BUFFALO, NY – In a doubleheader that last over six and a half hours of actual game time, the University at Buffalo softball team dropped a pair of tough games to Kent State. UB lost the first game 14-11 in 10 innings and the second contest, 9-6.
The opening game went nearly four hours as the two teams combined for 25 runs. Kent State scored four runs in the top of the first against Buffalo starter Tori Speckman, who pitched deep into the game due to a shortened bench for the Bulls. UB struck for a run in the bottom of the first, but two more runs in the top of the second gave Kent State a 6-1 lead.
The Bulls began the bottom of the second with six straight batters reaching base. With the bases loaded and one out, sophomore Holly Luciano belted a grand slam home run over the center field wall, pulling the Bulls within 6-5. Kent State added a run in the fifth that Buffalo answered, scoring on a ground out in the sixth. The Golden Flashes added another run in the top of the seventh, taking an 8-6 lead.
Freshman Nora McGuire worked out a leadoff walk for the Bulls and sophomore Kelli Gleiser came on as pinch runner with senior Kristin Waldron at the plate. However, it didn't matter who was on the base path as Waldron drilled a two-run home run to right center, tying the game up. The Bulls put two runs on in the bottom of the eighth, but neither team was able to score, sending the game to the ninth.
Kent State scored three runs in the top of the ninth, but the Bulls weren't finished yet. Waldron and Luciano both singled to start the inning and Waldron came in to score on a single to right field from freshman Alexis Curtiss. Following a pair of strikeouts, sophomore Tori Pettine singled to right field, scoring a pair of runs and tying the game up at 11-11. Kent State continued to use the long ball in the 10th as it hit three solo home runs to take a 14-11 lead. The Bulls were unable to answer in the bottom half of the inning.
Speckman picked up the loss as she went 9.2 innings, allowing all 14 runs. She struck out six batters on the day. Curtiss and Waldron each went 4-for-6 from the plate, while Pettine went 3-for-4 with a walk and Luciano went 3-for-7 with four runs batted in. Junior Caitlin Dekker, Pettine and Waldron each had two runs batted in.
In game two, the Golden Flashes again put up four runs in the top of the first, this time against starting pitcher Holly Johnson. Kent State went up 5-0 before Buffalo struck for two in the bottom of the third. UB loaded the bases in the inning with one out and junior Andi Saucier singled to center field, driving in Waldron and Pettine. Kent State answered with one in the top of the fourth, chasing Johnson from the game. Fellow senior Haylee Land came on in relief for the second time on the day. Buffalo added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth as junior Alyssa Ward scored on a wild pitch and Curtiss came in to score on a sacrifice fly from Pettine.
Kent State added three runs in the top of the fifth to go up 9-4. Buffalo added a run in the bottom of the sixth and one more in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to get any closer.
Johnson picked up the loss, while Land allowed just two hits in 3.2 innings of relief, despite allowing three runs. Pettine went 2-for-3 in the second game with two runs batted in. Seven of the nine position players had hits in the game. The Bulls finished the day with 28 runners left on base, 14 in each game.
Buffalo returns to action on Tuesday afternoon when they host St. Bonaventure at 4:00 pm.