Villanova Comes from Behind to Down the Bulls
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA - For the second time this season, the Buffalo baseball team (6-9) fell victim on back-to-back games on the final at bat, losing Sunday afternoon 5-4 to Villanova. After earning a 4-0 lead early in the game, the Wildcats (13-7) chipped away before scoring twice in the ninth inning.
The Bulls led off the scoring in the third, as a leadoff walk was bunted over to second base before Matt Pollock hit a single straight back up the middle that would drive in the run. Pollock would then be plated himself on an opposite-field double by Tom Murphy, his sixth of the season. Murphy would finish the game with a pair of hits. Another pair of runs were tacked on in the fourth, with a run-scoring single coming from Mike Burke, who would later come around and score thanks to a steal and a wild pitch.
Villanova would pull within one in the very next inning off of UB starter Jeff Thompson, who otherwise pitched a solid game to cap off a promising three-game weekend for the team's main starters. Including Thompson's final line of three earned runs in six innings of work, the team's weekend starters combined to allow just seven earned runs in 17.1 innings of work, striking out a combined 18 batters while allowing two walks. In today's outing, Thompson struck out four and walked only one Wildcat batter.
Relieving Thompson for two innings was Burke, who shifted over from shortstop to throw two scoreless innings with four strikeouts to preserve the team's 4-3 lead. Kevin Crumb would enter in the ninth inning in the hope of converting his second save of the season, but Villanova would not go quietly. A one-out single would come around and score after a wild pitch and another single that would shoot right back through the middle of the infield. The runner would move up to second on the throw home, and a passed ball on a strikeout put runners on the corners with one out. A single that split the left side of the infield defenders would hand Buffalo a disappointing end to the weekend. More than half of the team's losses this season have come on the final at bat of the game.
The team will take a break in its non-conference schedule, opening Mid-American Conference action next Friday with the first of three games at Central Michigan. First pitch of the series is scheduled for 3 pm.