For the first time in UB's MAC era they have won a game in the opening round of the MAC tournament. A solid effort by Kevin Hughes along with some very timely hitting set the #6 seeded UB Bulls past the #3 seeded Miami and into the winners bracket of the second round.
Buffalo's win over Miami was the upset of the day until #7 Akron took down the Chips. Akron jumped out early on CMU at on point building up an 8-2 lead. Central Michigan would charge back bringing the score to 8-6 going into the 9th inning. Akron got a security run in the 9th but CMU still would not go down quietly.
The Chips loaded the bases with no outs but Akron would get the next three batters.
After a hot start to the season Akron fails to win a MAC series since their home sweep over Ohio in mid-April.One of those conference trips was to Buffalo where the Zips were swept. Two of the games were pretty lopsided while the other was a nail biter.
Akron's James Sheltrown plays the plate tight and should give UB's pitchers a challenge. He is top five in the conference in both on base percentage and the number of times he took a pitch for the team.
On the bases Devan Ahart is pretty much a carbon copy of Buffalo's Nick Sinay. Sinay has 28 steals on 31 attempts while Ahart has 26 steals on 31 attempts.
In terms of Pitching the Zips are neither remarkably good or bad. The are a slightly better team on the mound than Buffalo.
Akron's John Valek is their strongest option on the mound and the Zips did not use the sophomore hurler in their opening game.
When he faced UB back in April he held the Bulls to two runs through six innings of work. The Bulls eventually prevailed 3-2 over the Zips. On the season Valek has an ERA under three and 27 strikeouts against just 19 walks.
Buffalo will go with either Magnovey or Burke, the other two components of their "Weekend Lineup".
The Bulls will be taking on Akron today at 4:30, the winner of the game gets a day off on Friday before resuming play in the quarterfinals on Saturday, more importantly the winner will enter the quarterfinals of this tournament with no losses.