GREENSBORO, NC - Spearheaded by a dominating start from starting pitcher Mike Burke, the Buffalo baseball team tallied its first win of the early season Sunday afternoon, beating North Carolina A&T 10-6. Down 3-0 after three innings, the Bulls dominated the middle innings to get the win.
In the top of the fourth inning, UB was first able to slice into the Aggies lead. A single by Alex Baldock, an error, and a walk to Ryan Tulloch loaded the bases with no outs, and River McWilliams was able to draw another walk to score Baldock before a Mike Scarcello sacrifice fly brought in another run. Now down just 3-2, the team would recapture some of its late season magic from 2012 and score big in the clutch.
After the first two batters were retired in order in the top of the fifth, Baldock doubled and Tyler Mautner was hit by a pitch. They both would come home on a two-run opposite-field double by Tulloch to put UB out front. Two straight walks and another hit batter would bring in a third run, and Jason Kanzler would take a free pass to let the fourth run of the inning walk trot home. That would give the team a 6-3 lead, one it would no reliquish.
Burke was able to use his power pitches to work 5.2 innings of work and allow just the three early runs to NC A&T. The junior struck out a career-high nine batters in his start, before giving way to the bullpen.
The Aggies got back within one after the sixth inning before two more UB runs in the top of the seventh would put the game away. The team scored the pair in a much more conventional matter than earlier in the game, using an RBI double by Scarcello to drive in Kyle Brennan, before Kanzler scored Scarcello with a sacrifice fly.
An Aggie run in the home half of the seventh would again be matched by UB in its next chance, when Baldock led off with a double before moving to third on a single from Tulloch. Buffalo then executed a perfect double steal that brought home Baldock.
In the ninth inning, up 9-5, Buffalo again loaded the bases thanks to a Jon Mestas single, a Thomas Richards double, and an intentional walk to the red-hot Baldock. Mautner would reach on a fielder's choice to score Mestas.
With its last ups, NC A&T was able to load the bases with one out, but only could muster one run on a sacrifice fly before McWilliams sealed the win with a strikeout.
Mautner led the team offensively with a 3-5 day, hitting two doubles. Baldock, McWilliams, and Scarcello all had two hits, and Kanzler drove in a team-best three runs.
After a long bus ride home, the team will rest up before hitting the road for four games next weekend. Starting on Friday, the Bulls will have two games each against VMI and Maryland-Eastern Shore. First up will be UMES on Friday at 12:30.