First congratulations to the UB baseball team for reaching the MAC tournament for the third straight year. It was not too long ago that yours truly thought that baseball, as a placeholder, was only a necessary evil for MAC Membership. The team seemed destined to always be doormats.
But this is now the third straight season where the Bulls are in the championship tournament and UB Athletic Director Danny white has a new stadium for the team up on his drawing board. They even have a couple of recent alumni working their way through the MLB farm system.
This is a program which still has a lot of growing to do but they have proven to the naysayers that Base-Bull can be a valuable part of the student athlete and student fan experience.
Now onto the game:
In terms of this seasons performances you could not have picked a worse pairing for Buffalo than the RedHawks. Miami of Ohio was the only team this season to sweep the Bulls during conference play and they did it with three heartbreaking games, two of which saw UB rally's come up just short and one of those games went into extra innings.
Either Buffalo is cursed against Miami this season or the Bulls are well overdue for a win against the Redhawks. Let's hope it's the later.
Outside of Ball State Miami is just about the best power hitting team in the conference. They lead everyone else but most of that is behind Gary Russo. His 10 Home runs lead the conference and figures huge in the RedHawks 26 home runs. Russo is also fourth in the conference when it comes to hitting doubles.
Miami also has a great one two punch on the mound. Junior Ryan Powers is 8-3 in 15 appearences and Senior Seth Varner is 7-2. Varner is throwing an overpowering 10.26 strikeouts per game. He was part of an 18 strikeout effort against Buffalo two weeks ago.
For the Bulls things begin and end with Mike Burke and Tyler Mautner. Burke is perhaps the teams best pitcher Tyler Mautner is someone that is going to have to produce at the plate for Buffalo. Mautner is among the top five batters in the MAC in seven different categories.
Buffalo and Miami lead are the first teams to go at it during this years tournament. First pitch is at 9:30 am you can watch all of these games via live stream on the MAC Digital Network.