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Big 5th Inning lifts Ball State past UB baseball, 6-5


BUFFALO -- Despite holding a 5-2 lead into the fifth inning, the University at Buffalo baseball team (11-23, 3-7 MAC) dropped their fourth straight Mid-American Conference game on Friday night in their home opener at Amherst Audobon Field to the Ball State Cardinals, 6-5. With the win, the Cardinals have now won nine straight games and seven straight MAC contests.

The Ball State Cardinals were able to get on the board in the top of the first inning as the second batter of the game, Alex Maloney, connected on a solo homer to deep left center field.

The Bulls responded quickly in the bottom of the first as they notched two runs to take the 2-1 lead. Phillip Tomasulo and Ben Haefner were hit by pitches and advanced over to third and second base on a wild pitch. Chris Kwitzer then stepped in and delivered a 2-RBI single to center field to give the Bulls the lead.

The Cardinals were able to tie the game, 2-2, in the top of the second inning as Matt Eppers scored on a Jeff Riedel single to left field.

After Charlie Sobieraski got out of the third inning without letting up a run, the Bulls were able to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Tomasulo and Haefner each notched singles before Vinny Mallaro dug in and delivered a huge 3-run home run to deep left center field, giving UB the 5-2 lead. The home run was Mallaro's team-leading fifth of the season and the 23rd of his impressive UB career.

Sobieraski was able to strike out a pair of Cardinals in the top of the fourth but the Bulls weren't able to add to their lead in the inning.

The fifth inning struck and the Cardinals finally broke through on Sobieraski as they touched him up for four runs as they took the 6-5 lead. The Cardinals collected an RBI single, a 2-RBI triple and a sacrifice fly to take the lead and never look back.

The Buffalo offense stalled over the next four innings as they were only able to collect one hit in the ninth inning off the bat of Kyle Brennan. UB reliever Ben Vey tried to keep the Bulls in the game on the mound as he pitched great. The junior went 4.0 scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and striking out three batters in the loss.

Mallaro had the big blast for the Bulls as he went 1-for-4 with a 3-run home run. Over his last seven games, Mallaro is batting .333 with four home runs, 18 RBI, 10 runs scored and is slugging .917. The senior has now moved into 4th place on the all-time home runs list (23) and all-time RBI list (133).

Kwitzer continued to swing a hot bat for the Bulls as he went 1-for-4 with two RBI as he extended his season-long hitting streak to eight straight games. Haefner and Tomasulo each finished off their day going 1-for-3 with two runs scored in the loss.

The Bulls and Cardinals will return to Amherst Audobon Field on Saturday afternoon for game two of the three-game series. First pitch is set for 1:00 pm.

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