Northern Illinois' Offense Too Much For Buffalo in Sweep
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY - With both teams enjoying the benefit of heavy wind gusts, Northern Illinois put it to good use, taking both games of the Saturday afternoon doubleheader, 9-4 and 12-4. The games are being held at St. Bonaventure University but is still Buffalo's first series as the host this season. Matt Pollock hit three home runs over the two games but the team as a whole could not capitalize on its chances.
The Huskies offense was sporadic, but when it found a rhythm it was on fire, using a handful of big innings in the two games to gain comfortable leads. Going in to the fourth inning of game one, NIU held a 4-0 lead. Buffalo got a run in the fourth and fifth innings and two more in the seventh, but the visiting team kept an arm's length away throughout. In the fourth, Eric Bryce reached on a two-out single and moved to second on a passed ball. Michael Burke singled to convert the runner. In the fifth, Pollock hit a solo shot to left center field to bring the score to 4-2.
In the seventh, down 6-2, the team again turned to the long ball to keep pace with the Huskies. Pollock led off with another solo shot to nearly the exact same spot over the left centerfield wall, and Tom Murphy followed suit two batters later with another solo shot to cap the Buffalo offense for the game. Kevin Crumb took the loss as the team's starter, giving up six runs in 5.2 innings of work.
In the second game, the Huskies found even more success on offense, pounding the power alleys for 17 hits overall, with five doubles and a home run in the mix. Pollock was again a solid contributor, stepping up to the plate to lead off in the bottom of the first and kept his momentum going, with a solo shot again to left center field. The Bulls would be held in check up until the eigth inning though, where the team raked in three runs to make the score 11-4.
Pollock led off the eighth with a single and wound up on third after a passed ball and a long fly out. He scored on yet another passed ball. Alex Baldock hit a ground-rule double and was driven in by Tom Murphy's single. Murphy advanced to second after his single was misplayed and pinch hitter Thomas Richards drove him in with what was an apparent double. After a NIU appeal, though, Richards was called out at first after stepping over the bag on his way to second base.
Josh Edwards took the loss in game two, throwing seven innings and striking out six while allowing five earned runs.
The two teams will look to beat a poor weather forecast tomorrow, moving up first pitch of game three to noon instead of 1 pm.