BUFFALO, NY - Despite a sparkling performance from senior starting pitcher Cameron Copping, the Buffalo offense could not push across a run Friday afternoon, and lost 2-0 in a 12-inning home opener against Western Michigan (12-10, 4-0 MAC). Copping pitched 10 innings and allowed only three hits for a career game. It was the first time all season that the Bulls (7-13, 1-3 MAC) were unable to score a run.
"Cam stepped up, and that's why he's our Friday guy," head coach Ron Torgalski said. "We were in a situation where we needed a win, and he pitched lights out and was in command the whole way. It's the one time all year that we go to sleep offensively and we can't get it done for him. He deserved that win but we didn't take advantage of it."
Copping walked the first batter of the game and allowed single hits in the third and fourth innings, and that would be all he would allow to the Broncos for the next five innings. The Temple City, CA native retired 17 straight batters after allowing a one-out single in the fourth inning. Pitching in control for much of the day, Copping also struck out seven batters as he lowered his season earned run average from 8.36 to 6.16.
The Buffalo offense had its share of opportunities, but was not able to capitalize. In the fifth inning, the team used three infield singles to load the bases, but all three runners would be stranded. The Bulls were stifled by three successful pickoffs in the first four innings of the game, including two in the fourth inning that would comeback and haunt the Bulls. Jon Mestas was picked off after a leadoff single, and Tom Murphy would also be picked off after being caught in no-man's land on a pitch in the dirt. Dan Scahill's double in the very next at bat would be rendered harmless by the base running errors.
In the bottom of the ninth, UB had its first chance of the season to get a walk-off win of its own, and had a great shot at it. River McWilliams reached on a one-out error, and Mike Scarcello moved him to second on a single to left field. Back-to-back strikeouts would bring an end to the team's chances.
The team had another two-out scoring opportunity in the eleventh inning, as a trio of walks loaded up the bases with two outs, but Jason Kanzler would fly out to right field and end the inning. Western Michigan would put up two runs in the top of the twelfth, and despite a leadoff single in the bottom half, Buffalo would go quietly to drop the first game of the series.
Due to poor weather in the forecast on Friday night, the Saturday afternoon game will be pushed back 2:30 pm from its original 1 pm first pitch.