162-game season. The editors at The Spectrum have compiled a brief list of teams to watch and ones that will flop and have set in stone their predictions. Enjoy. Teams to Watch American League Texas Rangers: Coke scandals aside, the Rangers are the real deal. They missed the playoffs last year, but the Rangers have a young core of talented players and made a serious push at the end of last season. Although the AL West has been dominated by the Los Angeles Angels for the past five years, the 2010 playoff spot will be home to the Rangers. Scott Feldman is their No. 1 pitcher and went 17-8 last season. Look for him to have a breakout 20-win campaign and lead the Rangers' rotation to a trip to the postseason. He'll receive plenty of help from Rich Harden on the mound and Vladimir Guerrero in the outfield and at the plate. One word for the Rangers this season: dangerous. -Wiktor National League Philadelphia Phillies: It's the easy choice, but it's also the right one. Look for the Phillies to repeat as National League champions. Their lineup is absolutely loaded from top to bottom and they are also one of the MLB's best defensive teams. Philadelphia's three, four, and five hitters, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth, respectively, all have slugging percentages over .500 at their batting positions. Though they lost left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners, they acquired six-time All-Star Roy Halladay, who dominated as a Toronto Blue Jay last season. Their lone question mark remains Brad Lidge, who should be making his yearly decision about whether to play brilliantly or horribly any day now. Expect another deep playoff run and many more Jimmy Rollins commercials. -Hammill Teams to Flop American League Boston Red Sox: Everyone is back on the "Baastin" bandwagon after the team seemingly bolstered its rotation in the off-season by adding John Lackey of the Anaheim Angels. While pitching may win championships, you do need some semblance of a line-up to compete. Don't get me wrong here, the Red Sox could be "wicked good," but I don't feel they did enough to combat the Yankees in the division. The Boston rotation is filled with guys that are familiar with the disabled list. Josh Beckett is the key for Boston to make it back to a World Series. If he returns to the dominating force he once was, opposing batters beware. He won 17 games last year and struck out 199 batters, but got knocked around by the Angels in the first round of the playoffs. The Sox hope that by adding Lackey, who also couldn't beat the Yankees in October, the combo will be enough to take out the hated Bronx Bombers. I don't see it happening. -Parrino National League New York Mets: No hometown favoritism here: the Mets are just that bad. We all know how the last two seasons panned out, but I love bringing it up anyway. Injuries and late season collapses have plagued the squad from Queens and even a brand new multi-million dollar stadium won't help the blue and orange. Jose Reyes has already struggled with injuries this season, and although he looks like he may start the first game, it's only a matter of time until someone else goes down. Even with Carlos Beltran out, fans swear that this is their year. I can't deny that the team's offense can do damage, but that's only if they stay healthy. And as the past few seasons have shown, that's a big ‘if'. -Wiktor Predictions American League Cy Young AW: Felix Hernandez. He went 19-5 last year with a 2.49 ERA and he's only 23. This Venezuelan has dirty stuff and will make batters looks silly all season long. MP: C.C. Sabathia. He won 19 games a season ago and as he get more comfortable in the big apple I fully expect him to improve on that total. The Yankees got better in the outfield defensively and will provide a more solid backing for the pitching staff. MVP AW: Mark Teixeira. He was the heart and soul of the World Champs just a season ago and has found his home in New York. MP: A-Rod The Bronx Bomber will return to icon status this year and continue where he left off last season when his team won the World Series. His numbers will look more like they have in past MVP years and his contributions will help the Yankees win the AL East. National League Cy Young AW: Roy Halladay. He was a powerhouse on a struggling team last year, so just imagine the damage he'll do when all of his games will matter. Expect another stellar year. MP: Roy Halladay. I think this award was won the day the Phillies executed the trade to bring the best pitcher in baseball to the Phillies. He gives the club the closest thing to a guaranteed victory every five days as there is in the league. MVP AW: Ryan Howard. Coming off of a season where he hit 45 homers and drove in 141 RBIs, the lefty is looking to show the league he's as dominant as he was when he won the NL MVP in 2006. The middle of the Phillies' lineup is lethal and Howard is its driving force. MP: Albert Pujols. Look for Pujols to lead the league in home runs this season as he adds another 50 or so to his total. Albert is one of those players that can single handedly put a team on his back late in the season. World Series AW: Yankees over Cardinals in 6 games. MP: Yankees over Rockies in 7 games. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Buffalo's own basketball upset

The courts of Alumni Arena have never seen so much excitement or so much drama. Friday night, the men's and women's basketball teams came together for a friendly postseason game for charity. The men's team was playing for a cure for diabetes, while the women's team was playing for Rihanna's Battered Women and Children Fund. Both teams pulled out all the stops in an effort to earn bragging rights as the better Bulls basketball team. The men were confident that they were going to take the title, but they did not deliver as the women came out on top, 72-57. The men started out strong, taking a 6-0 lead off of back-to-back 3-pointers by senior guard John Boyer and senior forward Calvin Betts. A three-pointer by junior forward Jessica Fortman and a two-point jumper by sophomore guard Brittany Hedderson put the women right back in it with 16:41 left in the first half. Freshman guard Chrissy Cooper earned a chance to take the lead after Victor E. Bull, the referee for the night, called a foul on senior guard Sean Smiley. Cooper sank both foul shots to give the women a 7-6 advantage with 16:01 remaining. Senior guard Rodney Pierce attempted to regain the lead by driving in for a lay-up, but junior forward Kourtney Brown stripped him of the ball, much to the dismay of Pierce and everyone on the sidelines. "I couldn't believe it when she stripped me, but then again a lot of the things that happened in tonight's game surprised me," Pierce said. "The guys couldn't stop talking about that play at the end of the night. It's something that I won't live down anytime soon." The efforts of Brown, Hedderson, and Fortman allowed the women to dominate for the next five minutes. Freshman guard Abby Dowd knocked down a 3-pointer to cap off a 17-3 run. This gave the women a 13-point lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the opening half. Senior forward Max Boudreau began a 10-2 run for the men, scoring their next six points. Pierce and sophomore forward Mitchell Watt each contributed a bucket as well to bring the score to 26-19 with 4:55 to go. This was the closest the men would come for the rest of the game. The women continued to build on their lead, showing greater speed and agility than the men with every passing minute. They ended the first half ahead, 38-27. The men decided to approach the second half with fresh perspectives by putting some of their younger players in. The women mirrored this strategy and outdid the men, going with an all-freshman lineup. It paid off for the women as they continued to steamroll the men. Freshman forward Nytor Longar led in the annihilation. Longar blew past sophomore guard Dave Barnett and proceeded to drive hard to the basket for a slam dunk. The senior men looked on in awe, not knowing what to do next. "We've come back in some pretty tough situations before," Smiley said. "Things just didn't go in our favor. We came in thinking that we could easily beat the girls … I guess we just underestimated them." It didn't get better for the men from there as the women went on a 20-8 run over the next 10 minutes. With the score at 58-35 and 6:37 on the clock, the women enjoyed their largest lead of the game and were able to relax a little while the men tried to dig themselves out of a very deep rut. "We knew that we pretty much had the game in the bag at that point," Hedderson said. "So we just tried to keep doing what were doing and have fun." Though the men were able to score more in the second half, they could not get over the hump. Brown and Hedderson tied as the leading scorers for the women with 23 points apiece. Betts led the way for the men with 17 points, followed by Pierce and Boudreau with 15 and 12 points, respectively. The two teams plan on making this an annual event to benefit charities of their choice. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bulls reach new heights at Raleigh Relays

Momentum seemed to spread to everyone on both track and field teams this weekend, and record-breaking performances were the result. Both the men's and women's track and field teams had impressive showings at the Raleigh Relays, a two-day event at North Carolina State's Paul Derr Track. The teams won a total of five events, breaking five school records in the process. The men's relay team broke two of those records. The sprint medley relay team of seniors Ezekiel Porter and Brian Smith, along with sophomore Isaiah Mask and junior Shaun Brummert, ran its way to a record-breaking time of 3:26.57 and a third-place finish. The team's time broke the mark set at last year's Raleigh Relays. Porter and Smith joined seniors Dan Schichtel and Dan Harris in the 4x200-meter relay and produced a record-setting time of 1:25.51. The time earned them a fifth-place finish in the event. Other successful finishes came in the 5000-meters, as junior Jacob Hagen came in second-place with a time of 15:11.30, and in the 400-meter hurdles with freshman Will Cole placing fifth in 52.62. Sophomore Casey Garbaty also broke a school record as he won the javelin throw. His heave of 224-6 (68.43m) was not only 10 feet better than the second-place throw, but crushed his mark from last season of 209-9 (63.93m). Men's head coach Perry Jenkins spoke about Garbaty's performance after the match. "Casey [Garbaty] was definitely a key performer this weekend," Jenkins said. "He is now number two in the east and number four in the country in the javelin throw." The rest of the men's throwers were impressive as well. Sophomore Rob Golabek earned third-place in the shot put with a toss of 56-11.50 (17.36m). Fellow seniors Jake Madonia and Alex Stamatakis also finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Junior Matt Gac finished fifth in both the discus (165-2, 50.35m) and the hammer throw (196-5, 59.87m). Gobalek placed in the hammer throw as well, finishing ninth with a throw of 183-1, 55.81m. Jenkins was very pleased with his team's performance over the weekend. "It was a great trip down there and we competed very well," Jenkins said. "We broke five school records and are showing improvement in almost every event." The women's team was very successful as well, winning three individual events and a relay race at the meet. Sophomore Becky O'Brien won in discus with a throw of 166-3 (50.67m). The throw also broke Sarah Vance's 2007 record by more than five feet. Freshman Erin Miller finished in seventh with a personal best throw of 142-0 (43.28m). O'Brien was also part of an impressive showing in the women's shot put, which included three spots of the top 10. O'Brien finished second with a personal-best throw of 51-1.75 (15.59m). Sophomore Kristy Woods came in third at 50-0.75 (15.26m), and Miller finished ninth with a throw of 43-1.75 (13.15m). Woods also earned a sixth-place finish in the women's hammer throw at 175-10 (53.59m). The women's team was just as successful on the track. Sophomores Jackie Burns and Ellen Muster earned the top two spots in the second section of the women's 1,500-meters. Burns won the race with a time of 4:39.98, and Muster came in second in 4:41.61. Freshman Katie Sanders rounded out the top 10 with a time of 4:46.26. Buffalo also won the sprint medley relay with a time of 3:59.96. Burns ran the anchor leg and was joined by freshman Jamiee McClary, sophomore Natalie Fildes and senior Allison Grimes. McClary continued her successful weekend, breaking the women's record in the 200-meters. Her time of 24.18, which broke a 10-year-old record set by Janelle Callender, earned her a seventh-place finish. Jenkins is very excited for the next match at the Florida Relays. "I think we are going to compete very well down south," Jenkins said. "We're going to need to continue to train hard and make sure to get our throws to qualify in the warmer weather. Our goal is to make the top 48 teams in each event to get into the NCAA." The Bulls will head to Gainesville, Fla. for the Florida Relays, which are set to start at noon on Friday. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Perfect home

The Miller Tennis Center has been a tough place for opponents to play this season and the men's tennis team was hoping to continue that trend as it kicked off conference play over the weekend. Trying to defend a perfect home record so far this year, the Bulls (7-4, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) hooked up with conference foe Toledo (8-11, 0-1 MAC) on Saturday. Buffalo used the home-court advantage to rally and pull off a 4-3 comeback win over the Rockets. Needing to capture victories in two of the final three matches to win the match, the Bulls depended on their fourth and sixth slot players to edge the Rockets. Sophomore Alex Kalinin fell into a deep hole early, dropping the first set of his match against Toledo's Gursher Harika, 6-2. All hope seemed lost as Kalinin trailed 2-0 early in the second set, but the sophomore came to life and rallied to win the next six games, taking the second set, 6-2, to tie the match at one set apiece. Kalinin's surge continued in the next set as he gained an early advantage en route to a 6-2, third set victory to notch a point for the Bulls. "Alex Kalinin really battled out there," head coach Lee Nickell said. The pressure then shifted to freshman George Tibel, who needed to win if the Bulls were to beat Toledo. Tibil dropped the first set, 4-6, to Rockets sophomore Leo Sarria. The freshman then cruised in the second set, winning 6-2. In the third and final set, Tibil fell behind a break at 4-2. The Bulls' hopes of preserving their perfect home record looked slim. But Tibil was able to break Sarria, and in the process took a 5-4 lead. Both players held serve to force the tiebreaker and Tibil defeated Sarria, 7-4, to claim a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory. "It was a great win for George Tibel after being down a break in the third set," Nickell said. The Rockets jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after winning two-out-of-three doubles matches. In the first singles match, the Bulls captured a win when sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz came back from being down a break in the second set to defeat the Rockets' Sven Burus 6-1, 6-4. Toledo then broke the tie score in the second singles match. Junior Aleksandar Elezovic handled Bulls junior Marcelo Mazzetto 6-3, 6-2. In third singles, Rockets junior Nutthavit Likitkumchom needed three sets to defeat senior Kirill Kolomyts, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Freshmen Vusa Hove won in straight sets in the fifth slot match. Hove defeated Toledo freshman Bryant Dudzik, 6-2, 6-3. The Bulls needed strong performances from many of their players to beat Toledo, and Nickell was pleased with the team's overall effort in the win. "It was a very strong fighting performance for our guys," Nickell said. "We showed great resiliency to come back. Our energy seemed to rise as the game went on and that's what put us over a good Toledo team." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Buffalo's home-opener not so homey

The baseball team played its first Mid-American Conference game of the season in less than favorable conditions. The team aimed to get out of the box quickly against a conference foe in hopes of sending a message to the rest of the MAC. Buffalo (10-10, 1-2 MAC) found some success but fell short in the end against Eastern Michigan (10-14, 2-1 MAC), dropping two out of three games over the weekend. Due to unfavorable conditions at the Bulls' home field, all of the games took place in St. Bonaventure's Fred Handler Park. The Bulls won the first game, 5-2, while the Eagles took the last two games in convincing fashion. EMU took the second part of the Saturday doubleheader, 7-2, and beat Buffalo 4-1 on Sunday. "Offensively we didn't produce," said manager Ron Torgalski. "Eight runs in three games... is not going to cut it." Buffalo was the first team on the scoreboard in Saturday's first game. In the bottom of the second inning, senior center fielder Adam Skonieczki hit a single towards left field to give the Bulls something to work with. Senior designated hitter Charlie Karstedt converted on the opportunity with an RBI double that sent his teammate home. A stolen base and an RBI single by Eastern Michigan's Ken Battiston tied the game at one run apiece in the following inning. The Bulls put the game out of reach, however, on an RBI double by senior first baseman Rob Lawler. Senior Chaz Mye toed the rubber for the Bulls in the win and was sharp for eight-and-a-third innings. Mye surrendered only five hits in the game and struck out 10 Eagles in the win. The Bulls kept the lead thanks to senior shortstop Brad Agustin's run and Lawler's RBI double. The win marked the Bulls' first victory in a conference home opener since 2002. Senior pitcher Pierre Miville-Deschenes took the mound for the Bulls in game two and pitched well for the first four innings, until everything came undone. Miville-Deschenes hit a batter and threw two wild pitches. The Eagles capitalized on the errors, scoring six runs to all but bury the Bulls in the contest. Buffalo added two runs in the last inning on a double by senior left fielder Bobby Pizzuto, but it was too little, too late as the Eagles walked away with the second game of the doubleheader. Miville-Deschenes recorded seven strikeouts in his four-and-a-third innings of work. "We had had a couple of opportunities with guys on base [and] we didn't take advantage of them," Torgalski said. "We needed somebody to step up and come up with a big hit in certain times and it didn't happen. In the final game of the series, the Bulls just couldn't figure out Eastern Michigan's lefty Collin Taylor. Buffalo scored only one run in the game off of a steal by Skonieczki. Taylor struck out five Bulls and gave up five hits in the Eagles' win. Buffalo junior pitcher Josh Edwards allowed six hits and struck out four Eagles in six-and-a-third innings of work. "Edwards went into the seventh inning with a two hitter," Torgalski said. "He just kind of ran out of gas. He gave us an opportunity and we just didn't score runs for him." Buffalo will head back to Fred Handler Park Tuesday to take on St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

California love

Many students at UB would love to be living in California, but for one freshman, moving from the Golden State to the Queen City was a welcoming change. Softball first baseman Jessica Griffin is a long way from home. But for Griffin, making the trek across the country to join the Bulls was the right choice. Born and raised in Placentia, Calif., Griffin grew up under the rays of the sun with her feet in the sand for much of her life. Making the transition from fun in the sun to sleet, snow and cold is usually tough for most people. But for Griffin, the weather was overshadowed by more important factors when she decided to come to Buffalo. "When I came on my visit here I really liked the environment. I felt like I was on a college campus [and] everyone was really dedicated to making sure that athletes had the academic focus that we needed," Griffin said. "[They had a] really strong work ethic and I liked the diversity of the school." As an international studies major, diversity played a large role in Griffin's decision to attend Buffalo. She felt that understanding where people came from was very important. Griffin has started every game for the Bulls at first base this season and has made her presence in the line up felt by opponents. Just ask Louisiana Tech. In the third game of a triple-header, Griffin went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and blasted her first career home run in a 10-7 victory over the Lady Techsters. "It was very exciting to get those first few hits out of the way, [and getting my] first home run out of the way felt great," Griffin said. Difference making performances from Griffin will be a common sight in the near future as she progresses and learns the ways of playing Division I softball. Griffin feels that her best attributes were on display during the Tech game. "I like to feel like I bring power to the team. I really want to bring clutch timing and a presence," Griffin said. But Griffin has a bigger goal that she would like to accomplish: bringing home a Mid-American Conference Championship is something she feels the team can accomplish this season. "I really want to win [the] MAC," Griffin said. "Definitely the goal is to get to the MAC tournament and be champions there and [then] go to regionals and so forth." During spring break, the softball team traveled to California to play games in San Diego and Long Beach, a homecoming of sorts for Griffin. San Diego is roughly two hours from her hometown and Long Beach was a short drive of 20 minutes. Griffin was excited for the opportunity to play close to home as her family and friends attended the games. She looked forward to catching some of her high school team's games while she was back on the west coast as well. Although she is enjoying Buffalo, Griffin did admit it would be nice to get back to the more desirable weather of southern California. "Weather [in California] was great," Griffin said. "[A] tiny difference from here." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Four Bulls battle at NCAAs

Although the results weren't ideal, four young wrestlers gained valuable experience at the NCAA Championships. Sophomores Desi Green, Kevin Smith and John-Martin Cannon, as well as junior Jimmy Hamel, all competed at the NCAA Wrestling Championships over the weekend in Omaha, Neb. After battling through injuries throughout the first day, Cannon and Hamel were eliminated, while Green and Smith each advanced in consolation rounds before being defeated. "It's just the nature of the NCAA championships," said Bulls' head coach Jim Beichner. "One guy leaves happy and one guy doesn't." Competing in the 149-pound weight class, No 18. nationally ranked Green defeated Virginia's Shawn Harris in a 9-8 decision in his first bout. In the following match, No. 6 ranked wrestler, Matt Kyler of Army, shut out Green, 9-0. On the second day of action, Green met Mid-American Conference rival and No. 19 ranked Seth Morton of Ohio University. At the MAC Championships earlier in the month, Green defeated Morton to win the individual crown. The results weren't any different this time around as Green won the match 5-4 to advance to the fourth consolation round. Green's NCAA trip came to an end against No. 16 Andrew Nadhir of Northwestern. Down 6-3, Green battled his way back into the match to even the score at six, but Nadhir regained control of the match to edge out Green in a 9-6 decision. Making his first appearance at an NCAA Championship, 17th ranked Smith wrestled in the 133-pound weight class. Smith's tournament began with his toughest opponent of the season in a bout with No. 3 Daniel Dennis of Iowa. After a close first period in which Smith trailed 2-1, Dennis pulled away for a 6-2 victory. Dennis eventually won championship in the weight class. Later in the day, Smith notched his first victory by defeating Jimmy Kirchner of Rider, 11-5, to advance to the third consolation round. Smith was set for a rematch with 14th ranked Steve Mytych of Drexel, who defeated Smith 6-4 at the East Stroudsburg Duals earlier in the year. After a closely contested first period, Mytych held a 3-2 lead over Smith and held on to win the match, 5-2. Also making his first appearance in the Championships, Cannon competed at the 165-pound weight class. Struggling with an injury against No. 5 ranked Colt Sponsellor of Ohio State, Cannon was defeated by pin fall at 6:22. Cannon was also defeated by 10th ranked Paul Young of Indiana. Cannon kept the match close through the first period but trailed by a slim margin of 2-1. Cannon decided to keep wrestling despite taking an injury timeout in the second period, but eventually by a 10-2 decision. Making his second-straight NCAA appearance, Hamel wrestled in the 197 pound weight class and met 20th ranked Micah Burak of Penn in the first round. After an exciting extra overtime match, Hamel was defeated by a score of 6-5. In his next match, Hamel held an early 3-0 advantage over Tyler Sorenson of South Dakota State. Sorenson came back to win the match 5-3 to eliminate Hamel. The Bulls only lose three seniors and should be able to utilize the experience gained this year to compete in the MAC and national championships next season. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bulls fall to Bears in outdoor matchup

Warm weather in Providence allowed the women's tennis team to play outdoors, but despite the sun shining, the Bulls looked cold on Sunday. Buffalo (4-4) fell to nationally ranked Brown (11-3) by a score of 5-2 to finish non-conference play. Despite a victory in the first match by senior Denise Harijanto and junior Aleksandra Petrova, Brown claimed the doubles point. Harijanto and Petrova, who are ranked 10th in the Northeast Region, defeated the Bear's team of junior Bianca Aboubakare and sophomore Cassandra Herzberg, ranked third in the region and 71st in the nation, by a score of 8-5. Buffalo failed to win either of the other doubles matches as the freshmen pair of Tamara Markovic and Kira Golenko fell to Brown's team of freshmen Misia Krasowski and sophomore Julie Flanzer, 8-4. The Bears' No. 3 team of senior Emily Ellis and junior Marisa Schonfeld clinched the point with an 8-5 victory over junior Diana Popescu and senior Diana Toia. Buffalo picked up a pair of singles victories as Harijanto and Petrova continued their great play. Harijanto, the No. 1 starter for Buffalo, defeated Herzberg in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Herzberg was ranked seventh in the region in singles prior to the match. Petrova followed suit in the third singles, defeating Krasowski 7-6 (2), 6-3, earning the Bulls' second point of the day. Head coach Kathy Twist was delighted by the performances of Harijanto and Petrova. "The highlights of the match were definitely Denise [Harijanto] and Alex [Petrova]," Twist said. "They showed great poise and each beat opponents that were ranked higher than them in the Northeast." Unfortunately, Harijanto's and Petrova's play did not carry over to the rest of the team, as Buffalo dropped each of the other four singles matches in straight sets. Popescu dropped a heart-breaking first set to Aboubakare in a tiebreak, 7-6 (9), before losing the second set 6-1. Markovic also played valiantly in the No. 6 match, but couldn't force a third set, falling by a score of 6-2, 7-5. Buffalo ended non-conference play with a 4-4 record, but will use its experience to prep them for Mid-American Conference play. Due to a tough non-conference schedule, Twist feels confident that the Bulls will be ready to begin conference play this week. "We have gotten a lot of good competition," Twist said. "We're going to go back and work harder. We are always stronger at the end of the season because our schedule is structured around the conference tournament. We know our game against Akron will be a battle, but we now have experience playing against great teams." The Bulls will travel to Akron (11-0) on Saturday for a 1 p.m. matchup on Saturday. The Zips had their first winning season since 1996 last year and were ranked No. 1 in the MAC in the preseason polls E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Possible MAC expansion

Only one Mid-American Conference men's basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament this season. Recently, however, there have been rumors that the conference is looking to spice things up, hoping to have two teams get bids in the future. Andy Katz of ESPN reported that Temple University and Western Kentucky may become the 13th and 14th teams of the MAC. Temple is currently in the Atlantic 10 Conference and Western Kentucky competes in the Sun Belt Conference. Both teams are historically successful basketball programs. Still, the addition of these teams remains hearsay at this point. "The topic of expansion is one that the conference and its member institutions and affiliate members will continue to discuss internally," said Ken Mather, assistant commissioner of media and public relations for the MAC. "Any other comment on expansion, number of sports, divisional alignment, etc. would be pure speculation at this point." According to Mather, there are signs that the two teams are interested in the conference, which has 12 members for all sports. Temple is currently an affiliate member for football only. Temple joined the MAC in 2007. Since then, the Owls have brought excitement to the conference: the team tied for first place in the MAC East in '09, and many remember the Bulls' last-second Hail Mary that won Buffalo the game on Sept. 13, 2008 against Temple. The addition of these two teams would create the largest conference in college football and could also help resolve some scheduling conflicts. Currently, the MAC has an uneven amount of teams (13), making scheduling difficult and team distribution between the two divisions uneven. Aside from making the football conference larger, the addition would add depth and skill to the basketball league, too. WKU has been to two of the last three NCAA Tournaments, and Temple is coming off its third-straight Atlantic 10 Tournament championship. The Owls won 29 games this season and were rewarded with a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If Temple and WKU joined the MAC, this would make the MAC men's basketball regular season more competitive and would also open the doors for Buffalo to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Officals from Temple and WKU did not return phone calls to The Spectrum. Stay with The Spectrum for updates on the possible expansion of the MAC. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Luck of the Irish

On the heels of St. Patrick's Day, the softball team needed to borrow some luck from the Irish to capture a win down in Myrtle Beach, S.C. at the Coastal Carolina Classic. In the first of five games at the Classic, the Bulls (8-16) needed a little help from their opponent to squeak past Oakland (8-18), 6-5, in extra innings. Buffalo's luck ran out in the next game as the Bulls fell behind early to Coastal Carolina (12-13) and dropped the contest 9-1. Buffalo and Oakland battled back and forth for six innings until Oakland put together a rally in the top of the sixth inning. Two Golden Grizzlies reached base and both advanced on a fielder's choice. Junior outfielder Alyssa Deacon stepped up and knocked an RBI double to left centerfield to break the tie and put Oakland ahead 5-4 with just two innings to play. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Bulls comeback began as freshman outfielder Taylor Franich turned on the jets to get Buffalo over the hump. Franich didn't let a strikeout lower her awareness; she noticed a passed ball and took first base. While on first, the freshman utilized her speed, stealing second and then taking third base on a wild pitch. A few pitches later, with two outs on the board, Franich scurried home on a passed ball to tie the game at five runs apiece. In the first extra frame, the Bulls capitalized on sloppy pitching by Oakland to secure their eighth win of the season. Senior Jaime Sheffler led off the inning with a single and advanced to second base on a throwing error. Sheffler made her way home after pitches hit a series of Buffalo batters, ultimately giving Buffalo the 6-5 win. Senior Sharon Barr threw a complete game in the win, striking out six while only giving up four earned runs. It wasn't Barr's best outing this season, but her eight strong innings got the job done for the Bulls. The Classic continued, but game two ended without another Bulls victory. Buffalo sent junior pitcher Kate Kraus to the mound in game two against host school Coastal Carolina to make the first Division 1-A start of her career. Kraus struggled in the debut outing and yielded six earned runs in just four innings of work. The Chanticleers feasted off Buffalo pitching, accumulating 13 hits on their way to the 9-1 win. Coastal Carolina exemplified a balanced effort as each Chanticleer in the starting lineup accumulated at least one hit. Franich went 1-for-3 in the game and recorded the Bulls' lone RBI. The rest of the Buffalo offense was stagnant all game, collecting only five hits in the loss. Buffalo continued play at the Classic against Sacred Heart (8-8) and Houston Baptist (7-14). For coverage of these games, check Wednesday's edition of The Spectrum. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

A golden interview

At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Buffalo's very own Steve Mesler made Western New York and the United States of America proud when he won a gold medal in the four-man bobsled. A City Honors School graduate and former decathlete at the University of Florida, Mesler pursued a bobsledding career after college and didn't look back until he was on top of the podium. His team beat out Germany's silver medalists by just 0.39 seconds to bring home the USA's first gold medal in the event since 1948. Mesler arrived home in true Buffalo fashion, throwing a party that was open to the public at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. During the party, Assistant Sports Editor Luke Hammill got the opportunity to take Mesler away from the crowd for a few minutes and sit down for an interview. The Spectrum: What made you decide to leave the warm weather as a track and field athlete at the University of Florida and come back to the cold climate to compete as a bobsledder? Steve Mesler: That's a good question. I wasn't ready to be done yet. My track career hadn't gone where I wanted it to go — I had injury after injury after injury. I finished up with Tommy John surgery as a senior [in college], and I wasn't ready to accept that I had peaked when I was 17 years old at high school nationals, so I was just looking for something else. S: Your bobsled team went into Vancouver as the defending world champions from the 2009 competitions. Would anything less than a gold medal have been a disappointment? SM: I would have liked to have said "no," that simply medaling would have been fine, but the only 100 percent satisfaction would have been what's sitting right here [points to his Olympic gold medal]. S: You competed at one of the last events in the Olympics. Did that leave you with any time to absorb the entire Olympic experience? SM: No, you absorb it a little bit at the beginning, but then for the rest of the time you just go back to work. If you're sitting there and absorbing it, then you're thinking about it all the time and you're feeling too much, so you go to work. You absorb things when you can, but it's two weeks of work for us. S: Was the training from your track and field career similar to your training now as a bobsledder, or is it totally different? SM: It was very similar. It crossed over really easily for me. It's a lot of sprinting — all short sprinting, under 90 meters (30, 60, 90 meters). It's a lot of lifting, a lot of [plyometrics], a lot of bounding, hurdle hops, cleans, RDLs [Romanian dead lifts], stuff like that. S: After the initial push and hop into the sled, what was your job while the driver guided the speeding bobsled down the track? SM: Our job in the sled is: we have different aerodynamic positions that we put ourselves in on the way down. You have to flow with the sled as you go around turns — the best analogy is being in a car and you're in the passenger seat. If someone takes a hard left-hand turn, you get pushed into the right side door. Well, if that happens in a sled and the driver takes a left-hand turn and you all crash into the right side of the sled, you're going to skid because you're on the ice and lose time from the skidding. So we actually have to flow with the sled as it goes around the turns. S: Were you worried at all after seeing the unfortunate death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a crash? SM: No, it was just sad to see. We weren't worried about that. From our standpoint, you can't think about it. You mourn it for a day and then you have to put it out of your head. S: Now that you're back, what's it been like? You dropped the puck at the Sabres game on March 10. SM: It has been fun. The Sabres game thing is something I've always wanted to do since I was a kid, so it was very cool. Hopefully I got some good pictures. We went down in the locker room afterward and met the players — they had a day off the next day … it was a good time. S: I'll get you out of here with this question: What's next? Thinking about a repeat in 2014? SM: For the first time in my life, I actually don't have to look four years down the road. I don't have to look ahead; I can just enjoy what I've done and not really worry about down the road yet. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bulls regain confidence in the North

Though the Florida weather was a nice change of pace for the men's tennis team, the stiff competition served as a wakeup call for the Bulls. Buffalo (6-4) went 1-2 in three matches in Boca Raton, FL, falling to Florida Atlantic, beating Southern Illinois and losing to Troy. It returned to the North with two matches left before heading into Mid-American Conference play. The Bulls knew this would be their last chance to get in-game practice before facing their MAC foes and took advantage of the opportunity as they defeated both Robert Morris and Duquesne. "As conference play approaches, our main goal is to make the doubles play more solid[ly]," said head coach Lee Nickell. "The spring break trip was meant for us to play against really good competition outdoors. Now, it is on us to prove ourselves." Robert Morris The men's tennis team had to rebound quickly on Thursday when it returned from a three-day event in Florida to take on Robert Morris at home. The Bulls showed no signs of fatigue in their fourth match in five days when they beat the Colonials, 7-0, at the Miller Tennis Center. Wasting no time, Buffalo stormed out in the match when the No. 1 doubles pairing of sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz and senior Kirill Kolomyts shut down their competition. The duo is ranked 10th in the Northeast Region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and they showed why against Robert Morris team David Pinto and Igor Neves. The Bulls won the doubles point 8-0 to give the team a confidence boost early in the match. In their first pairing of the spring, junior Mitch Zenaty and senior Eric Rothstein clinched a point by defeating the Colonial pair of Grigory Sovko and Andre Coiro, 8-1. Once Buffalo clinched the doubles point in the No. 3 doubles spot, the No. 2 match was stopped as the Bulls led 5-3. Starakiewicz continued to impress when he took the court for his singles match as the sophomore downed Sovko in just over a half hour. "[Starakiewicz] stepped up after the road trip and said, ‘I want to play,'" Nickell said in a press release. "The rest of the team followed his lead." The Bulls sent out junior Marcelo Mazzetto and Kolomyts in singles action to secure the victory for Buffalo as both men notched 6-0 wins to clinch the match. The Bulls mixed up the bottom half of their lineup to give others a chance to compete at a higher seed. Nickell moved freshman Vusa Hove to the No. 4 singles spot and sophomore Kristof Custers was placed in the No. 6 spot. Sophomore Alex Kalinin stayed at his original place in the No. 5 position. Even with the changes by Nickell, all three men won in straight sets. Starakiewicz, Mazzetto and Kalinin are all tied with 11 singles wins, which are tops on the team this season. "I didn't do us any favors by scheduling this match," Nickell said. " Our team stepped up big after just having a match in Florida in the last 24 hours. I was very pleased." Duquesne Two days off served the men's tennis team well, as they were able to take fresh legs into their Saturday contest in Monroeville, Pa. The Bulls won their second straight match, 6-1, over Duquesne (7-7) in their last match before the start of Mid-American Conference play. Starakiewicz and Kolomyts shone once again when they disposed of Duquesne's duo of Steve Herchko and Mark Maciuch, 8-3. The Bulls, however, would lose their other two doubles matches to give the opening point to Duquesne. After losing the point in doubles competition, it appeared as though the Bulls were headed for a disappointing end to their spring break. Buffalo responded, however, winning all six singles matches on the day. The play of Starakiewicz and Kolomyts continued to carry the Bulls after the two picked up victories in their singles matches in straight sets. Starakiewicz, the No. 3 ranked singles player in the Northeast, defeated Duquesne senior Jeremy McClelland 6-3, 6-4, in the No. 1 position. Kolomyts defeated sophomore Aram Abgaryan 6-4, 7-5 after an intense second set. Freshman George Tibil and Kalinin each won in straight sets as well. Mazzetto defeated Duquesne's senior Gustavo Villares 6-2, 2-6, 6-2. Freshman Vusa Hove also defeated Maciuch 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in his first start in the No. 5 spot all season. With the victory, Buffalo snapped Duquesne's four-game winning streak and ended its travel-heavy spring break with a 3-2 record. The Bulls went 1-2 in Florida, before gaining victories against Robert Morris in Buffalo and in Saturday's match in Western Pennsylvania. Nickell acknowledged the importance of this spring break campaign for Buffalo. "This has been a good spring break for us," Nickell said. "We learned a lot and fought through adversity today against a good Duquesne team. We came out flat in doubles, but came together in singles to give a complete team effort. We are very excited to start conference match play in two weeks." Buffalo will rest up before starting conference play on Saturday, March 27 against Toledo (7-9). E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

26-run outburst highlights road trip

Still shaking off the rust from a long winter, the baseball team was busy over spring break as the team grinded through a ten-game road trip. While the Bulls (6-7) won six of 10 games, head coach Ron Torgalski is looking for steadier play from his team. "We just haven't been consistent yet," Torgalski said. "I have seen improvement. The pitching has improved and we're the type of team that will only be successful if we throw strikes and make plays. We're not going to strike guys out [consistently]." In a four-game series against Morehead State (8-10), the Bulls won three out of four games, including a 26-run explosion on 23 hits in game two for a 26-17 victory. Senior second baseman Brad Agustin spearheaded the Bulls attack. He went 4-for-7 from the plate and scored five runs. Trailing 11-2 through three innings, the Bulls started their comeback effort in the top of the fourth as they chipped away at the Eagles' advantage. Senior catcher Brad Cochrane blasted one of his two doubles on the day to lead off the inning for the Bulls. The rest of the team put together five hits in the inning and scored five runs to close the gap to 11-7 going into the bottom of the inning. The two teams continued to trade runs but Buffalo took a 16-12 lead after an explosive seven-run eighth inning. The Bulls weren't complacent with a four-run lead and rattled off 10 runs in the top of the ninth inning to seal the win. Seniors Jacob Rosenbeck and Rob Lawler, as well as freshman Tom Murphy, went yard in the commanding victory. In the only Bulls loss against the Eagles, senior ace Pierre Miville-Deschenes struggled in his second outing of the season and lasted only three innings. Miville-Deschenes allowed 13 runs – eight earned – on eight hits while walking eight batters and striking out four in a 17-3 defeat. The Bulls had a quick turnaround and played a mid-week two-game set against Georgetown College (4-12). Buffalo continued to play great baseball, winning the first game, 14-4, and taking the second, 8-6, against the Tigers. Cochrane continued his strong play at the plate for the Bulls as he totaled four hits in the two-game set. He recorded two RBIs, and his six doubles on the year leads the Bulls. Freshman second baseman Alex Baldock blasted his first-career home run in the opening game against the Tigers. The freshman is tied with Augustin for the team lead in batting average (.340). The bats have been hot and cold this season, but it's expected as the Bulls continue to see different pitchers and get more comfortable behind the plate. "At times we've swung the bats ok but we have a few guys in the lineup that have been struggling," Torgalski said. "I'm waiting for a few seniors to break out and start producing for us and I know they will so I'm not worried about it." Everything wasn't perfect for the Bulls over the break as they ran into some trouble against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (8-8), dropping 3-of-4 games. The lone victory came in the second game of a double header on Saturday when Miville-Deschenes turned in his best performance of the season in a 9-3 Bulls win. Miville-Deschenes pitched a complete game for the Bulls and allowed only three runs on five hits and struck out seven Golden Eagles. Miville-Deschenes earned MAC East Player of the Week honors as the most outstanding pitcher for his performance against the Georgetown College. Torgalski still hopes to see improvement from his number one starter going forward. "He was MAC [East] Player of the Week but he went out in the first inning and walked the bases loaded," Torgalski said. "He was able to get out of the jam and settled in after that but he wasn't sharp early. That has been a problem [in] his last couple of starts." Cochrane was a one-man force in the game for the Bulls, driving in six runs on two hits. One of his shots was a grand slam home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. He provides an excellent third power hitter in the middle of the Bulls' lineup. "Brad [Cochrane] put up pretty good numbers last year," Torgalski said. "He's a little guy but surprises people with the power. He has good bat speed, he's a strong kid and it's nice to have another guy in the middle of the lineup that can drive runs in." In the first game of the series, Tennessee Tech blanked the Bulls, 9-0. Despite its patience at the plate – drawing six walks – the offense couldn't get it going. Senior lefty Chaz Mye struggled in the game, allowing seven of the nine runs on 12 hits. Mye dropped to 1-2 on the season but leads the team in innings pitched with 17 and a third. Agustin struggled at the plate for the Bulls in the series, striking out six times and earning only one walk and four hits in the leadoff spot. But Agustin has been a monster behind the plate so far this year, leading the team in home runs, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and batting average. His play and leadership is an important ingredient to the Bulls' success. The Bulls will once again hit the road this week for a three-game series with the Butler Bulldogs (4-6). First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday at Bulldog Park in Indianapolis, Ind. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bishop's battle ahead

Senior wrestler Dan Bishop went to the Mid-American Conference Championships looking to win a MAC title to close out his four-year career as a Bull.


SPORTS

Comeback falls short to end Buffalo's season

On a Thursday filled with outstanding individual performances in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament, the men's basketball team needed a special performance from any individual to top Miami (Ohio) if it hoped to advance.No such performance was found.Despite overcoming an 18-point first half deficit, the Bulls (18-12, 9-7 MAC) ran out of gas down the stretch and fell to the RedHawks (14-17, 9-7 MAC), 73-59, ending their season well short of a MAC Championship appearance.Miami (Ohio) torched the Bulls from the field connecting on 22-of-38 shot attempts and also went 22-of-30 from the free-throw line.





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