BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo softball team used timely hitting and clutch pitching on Wednesday as they defeated Canisius, 10-2. The Bulls were powered to their strong offensive performance by junior Alyssa Ward, who hit for the cycle and drove six runs home in the game.
Canisius got out to an early lead in the contest as it scored two runs in the bottom of the first against Buffalo starter Tori Speckman. However, once the sophomore from Alvin, TX settled in, it became all UB.
Down 2-0 after two innings, the Bulls got on the board in the top of the third, beginning with a one-out single from freshman Karly Nevez. She moved up to third on a ground-rule double by Alexis Curtiss and the Bulls had the bases loaded following a walk to Caitlin Dekker. Ward then cleared the bases as she hit a triple to right center. Ward came in to score during the next at bat as sophomore Sammi Gallardo singled through the left side.
The Bulls added another run in the top of the fifth as they staged a two-out rally. Senior Kristin Waldron singled to the pitcher and advanced to second on an infield single from Andi Saucier. Waldron then came in to score the fifth run on a single up the middle from sophomore Tori Pettine.
It was then Ward's turn to strike again in the sixth inning following a one-out double from Dekker. Ward took the first pitch she saw and hit it over the center field fence to give UB a 7-2 lead.
In the seventh inning, UB took advantage of some sloppy play by the Canisius defense. Pettine walked with one out and then scored thanks to a pair of errors. Pettine stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error from the catcher. Playing the ball in center field, another throwing error scored Pettine.
Luciano then reached base on an error by the second baseman, advancing to second. She moved to third on a single by Nevez and scored on a single to left field from Curtiss. Dekker then reached base and Ward came up to drive her sixth run of the game home on a single to center field, which put the Bulls up 10-2.
"Today was a great team win and it is something we know we can do when everyone comes to the field ready to play," said head coach Jen Teague. "Hopefully this will help us build some momentum as we head into a very important conference weekend at Northern [Illinois] and Western [Michigan]."
Ward went 4-for-5 on the afternoon, the third time a UB player has recorded four hits in a game. Nevez added a career-high three hits, while Curtiss, Waldron and Pettine each had two. Nine different batters recorded hits, while Luciano reached base twice on hit by pitches.
Speckman picked up her seventh victory of the year as she pitched all seven innings, scattering six hits. She allowed just the two runs in the first inning and struck out eight Canisius batters.
The Bulls return to conference play this weekend as they hit the road heading to the MAC's West Coast. First up is a doubleheader at Northern Illinois on Friday.