HUNTINGTON, WV – The University at Buffalo softball team was back in action Saturday morning after a week off, but dropped its two contests, fighting cold temperatures and rain through out the morning. The Bulls fell first to Presbyterian, 2-0, and then to the host Thundering Herd, 10-4.
UB got a strong pitching performance from freshman Tori Speckman in the opener as she struck out a career-high nine Presbyterian batters, but the Bulls could not get any offense going, managing just three hits. The Blue Hose got their first run in the first inning, but it was an unearned run, coming off of a Buffalo error. The only earned run allowed by Speckman was a home run in the bottom of the sixth. The Bulls put runners on in four of the seven innings, but managed to make it to third just once, back in the second inning.
Speckman picked up the tough luck loss as she went the distance, allowing just four hits, one walk and one earned run. The nine strikeouts were the most by a UB pitcher this season.
The second game provided more offense as Marshall used a six run bottom of the fifth to snap a tie and take a 10-4 win. The rain continued for most of the contest as there were slight delays through out to work on the field. Marshall got on the board in the first, but the Bulls quickly tied it up on a home run from sophomore Alyssa Ward to start off the second. UB looked for more offense in that frame as it had two runners in scoring position with just one out, but the Bulls made two outs on the bases to end the inning.
The Thundering Heard regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the second and two runs in the third to take a 4-1 lead, which they still had heading into the fifth. Sophomore Ashley Bertot got on base with a one-out infield single and advanced to third on a long double to left field by Kristin Waldron. Following a second out, both runners scored on a single from Jessica Griffin up the right side. Senior Lindsay Hampton would come in to run for Griffin, eventually scoring on a double to right center by Ward. Hampton made it to third on the double and then took the extra base on an error by the right fielder which tied the game up at 4-4.
However, it would not be tied for long as Marshall erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, all getting charged to Haylee Land, who started the game and picked up the loss. Speckman would come into the game for the final inning and two thirds, striking out another three batters.
Ward ended up going 3-for-3 in the game to lead the Bulls, who also got hits from each of their first four players in the lineup.
The Bulls remain at the Marshall Invitational for two more games tomorrow. They face fellow MAC member Kent State and another game against Marshall. Due to the weather today, game times are still to be determined for tomorrow's action.