ROCHESTER -- Behind a pair of strong pitching performances by the Buffalo starting pitchers, the University at Buffalo baseball team (10-17, 3-3 MAC) was able to split a Sunday doubleheader with the Northern Illinois Huskies at Monroe Community College. The Bulls fell 2-1 in the first game before coming back with a 3-1 win over the Huskies in the second game of the day.
Game #1: UB, 1 - Northern Illinois, 2
Buffalo starter Charlie Sobieraski had one of his better starts of the season on Sunday as he was able to go 6.0 innings while allowing six hits, two earned runs and striking out three batters in the tough loss.
The Huskies broke through with their lone two runs in the top of the third inning off of Sobieraski as Tommy Hook opened the inning with a single before coming around to score on Tommy Szczasny's double. Szczasny then was able to score to give NIU the 2-0 lead.
Buffalo responded with their lone run of the game in the bottom of the third inning as Brian Dudek earned a walk and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch before Vinny Mallaro delivered a RBI single to center to plate Dudek.
Logan Harasta came in from the bullpen in the seventh inning and was able to shut the Huskies down as he went 3.0 innings while allowing no hits and striking out four batters to give UB a chance to tie the game.
UB had their best chance to tie the game in the eighth inning as Chris Kwitzer reached first on an error before Kyle Brennan doubled to deep right center, moving Kwitzer to third. Connor Regan had a chance to tie or give UB the lead with runners in scoring position but he wasn't able to produce as he grounded out to third.
Mallaro continued to swing a hot bat for UB in the loss as he went 2-for-4 with a RBI while Alex Thrower finished off his day going 2-for-5. Dudek was able to go 1-for-3 with a run scored and two walks in the loss for UB.
Game #2: UB, 3 - Northern Illinois, 1
The Buffalo pitching staff continued to dominate the Northern Illinois lineup in the second game of the doubleheader on Sunday afternoon as junior Brent Cleland was able to pick up the win as he went 8.0 innings and allowed just one run and five hits while striking out three batters. Ben Vey then came in and collected his second save of the weekend as he pitched a perfect ninth inning while striking out a batter in the Bulls victory.
After a pair of scoreless innings by both teams, the Bulls were able to break through with the first runs of the game in the third inning. Brian Wasilewski opened the inning with a single before coming around to score on a Kyle Brennan RBI double to right center field. UB then had a pair of outs before Dudek singled to center to score Brennan from second and give UB the 2-0 lead.
Chris Kwitzer then single-handily added to the Bulls lead in the fourth inning as he led off the inning with a solo homer to deep right field, his team-leading third bomb of the season.
The Huskies were able to break through with their lone run of the game as they notched a triple and a walk before catching the Bulls sleeping with a double steal, allowing Barger to score the first NIU run as he swiped home.
After allowing a run in the fifth, Cleland was able to refocus and keep the Huskies scoreless over the next three innings as the Bulls held the 3-1 edge entering the ninth and final inning. With the save opportunity looming for the second time in three games, Vey came through and set the Huskies down in order in the ninth.
Kwitzer was able to go 1-for-4 with his third homer of the season and a RBI while Brennan went 2-for-3 with a RBI in the series clinching victory. Wasilewski had a solid day at the plate as he went 2-for-3 with a run while Ben Haefner notched a multi-hit game going 2-for-4.
Cleland improved to 2-2 on the season as he allowed just five hits and one run on the afternoon. Vey notched his team-leading third save of the season in the win.
The Bulls will return to the field on Tuesday afternoon as they head to Big 4 foe Canisius for a 3 p.m. game at Demske Sports Complex. UB will then welcome the Golden Griffins to Amherst Audobon Field on Wednesday for a 3 p.m. game.