#10 Baseball Makes Splash in First MAC Tournament
Over the course of the next six weeks we will be counting down the Top 12 stories of the 2011-12 year. Each Monday and Thursday we will reveal a new story, until we reach the top moment, which will be unveiled in mid July.
The team needed all 52 games of the regular season, but the Buffalo Bulls baseball team made the Mid-American Conference's postseason tournament for the first time ever in 2012, beating Bowling Green 8-5 on May 19 to earn the eighth and final spot in the double elimination tournament. Not satisfied with just getting there, the Bulls also upset #4 seed Ohio 6-5 and also sent home #5 seed Western Michigan 10-8 all within a 24-hour span.
The team made the semifinal round of the tournament before being eliminated by eventual champion Kent State.
After the game, head coach Ron Torgalski was beaming with pride over all the team had accomplished in the final weeks of the season.
"It was a season of firsts. We did a lot of good things and we had a group of guys that came out to work every day and it was great to have them be rewarded with a trip to the tournament," head coach Ron Torgalski said. "Hopefully we can build on this with the seasons to come. I told the kids to leave here with their heads held high because they overcame a lot of adversity, and I thanked them for all that they've done for me as a coach this season."
It certainly was a season chock full of firsts for Torgalski's squad. The team set numerous program records, headlined by four players named to the MAC All-Conference teams. Tom Murphy and Matt Pollock were first-team honorees, while Jason Kanzler and Cameron Copping earned second team honors. As a team, the Bulls set records for most games played (56), doubles (135), home runs (56), innings pitched (477.1) and strikeouts (359).
Individually, Tom Murphy set program records for most games started (56), most home runs (13) and runs batted in (51), while Matt Pollock set the record for total bases in a single season (with 141). Murphy was a third-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies, which will bring his career at Buffalo to an end, but he leaves as the program's all-time leader in career slugging percentage (.588). On the mound, Cameron Copping won six games (third most in a single season) and pitched 98 innings in 14 starts, both of which are single season high marks for UB. Copping's 77 strikeouts are also the third most in a single season.