News Staff Report
The University at Buffalo baseball program won its Mid-American Conference tournament opener for the first time Wednesday morning in the opening game of this year's tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio.
Sixth-seeded UB (25-24) knocked off third-seeded Miami (Ohio), 6-5, thanks to 15 hits against a Miami team (29-26) which won the MAC East title in the regular season. It is the first time in three attempts that UB has won its MAC opener.
Senior Kevin Hughes, a Starpoint graduate, pitched into the ninth to earn his fifth win. Hughes, a sixth-year senior, struck out six and walked one during a 126-pitch effort.
All nine UB batters had at least one hit, with senior Mike Burke going 3-for-5 and senior Thomas Richards, sophomore Kyle Brennan and freshman Brian Dudek (St. Mary's/Lanc.) each adding two. The lower part of the UB lineup (Nos. 5-9) had 10 of the team's 15 hits.
UB advances in the winner's bracket of the double-elimination tournament and will play at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Bulls' opponent will be either second-seeded Central Michigan (Bulls were 1-2 against the Chippewas in the regular season) or seventh-seeded Akron (Bulls swept the Zips, 3-0). CMU and Akron play at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
UB rebounded from Miami's two-run first inning to take a 5-2 lead through 4-1/2 innings against Miami left-hander Seth Varner, who earned conference Pitcher of the Year honors after striking out 111 batters in 97.1 innings and notching seven wins in the regular season.
Varner struck out the side in the first, but UB tied the game on RBI singles by senior Jimmy Topps and sophomore Nick Sinay in the second. In the third, a bases-loaded chopper by senior Mike Scarcello (Bishop Timon-St. Jude) drove in two for a 4-2 lead. Brennan added a home run, his second of the season, over the left field fence in the fifth for UB's 5-2 lead.
Miami cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth and UB would take that lead to the ninth.
UB got a key insurance run for a 6-4 lead when sophomore Tyler Mautner doubled with one out and was driven in on a two-out single by Richards.
Miami cut the lead to one on a sacrifice fly against redshirt freshman Mike Kaelin (Maryvale), who relieved Hughes with one out. With the tying run on base, Kaelin got a fly ball to end the game.
taggedMid-American Conference | University at Buffalo