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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bulls baseball walks off with 6-5 weekend finale victory over Ball State

All WNY News     Sunday, April 23, 2017    

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BUFFALO -- Senior third baseman Chris Kwitzer delivered a single to right field to score Phillip Tomasulo and give the University at Buffalo baseball team (12-24, 4-8 MAC) the 6-5 walk-off victory on Sunday afternoon at Amherst Audobon Field over the Ball State Cardinals. Kwitzer went 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI as the Bulls snapped Ball State's nine-game winning streak.

Logan Harasta closed out the top of the ninth inning with a strikeout to give UB an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth with the score knotted, 5-5. After Alex Thrower was thrown out at second base trying to stretch a single into a double, Tomasulo and Ben Haefner hit back-to-back singles and Vinny Mallaro was walked to bring up Kwitzer with the bases loaded and the game on the line. Kwitzer dug in and wasted no time, sending the first pitch into deep right field for a single that scored Tomasulo for the walk-off win, 6-5.

The Ball State Cardinals were able to score two runs in the top half of the first inning but UB was able to respond with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. After Alex Thrower notched a bunt single and Tomasulo was hit by a pitch, Haefner delivered an RBI double into the right field corner to make the score 2-1 in favor of Ball State.

Shawn Dubin put together back-to-back scoreless innings before the Buffalo offense was able to take the lead in the bottom of the third. Tomasulo and Haefner notched back-to-back singles before Vinny Mallaro smashed a 3-run home run to deep left center field to give UB the 4-2 lead. The home run was Mallaro's fifth homer in his last six games.

Ball State made it 4-3 in favor of the Bulls in the fourth as they produced a run before they took the 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning. The Cardinals collected a single and back-to-back doubles to score a pair of runs in the fifth before UB got the final out of inning on an attempted steal of home base, Haefner made a perfect throw to home plate where Kyle Brennan placed the tag on the would-be run scorer.

After a pair of scoreless innings by Harasta, the Bulls were able to knot the game, 5-5, in the bottom of the seventh inning. Haefner ripped a double to right field before coming around to score on an RBI single to left field off the bat of Mallaro, his fourth RBI of the game.

Harasta made quick work of the Cardinals in the eighth inning before working around a leadoff walk in the ninth to give UB the chance to win on the walk-off. The UB offense was able to produce their first walk-off win of the season in the bottom of the ninth for their fourth MAC win of the season.

Mallaro stayed hot at the plate for the Bulls on Sunday as he finished off his game going 2-for-3 with a home run, four RBI, a run and two intentional walks. The senior has now connected on a team-best six home runs on the season while notching five home runs and 18 RBI over his last six games. Each of Mallaro's last five homers have been 3-run home runs. He is now tied for second in program history for RBI in a career (137) while ranking fourth in program history in home runs with 24.

Haefner continued his recent strong play at the dish for the Bulls as he finished the game going 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI as he now has 11 multi-hit games on the season. Over his last six games, Haefner is batting .625 with a home run, 10 RBI and 12 runs while slugging .833 with a .690 on base percentage.

Kwitzer finished off his afternoon going 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI as he raised his team-leading batting average to .357 on the season with 18 RBI and 16 runs scored. Tomasulo finished off his game going 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Alex Thrower went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk.

After Dubin allowed eight hits, five runs and struck out six batters in 4.1 innings, Harasta produced 4.2 innings of two-hit ball while striking out three batters in his first win of the season.

The Bulls will return to Amherst Audobon Field on Tuesday afternoon for a doubleheader against Big 4 foe St. Bonaventure. The first game of the doubleheader will start at 2:00 pm.

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