Bulls Split Doubleheader at Memphis
MEMPHIS, TN - The Buffalo baseball team concluded its weekend series at Memphis Saturday with a doubleheader. The Bulls (7-6) lost game one 9-1, but were able to come from behind and hold off the Tigers (9-5) 9-8 in a wild night cap.
The Bulls ran into a buzz saw in game one, managing just six hits and a lone run in a 9-1 loss in game one. Memphis starter Eric Schoenrock went for a complete game winning, striking out six Bulls along the way.
Buffalo appeared to be cooking early, with the first two batters of the game reaching in the top of the first. Jon Mestas reached on an error, and Jason Kanzler singled to follow it up. They would both move intoscoring position with two outs, but no runs would come across. In the second, Ryan Tulloch led off with a single and was sacrificed over to second, but aline drive was snagged and Tulloch was doubled up at second base to end theinning.
The Bulls were held in check for almost the rest of the way, recording just two hits from the fifth to eighth innings, while the Tigers scored three runs in the third and fifth innings to run its lead to 7-0 andchase UB starter Anthony Magovney from the game.
In the top of the ninth, the Bulls scraped across a run on a two-out rally as Schoenrock hit a wild streak. Tyler Mautner singled to lead off, but was put out at second on a one-out fielder's choice on a hit by River McWilliams. Tulloch hit an infield single, and a walk to Mike Scarcello would load the bases. Justin Gonzalez, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter, went down 0-2 but watched four straight balls to earn an RBI with a walk to score McWilliams. That would be all for the Buffalo offense in the game.
In game two, the Bulls were on the board quickly, scoring twice in the first three innings of the game. Jason Kanzler bunted his way on base with one out, and he was able to score from first on a double by Mautner, who would come through again in the third with a leadoff solo home run down the left field line to make it a 2-0 game.
Memphis would storm back with four runs in the fourth inning to go back up 4-2, but the Bulls would briefly tie the game back up in the top of the sixth. With two outs, the Bulls loaded the bases thanks to a walk to Scarcello, a single from Nick Sinay, and a hit by pitch drawn by Mestas. Kanzler would bring in two runs on a single to left field, but the team would strand a pair of runners in scoring position.
After the Tigers took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth with two more runs to chase starter Mike Burke from the game. The lead would expand to 7-4 after seven full innings, but the Bulls were able to take advantage of a series of mental errors to post a big eighth inning.
With one out, Jimmy Topps singled to left and would move all the way to third on consecutive pitches - a passed ball and a wild pitch. Mestas would draw a walk and Topps would then come in on a sacrifice fly by Kanzler. Now with two outs, Mautner was plunked to put a pair of Bulls on, and Mestas would score on a double from Baldock down the right field line. Thomas Richards then grounded to short for the apparent third out, but an error by the infield would score Mautner for the tying run.
Richards moved to second and Baldock to third after another passed ball to give UB a 8-7 lead. Now with the lead, reliever McWilliams pitched a perfect eighth to put the pressure back on the host Tigers. Kyle Figgins led off the ninth with a single and was sacrificed over to second. A groundout would move him to third, and Mestas would bring him in as his grounder to short was also misplayed, giving the Bulls a critical insurance run.
In the bottom of the ninth, McWilliams ran into trouble trying to lock down the win. A walk and single were pieced together back to back, and after a fielder's choice at third gave UB one out, a Memphis double would make it 9-8 and put the game-winning run on second with still just one out. McWilliams would record two popups to end the game and help UB salvage a wild weekend series.
The team will now have a busy Spring Break schedule ahead of it, starting at Belmont on Tuesday. After that, the team will face perennial national power Vanderbilt on Wednesday before playing a four-game weekend series against Dayton and Oakland at Dayton. First pitch against Belmont will be at 5 pm.