MACON, GA – The University at Buffalo softball team opened up their 2018 with a pair of defeats at the Mercer Invitational on Friday afternoon. UB fell by the score of 9-3 in the opening game of the season against Morehead State before dropping a 10-6 contest to the host Mercer Bears in the final game of the afternoon.
"We are happy to finally get outside and play," stated first-year head coach Mike Roberts. "We have a few things to smooth out, but we're working the process right now. We'll bounce back tomorrow."
In the first game of the season, the Bulls were able to get out to a quick start as they took the 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Leandra Jew led things off with a single down the right field line before coming around to score as freshman Anna Aguon recorded an infield single to second base, her first career RBI.
After a scoreless second inning, the Eagles were able to tie the game, 1-1, as the Bulls committed an error when trying to throw out a baserunner at second base on a steal attempt. The throw went into center field and the Eagles saw a runner touch home for an unearned run against UB pitcher Ally Power.
The Bulls bats came alive in the top of the fourth inning as they were able to take the 3-1 lead behind a pair of solo home runs. Aguon started things off with her first career homer to deep left field before Jenelle Martinez connected on her first home run of the season to left center.
Morehead State was able to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning as they worked a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game, 3-3. They wasted no time taking their first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth as they connected on three home runs and a RBI single to take the commanding 9-3 lead and eventual win.
Aguon was able to go 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI in her first collegiate game while Martinez finished off her afternoon going 2-for-3 with a home run and RBI in the loss. Jew had a strong game in the leadoff spot as she went 2-for-3 with a run and a hit by pitch.
In the second game of the afternoon, the Bulls were able to gather the 6-3 lead over Mercer after a pair of home runs but the hosts were able to score the final seven runs of the game to earn the come-from-behind 10-6 victory.
The Bulls were able to get on the board in the first inning once again as Jew led things off with a single into center before moving over to second after a foul out by Jessica Goldyn. Aguon and Alissa Karjel worked walks to load the bases and Martinez produced with a two-RBI single to right field to give the Bulls the early 2-0 lead.
The Bears came back in the bottom of the first inning with a run of their own as a leadoff single by Meghan Rud turned into a run after another throwing error by the Bulls, making the score 2-1 in favor of UB through one inning of play.
After a 1-2-3 top of the second inning by the Bulls, the Bears were able to take the 3-2 lead through two innings as Rud singled to left field to score a pair of runs off UB starting pitcher Lace Smith.
Buffalo wasted no time taking the lead right back from the Bears in the top of the third inning as Danielle Lallos started things off with a double down the left field line and Aguon singled through the left side to give UB runners on the corners with one out. Karjel then dug in and connected on a three-run home run to deep left field, her first home run as a Bull. Martinez then stepped in and delivered her second solo home run of the day as she launched one over the left center field wall to give UB the 6-3 lead through three innings.
Lace Smith battled through a leadoff single in the fourth inning to send the game to the fifth with the Bulls clinging to the 6-3 lead. The Bears got to Smith in the bottom of the fifth inning as they notched back-to-back home runs to make the score 6-6 heading into the sixth inning.
The Bears blew the game open in the bottom half of the sixth inning as they were able to score four runs on three different Buffalo pitchers to take the 10-6 lead into the final inning.
Jessica Goldyn opened the top of the seventh inning with a single up the middle and was able to move over to second base after a fielding error by the center fielder to give UB a runner in scoring position. Lallos then dug in and singled up the middle to give the Bulls runners on the corners with no outs in the final inning. Aguon was able to move Lallos over the second base with a flyout to center to give the Bulls two runners in scoring position but they weren't able to take advantage as they fell 10-6.
Marinez led the UB offense in the second game of the day as she went 2-for-4 at the dish with a home run and three RBI while Karjel finished off her game going 1-for-3 with a three-run home run in the loss. Lallos was able to go 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored while Ufuoma Ogagan went 2-for-3 with a triple and stolen base.
The Bulls will return to the diamond on Saturday morning at 9:30 am as they take on Appalachian State before closing out action at 2:00 pm against the host Mercer Bears.