The Buffalo Bulls arrived in Dekalb on a four-game losing streak and clinging to 8th place, the final MAC playoff seed. In theit way were the Northern Illinois Huskies, who at 7-5 were trying to catch up to Ball State in their race for the MAC West.
Two games remain in the weekend series, but UB came out on top in the first, 7-2 behind Alec Tuohy's 7.2 innings from the hill. Tuohy scattered six hits, five walks, and two errors to hold NIU to only a single run as UB built a lead and really pulled away with a four-run seventh.
Buffalo stared off the scoring in the second when Andrew Taft drilled a one-out double into right center field. Kyle Brennan would bring him in two batters later with an RBI single that gave UB a 1-0 lead.
It was a short-lived lead as NIU would get a single, double, and sacrifice off of Tuohy in the home half of the second to tie the game. Buffalo locked things down after that, getting out of the inning without letting the Huskies inflict any more damage.
After three scoreless innings UB would tag NIU for another run in the sixth. Mike Abrunzo got a lead off single and after consecutive outs Brian Wasilewski hit a double which scored Abrunzo from second. On the play a bad throw by NIU advanced Wasilewski to third but he was tagged trying to get home.
Buffalo's big seventh inning saw all four runs come after NIU retired the first two batters. Bobby Sheppard got things going with a single up the middle, and Ben Haefner got a single into center-field on the next at bat, moving Sheppard to third base. At that point the Huskies walked Abrunzo, hoping to set up for a force out from the next UB batter, Vinny Mallaro.
Instead, Mallaro drove a 2-2 pitch into right-center to score Haefner and Sheppard. After a pitching change Taft doubled to score Abrunzo and Mallaro bringing Buffalo's lead to 6-1.
UB added more insurance in the 8th when Dudek walked small ball brought him in. After the walk Eddie Edwards hit a sac bunt to advance his teammate to second and Sheppard brought him in.
Tuohy's night was over after NIU put two on in the eighth, and reliever Mike Kaelin got out of the jam before loading the bases and giving up an ultimately meaningless run in the ninth.
Eight of UB's nine batters recorded a hit in the win, with six different Bulls accounting for the seven runs. Tomorrow's game is at 2:00.