LEXINGTON, VA - Three runs in the top of the ninth inning broke a 3-3 tie, and the Buffalo baseball team returns home from an extended weekend series with a 6-3 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Monday afternoon. Alex Baldock and Tyler Mautner had two RBI, with Mautner's run-scoring hit coming in the ninth inning. The win moves the Bulls to 4-3 in the early season, moving Buffalo over the .500 mark for the first time since March 10, 2010.
After beating the Hawks 9-6 on Saturday, the Bulls came out of the gates fast with two runs in the very first inning. Walks to Jon Mestas and Jason Kanzler, the first two batters of the game, put UB in threatening position early. A wild pitch moved Mestas to third, and Kanzler stole his third base of the season, and in the process forced a poor throw to second base that allowed Mestas to come in for the game's first run and move Kanzler to third. Alex Baldock would score him on a single, capping the scoring for the team in the inning.
That would be it for scoring by either team until the sixth inning, as the game turned quickly into a pitcher's duel. Mike Burke was dominant in his second start of the season, holding the Hawks to just two hits through the first five innings of the game. While UMES was able to plate a trio of runs in the sixth to take a brief 3-2 lead, that would be the only blip on an otherwise solid day for Burke. He struck out five and walked just one batter in seven total innings, with four of UMES' six total hits against him coming all in the sixth.
After giving up the lead in the bottom of the sixth, UB immediately tied the game back up in the top of the seventh inning. One-out singles from Mestas and Kanzler, and a walk to Thomas Richards, loaded up the bases. Baldock scored Mestas on a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-3 game and take Burke off the hook for the loss.
Ben Hartz took the ball for the first time as a Bull and pitched a hitless eighth inning to hold the lead for the UB offense. In the top of the ninth inning, Jimmy Topps dragged a bunt to third that he was able to beat out for a single, and after a bunt moved him to second the Hawks intentionally walked Kanzler. A fielder's choice put Buffalo's back against the wall with a runner on third, but it would be the Hawks who wilted under the pressure. Alex Baldock hit a grounder to third, but it was misplayed for UMES' third error of the game, scoring a run to take the 4-3 lead. Mautner then stepped in and hit a double down the left field line to bring in a pair of insurance runs.
River McWilliams came in to close out the win, and did just that. A two-out single from the Hawks would matter little, as the final batter would be retired immediately after to give Buffalo the win.
Next up for UB is a three-game series at Longwood, starting on Friday. The two teams last met in 2011, with the Lancers sweeping a four-game series. First pitch for game one will be 3 pm.