OXFORD, OH – Behind a career-high 11 strikeouts by junior Shawn Dubin in the first game of a doubleheader, the University at Buffalo baseball team (16-27, 8-10 MAC) split a Sunday doubleheader on the road at Miami (OH) to give UB the 2-1 series victory over the RedHawks. Dubin earned his fifth win of the season as he notched 11 strikeouts in the Bulls 1-0 victory before Miami came back and earned the 5-3 victory in the series finale.
The 11-strikeout performance by Dubin was the most strikeouts in a single game for the Bulls since Brent Cleland struckout 12 Kent State batters in 2014. Dubin has now notched 20 strikeouts over his last 12 innings of work for the Bulls as he is at the top of his game heading down the stretch of the regular season.
GAME ONE – BUFFALO 1, Miami (OH) 0
The Bulls looked poised to take another early lead on the RedHawks in the first inning as they were able to load the bases with two outs. Phillip Tomasulo started the rally with a single to center field before Ben Haefner and Chris Kwitzer each earned walks to load the bases full of Bulls. Kyle Brennan then stepped in but wasn't able to produce the first runs of the game as he struck out swinging.
The RedHawks responded quickly in the bottom of the first inning as they loaded the bases themselves with one out. Shawn Dubin then dug in and notched back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the inning without any harm. Dubin got the first batter looking before striking out Brooks Urich swinging to end the threat.
After Miami (OH) starter Zach Spears struck out the side in the top of the second inning, Dubin matched that effort as he struck out three RedHawks swinging in the inning to send the game to the third, still scoreless.
The two pitchers struck out a combined four batters in the third inning as the game went to the fourth still scoreless.
The Bulls threatened to strike first in the fifth inning as Eddie Edwards III earned a walk and Alex Thrower notched an infield single to the pitcher. After a Tomasulo sacrifice bunt, Haefner earned a walk to load the bases with one out but Vinny Mallaro and Kwitzer each struck out to end the inning.
Dubin was again tested in the bottom of the fifth inning as the RedHawks opened the inning with back-to-back singles before a sacrifice bunt gave the home team runners at second and third with just one out. The righty dug in and delivered two more strikeouts to end the threat in the fifth and send the game to the sixth knotted, 0-0.
After a quick sixth inning, the Bulls finally broke through with the lone run of the game in the seventh inning. The first two batters recorded outs before Tomasulo singled through the right side and came around to score on an RBI double to deep right center by Haefner for the game-winning run.
Ben Vey replaced Dubin in the bottom of the seventh and forced a double play to end the threat before striking out the side in the eighth to send the game to the last inning with UB leading 1-0.
Logan Harasta entered the game in the ninth and was able to notch his career-best sixth save of the season as he induced an inning-ending double play to secure the 1-0 series clinching victory for the Bulls.
Pitching was the story of the game for the Bulls as for the second straight outing, Dubin was dominant on the mound. The junior finished off his afternoon going 6.0 innings while allowing just three hits and no runs while striking out a career-best 11 batters. Dubin improved to 5-2 overall on the season while lowering his ERA to 5.10 as he has notched a team-high 61 strikeouts in 60 innings of work.
The Bulls offense was only able to put together four hits on the afternoon but that was enough to clinch the series as Tomasulo led the way going 2-for-2 with a run scored and a walk. Haefner was able to go 1-for-1 with the game-winning RBI and two walks while Thrower collected the only other UB hit.
Miami pitcher Zach Spears finished off his impressive afternoon going 5.0 innings while allowing two hits, seven walks and striking out 11 in the loss. The RedHawks were limited to just five hits in the losing effort.
GAME TWO – BUFFALO 3, Miami (OH) 5
Game two started off much quicker for the Miami offense as they were able to put up two runs in the first inning off of Buffalo starter Brent Cleland. After getting the first two outs of the inning, Cleland gave up a single and back-to-back doubles as the RedHawks took the 2-0 lead over UB.
After a scoreless second inning, the Bulls were able to get on the board in the third inning as Mallaro doubled to deep left center field to plate Haefner from first after he was hit by a pitch. The Bulls stranded Mallaro on second as the score was 2-1 in favor of the home team entering the bottom of the third.
Miami regained their two-run lead, 3-1, in the bottom of the third as Ross Haffey crushed a solo home run to deep left center field.
The RedHawks were able to add a run in the fifth and sixth to extend their lead out to 5-2 through six innings, forcing Cleland from the mound in favor of Greg Dunham out of the bullpen.
After a scoreless seventh inning, the Bulls threatened to get back into the game in the top of the eighth inning. Haefner walked and Mallaro singled to force a pitching change for the RedHawks. Kwitzer then singled into right field to plate Haefner and make the score 5-3 in favor of Miami. With runners on second and third and no outs, the Bulls saw three straight batters strikeout to end the threat and head to the final inning trailing by two.
Thrower and Haefner each singled in the ninth to give UB a chance for the come-from-behind victory but a strikeout ended the game, giving the RedHawks the 5-3 series finale victory.
Mallaro finished off his game going 2-for-5 with an RBI while Haefner finished his day going 1-for-2 with two runs and a walk. Haefner has now reached base safely in 14 straight games for the Bulls, longest streak on the team right now and fourth longest all season. Thrower collected his ninth multi-hit game of the season as he went 2-for-5 while Dudek earned two walks and scored a run in the loss.
The Bulls will return to the diamond on Tuesday afternoon as they head to Niagara to take on the Purple Eagles at 3:00 pm. UB will welcome the Ohio Bobcats next weekend for the final home series of the season.