LEXINGTON, KY - Wild winds and control issues by the UB pitching staff helped drop the team's season opener Friday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium, losing 13-4 to the Kentucky Wildcats (4-0). The pitching staff issued nine walks and hit four batters, allowing the 'Cats to score their runs on just 13 hits.
Wind gusts that reached up to 44 miles per hour harried both pitching staffs in the first inning, with the Bulls rushing out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a home run by Jon Mestas that drove in Jason Kanzler. After Kanzler hit a triple off the wall to lead off, Mestas made his first career at bat with the Bulls a memorable one, taking a Taylor Rogers pitch over the wall in left center field. Rogers recovered nicely after the first two batters, though, and struck out seven of the next nine Buffalo hitters.
Meanwhile, a potent Kentucky offense that had racked up 26 runs through its first three games closed the Buffalo lead quickly in the bottom half of the first, with a leadoff home run followed by three one-out walks. Wildcat designated hitter A.J. Reed capitalized with a grand slam to give Kentucky a 5-2 lead, one it would never relinquish.
Buffalo got back on the board thanks to two tried and true standouts on offense. Tom Murphy led off with an 0-2 double to the gap in left center, and was driven in by Alex Baldock's double in the very next at bat. The Bulls would not score again until a skying solo home run in the seventh inning by Dan Scahill.
The Wildcats would put the game away with another big inning in the fourth, chasing UB starter Cameron Copping after loading the bases with no outs in the inning thanks to two walks and a single. Cory Folk came on in relief and started out with a strikeout but gave up two straight seeing-eye singles to clear the bases and saddle Copping with nine earned runs for the day. After escaping from the inning, the Buffalo bullpen was solid for the final four innings and allowed just a pair of runs in the seventh but tossing eight strikeouts in their five combined innings of work.
The two teams will hope for calmer weather for tomorrow's afternoon matchup. First pitch is scheduled for 1 pm with Kevin Hughes taking on Jerad Grundy.