WASHINGTON, DC - The University at Buffalo softball team hit the nation's capital and split the opening day of the Colonial Classic on Friday, falling to Army 7-2 and coming back to defeat George Washington, 6-5. The victory ends an eight-game skid for the Bulls.
In the opener, the Black Knights, scored the first seven runs of the game, including a three-run inning in the bottom of the first against UB starter Tori Speckman. Army added four more runs in the bottom half of the third.
The Bulls got on board in the top half of the fifth inning as they used the long ball for the first time this season. Junior Jessica Griffin led off the inning with the seventh home run of her career, a shot to left center. The Bulls followed it up with another home run as sophomore Tori Pettine hit the first one of her career, sending the ball over the left field line fence.
The two home runs accounted for two of UB's three hits in the opener. Speckman picked up the loss, but UB got solid pitching in relief from senior Holly Johnson, who pitched three no-hit innings.
Buffalo had a short break, as they were right back in action against the host Colonials. The Bulls put up a two spot in the top of the first as junior Alyssa Ward hit a one out double and was driven in by freshman Alexis Curtiss, who doubled to right center. Curtiss came in to score on a single from Sammi Gallardo.
George Washington responded with one run in the bottom of the first, but the Bulls regained a two-run lead as Curtiss hit her first career home run down the left field line. UB made the lead 4-1 in the top of the fifth as Curtiss scored yet again, this time on a wild pitch after hitting her second double of the game.
However, GW would go on to score four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. After a scoreless sixth inning, the Bulls came out in the top of the seventh and got a one-out single from senior Kristin Waldron. Griffin singled up the middle and both Waldron and Griffin moved up a base following a ground out. So with runners on second and third with two outs, the Bulls got a pinch-hit single from sophomore Rebecca Griswold to score Waldron. During the next at bat, sophomore Holly Luciano doubled down the left field line, scoring Griffin and giving the Bulls a 6-5 lead. The Colonials recorded a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, but that is as close as they would get in the game.
The Bulls recorded a season-high 13 hits, including a 3-for-3 performance from Curtiss and a 2-for-2 game from Waldron. Ward and Gallardo also had multi-hit games. Speckman picked up the win as she pitched two no-hit innings, striking out three. Johnson started the game and struck out seven in five innings.
"I thought our energy was a little low in the first game until the later innings and we are still working on consistency with our pitching staff," said head coach Jen Teague. "I thought the team did a nice job of bouncing back in the second game. We are going to continue to stress trusting the process and getting better everyday. We were better today from game one to game two."
The Bulls are back in action tomorrow for a pair of games against Stony Brook and Siena beginning at 9:00 am.