HAMPTON, VA – The University at Buffalo softball team (5-7, 0-0 MAC) collected their fourth straight win on Sunday morning to cap an unblemished 4-0 weekend at the Hampton Classic. The Bulls were able to end their weekend on a high note as they earned the come-from-behind 9-6 victory over Youngstown State behind a three-run sixth inning.
The win for Buffalo gives them their first four-game winning streak since 2016 when the Bulls were able to win five straight. It only took the Bulls 12 games to win their fifth game of the season as last season it took the Bulls until the 30th game of the season to collect their fifth win.
The Penguins were able to jump out to the quick 3-0 lead in the first inning as the first two batters of the game were able to reach base and Nikki Saibene delivered with a three-run home run to right center field. Buffalo starting pitcher Lace Smith then settled down and got out of the inning with a strikeout and a fly out.
The Bulls responded with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning as Jenelle Martinez and Jessica Goldyn each singled before Ufuoma Ogagan delivered a two-RBI triple to left center field to make the score 3-2 in favor of Youngstown State.
Youngstown State responded quickly in the third inning as they scored a pair of runs to take the 5-2 lead. The Penguins led off the inning with a bunt single and Maddi Lusk was able to plate a pair of runs with a home run to left field.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Buffalo offense exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to give UB their first lead of the game, 6-5. Ogagan was struck by a pitch to open the inning and Danielle Lallos worked a walk before Catrell Robertson cashed in with a RBI single to right field to plate Ogagan. Martinez then stepped in and delivered another clutch hit for the Bulls, this time it was a three-run home run to left center field to plate Lallos and Kathryn Skorka and give UB the one-run lead. The home run for Martinez was her team-leading and career-best fourth homer of the season.
After a leadoff walk was issued by Smith to open the sixth inning, the Bulls were forced to go to the bullpen as Ally Power came in. Power walked the first batter she faced before giving up a single and a wild pitch to allow the Penguins to tie the game, 6-6. Power was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout to send the game to the bottom of the sixth tied.
After giving up the lead in the top half of the sixth, the Bulls were able to respond in a big way in the bottom half of the inning as they posted three runs to regain the 9-6 lead. Taylor Scott started the rally for UB with a walk before Ogagan and Leandra Jew each notched singles to load the bases for Anna Aguon. The freshman stepped in and delivered once again, shooting a single to left field to plate Scott and Ogagan and give UB the 8-6 edge. Lallos then stepped in and reached base on an error by the third baseman that allowed Jew to touch home plate and give Buffalo the three-run lead heading into the top of the seventh.
The Penguins were able to put the leadoff batter in the seventh on with a walk but Power would fight through the adversity and strikeout the very next batter. The junior then ended the game with her fourth win of the season as she recorded another strikeout and Scott was able to pick off the runner at first base who took a big secondary lead.
The Buffalo offense continued their hot start to the season as Martinez's home run was the 11th of the season for UB as they have already surpassed last season's home run total in just 12 games. The Bulls posted 10 home runs in 55 games a season ago.
Martinez led the UB offense as she went 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored as she improved her season batting average to a team-best .462. Ogagan continued her resurgence in her sophomore campaign as she went 2-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored while freshman phenom Anna Aguon went 1-for-4 with two RBI as she is now tied with Martinez for the RBI lead with 13 on the season.
In the circle, Smith didn't have her best start as she went 5.0 innings while allowing six hits and six runs while earning six strikeouts. Power came in relief of Smith and earned her fourth win of the season as she went 2.0 innings while allowing just one hit and striking out four batters.
The Bulls will return to the diamond next weekend as they head to Madeira Beach, FL for five games. Buffalo will open action on Friday as they take on La Salle at 11:00 am before playing Incarnate Word and Alabama State on Saturday followed by Northern Kentucky and Seton Hall on Sunday afternoon.