Let's catch up once again on the rest of UB Athletics. I should be back to game-by-game pieces now, or at least after this Easter weekend.
Tim told you earlier this week that Baseball dropped their MAC-season-opening series to Ball State 1-2, splitting a doubleheader on Saturday before falling on Sunday.
Yesterday, the Bulls cruised past WNY rival St. Bonaventure 12-5 thanks in part to a grand slam from Vinny Mallaro. I believe Tim has more coming on this game so I won't step too much on his toes.
The Bulls have a three-game "home" series this weekend against Ohio in Butler, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh
Softball has likewise opened MAC play, but only got two games, both losses, to Kent State. Though the 6-4 and 7-3 defeats are closer than many of Buffalo's losses this season, similar storylines play out. The Bulls continue to hunt for consistent pitching and committed three errors in each contest. Both pitching and defense are improving slightly within the season, but not enough.
On the offensive side, neither game featured particularly strong performances, but the first saw a pair of home runs from Lauren Gambone and Hayley Barrow, while Alexis Curtiss was 3-4 in the second game.
UB's weekend features four scheduled MAC games: a doubleheader against Miami in Miami, and a pair of games at Ball State. At this moment, extenuating circumstances prevent UB from traveling to Indiana and the schools are working on an alternate site to compete, but I also believe that an amendment to Indiana's RFRA will be codified before the scheduled games and there's a strong possibility UB heads to Ball State anyway.
The good news: the deathMarch in the schedule is over.
The bad news: April started with a MAC loss.
It's not a stretch to say that Men's Tennis began their season with higher expectations than any other UB team this year, and Coach Nickell's schedule reflects that. The Bulls' March featured four road matches to nationally-ranked squads, and four losses.
Unfortunately, the spell continued into MAC play, where Buffalo lost 5-2 to Binghamton yesterday, falling to 0-1 in the conference. The two points came in #5 and #6 singles, but close matches riddle the final ledger.
All three doubles sets hit 6-6 before the Bearcats prevailed in two, and #1, #2 and #4 singles all went to tightly-contested third sets. It's still, however, a loss, and an upsetting one for a team in "championship or bust" mode.
This doesn't really threaten UB's shot at the MAC Tournament, and they've advanced to the final from top and bottom seeds before, but it also narrows the room for error in the Bulls' four remaining regular season matches. Buffalo will take on Western Michigan in Kalamazoo this Saturday.
The Women's Tennis team, by comparison, is off to a 2-2 start in the MAC, winning and losing a pair of 5-2 matches to open the MAC slate before losing 6-1 to Miami and topping Bowling Green 7-0 this past weekend.
In conference play, Tanja Stojanovska is the lone Bull undefeated in singles, while Margarita Kotok and Dayana Agasieva have won all of their doubles sets.
Already halfway through their conference schedule, UB travels to Western Michigan this Sunday. Buffalo was also scheduled to compete at Ball State tomorrow, but that match has been cancelled in light of the Governor's ban on publicly-funded travel.
Track and Field
Outdoor season is just getting underway, so I don't have a great feel for how many of UB's top competitors have actually been in action. But there were many, many standout performances in last weekend's Cincinnati Invitational, in which the men finished first and the women third.
I would devote more time to that, but I'll have a more expansive Track and Field piece after this weekend, as Buffalo student-athletes are competing in three different meets this weekend: a not-very-competitive day at RIT right now, and a pair of bigger meets tomorrow and Friday in the Princeton Invitational and Florida Relays.
More on all of that Sunday, probably.
Rowing! It's been so long. Unfortunately for rowing, it's really hard to write about them. They race, and they finish and they are done. This past weekend, the rowers traveled to Philadelphia for the Murphy Cup. UB's two Varsity 8 boats finished in the top six of their respective races, as did the Novice 4.
UB is back in action Saturday in Ithaca, where they'll compete in the "Nordic Nine." I don't know, either, but that's what it's called.