KENT, OH - It was a classic pitcher's duel Friday afternoon when the Bulls (7-17, 1-5 MAC) traveled to the Mid-American Conference's front-runner Kent State (16-13, 7-0 MAC). Cameron Copping followed up 10 scoreless innings in his previous start with another outstanding day, but the Golden Flashes were able to take advantage of the UB bullpen and scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to steal the series opener 5-4.
Both team's picked up a run in the first inning, with the Bulls using the long ball to go up in the top of the frame. Matt Pollock continued his hot streak with a solo shot over the left field wall. That would be the last of the major offensive threats for the Bulls, who were unable to get a feel for Kent State starter David Starn. The Flashes senior struck out nine UB batters through the first four innings of the game.
The team would regain the lead again in the fifth after stringing together a trio of singles with one out in the inning. Jason Kanzler and Pollock set the table for Jon Mestas, who punched a single down the left field line that would give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. Despite loading the bases with only the one out, no more runs would cross the plate as Starn retired the next two Bulls in order.
Copping would finish his day in the seventh after allowing Kent State to tie the game again on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. The senior went seven innings and struck out five batters. Over his 24 innings against MAC opponents, Copping has a 3.00 earned run average while holding the opposing offense a palty .244 batting average.
Moving to the eighth inning, Buffalo strung up a run on a single up the middle by Kanzler, who finished the game with a pair of hits. The team moved the lead to 4-2 in the ninth thanks to a bases-loaded, two-out single through the left side of the infield from Mike Scarcello. In the bottom of the ninth, three walks loaded the bases with one out. A hit batter and a single to the right center field gap doomed the Bulls to its eighth walk-off loss of the season.
Saturday's game will begin at 1 pm.