This winter is proving why college caseball needs to wait until mid March to start, even if that means a shorter season.
Two weeks ago UB's series in Virginia was cancelled and this week their series against Pennsylvania-based Bucknell was first moved to South Carolina and then cut from four games to to three and finally set at a mere doublheader.
In the end UB split the series, getting their first win of the season on the second half of a double header.
In the first game the Bulls saw the Bucknell Bison use a three run second to establish a four to one lead. That outburst along with a hit batter and walk to lead off the third was enough to chase Mike McGee from the game.
With Alec Tuohy on the mound UB got out of the third with no damage and began to mount a comeback.
UB scored a pair of runs in the fourth inning to make the score 4-3. Brent Cleland reached base after being hit by a pitch and then Ben Vey doubled to give the Bulls runners on third and second with one out. Brian Dudek then hit a sac fly which scored Cleland and moved Vey. Two batters later Vey scored on a passed ball.
Brian Dudek brought in another UB run via sacrifice in the sixth inning. This time Dudek grounded out to shortstop to score Mallaro from third, knotting the score at four.
Bucknell responded with a crushing outburst from the plate in the bottom of the seventh. The inning started with two consecutive singles and went downhill from there.
After Bucknell put runners on first and second they broke the game open on a Mark Powell homerun. The resulting score of 7-4 was just the tip of the spear. After a single and a wild pitch Bucknell collected another run on hit by Tony Gingerelli. At this point during the seventh inning onslaught UB coach Ron Torgalski pulled Touhy in favor of Tom Taplin.
In Taplin's brief stint on the mound he gave up three hits, a homer, and a hit batter. The damage amounted to three runs and a 14-4 deficit.
UB went deeper into the bull pen, going to two more pitchers. But the Bulls surrendered three more runs before escaping the seventh with a 17-4 deficit.
Shortly after the first game Ben Hartz got the start for the evening game. He did not get a decision but his seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings did keep the UB close enough for Mike Kaelin earned his first win of the season with 3.1 innings of perfect relief and striking out seven batters for the Bulls.
Once again the Bison used a three run frame in the early part of the game to set up a three to one lead and once again the Bulls spent the middle innings working to knot things up.
After two scoreless innings, UB got even with Bucknell in the seventh as Brian Dudek crossed the plate on a Bobby Sheppard ground out to third.
This time though Bucknell could not must a late offensive charge. Kaelin kept them at bay while on the other side UB's offense came up big with two outs in the eighth.
Charlie Sobieraski singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Justin Gonzalez walked to give UB two runners on base. After a pitching change, Brian Dudek singled to score Sobieraski and give the Bulls the 4-3 lead. Junior Nick Sinay then came to the plate and gave the Bulls the 5-3 lead as he singled to plate Gonzalez from third.
The win is huge for UB and I'm noticing in writing this up there are a lot of names I have not had to use before. Guys like Charlie Sobieraski and Justin Gonzalez are giong to be the next few years of UB baseball. Hopefully they will improve enough to stabilize the bottom of UB's batting order.
The Bulls next game is this Friday against Wright State.