Few softball teams are going to win many games giving up seven, nine, and eleven runs at a time, especially with a young roster like Buffalo's. Struggles from the pitching circle and on defense sent the Bulls this weekend to an 0-5 record at Coastal Carolina's Chanticleer Challenge.
The three-day stretch saw the Bulls lose twice each to Memphis and Furman, and once to host Coastal Carolina. All told UB was outscored by an average of 9-4. Once again the Bulls put forward their best effort on the opening day, but gave up five runs in the final two innings to drop an 11-7 result against Memphis and could only find runs in a single frame in an afternoon 7-3 loss to Furman.
Saturday and Sunday's games saw UB lose 9-5, 9-4, and 9-0 (in five innings) to Furman, Coastal Carolina, and Memphis, respectively. On the weekend, Coach Trena Peel continued to experiment with her young pitching staff, as five different pitchers saw the circle on Friday alone, four pitched on Saturday, and three this morning.
Of that group - almost entirely freshman in Taylor Light, Lace Smith, Ally Power, Brieanna Baker, and sophomore Charlotte Miller - none particularly stood out. Light and Smith both had good stretches on Friday, but couldn't follow them up on Saturday, while Baker and Miller were similarly up and down. Power did not pitch on the weekend after surrendering a two-out grand slam in the top of the seventh against Memphis.
Offensively, UB continues to get some production from the top of the order, as Savanna Norcio, Ashton Earnhardt, and - today - Katie Weimer combined for six hits from the one spot this weekend. Weimer in particular continues to stand out, hitting 12-17 on the weekend with three home runs, a triple, and eight RBI.
The Bulls offense certainly has a little more punch than last year, and did manage something in each game except today's, when Memphis' Calli Irvin held them to two hits in five innings. Otherwise, Buffalo had five multi-run innings over the weekend, in games where they were gifted few baserunners to errors.
UB remains in the Carolinas this week for spring break, and will have games Tuesday against the College of Charleston, Wednesday against South Carolina, and Friday at Savannah State before returning to Western New York next week.
The baseball diamond has been friendlier to Buffalo this week through two games of a three-game series at Mount St. Mary's in Maryland. Tim will have a full writeup of the weekend after tomorrow's final game, but so far the Bulls have put together two shutouts, one blowout and one nailbiter.
Yesterday, UB took it 15-0, scoring in all but two innings with seven runs from the leadoff trio of Bobby Sheppard, Ben Haefner, and Vinny Mallaro, and also got a four-hit day from Andrew Taft deeper in the order. Alec Tuohy pitched 7.0 shutout innings, allowing only five baserunners against eight strikeouts, while Shawn Dubin got five more in his 2.0 innings as a closer.
Today, the story was on the mound, where Charlie Sobieraski pitched six innings of two-hit ball alongside eight strikeouts himself. The Bulls only managed two hits from their lineup, but earned six walks as well, scoring the winning run in the fourth on a walk and two wild pitches, and an insurance tally in the fifth on a bases-loaded free pass.
UB closes the series tomorrow at 3:30, and again, Tim will have more on the Baseball squad at that time.