University at Buffalo Baseball

Baseball Splits Doubleheader with Niagara

Barbato's game-winning home run gives Bulls an 8-7 win in game two

Photo of Al Barbato
Al Barbato

BUFFALO, NY - Al Barbato (Utica, NY/Proctor) smacked a solo home run to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Buffalo baseball team to an 8-7 win over Niagara in game two of a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon at Amherst Audubon Field. The Purple Eagles held on to win the first game of the twin bill, 5-4.

In game one, Niagara scored a run in the top of the first inning to quickly take a 1-0 lead. After the Purple Eagles tallied another run in the top of the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead, the Bulls tied the game when Matt Larson (Canandaigua, NY/Pomona) stroked a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning. Niagara answered with two runs in the top of the fifth inning and a run in the top of the sixth inning to regain a 5-2 lead. In the last of the seventh inning, Andrew Wengert (Utica, NY/Proctor) hit a sacrifice fly that scored Barbato and James Kingsley (Medina, NY/Medina) singled home Joe Mihalics (Tonawanda, NY/Timon/St. Jude) to cut the lead to 5-4. However, the Bulls would get no closer and dropped the opening game to the Purple Eagles.

Joe Welch (Endicott, NY/Union-Endicott) was charged with the loss after allowing two runs in only one-third of an inning pitched. Ryan Virtue picked up the win for Niagara.

Niagara got off to a similar start in game two as it scored a run in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. After hitting a triple in the bottom of the first, Mihalics scored on an RBI groundout by Wengert to tie the game, 1-1. The Bulls took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Dan Quinn (Hamburg, NY/Frontier) drove home Steve Legrett (Canandaigua, NY/Canandaigua) via a sacrifice fly. The Purple Eagles scored three runs in the top of the third inning to regain a 4-2 advantage. The key blow was a two-run triple by Mike Alati.

In the bottom of the third, an RBI single by Wengert scored Barbato to cut the lead to 4-3. After Niagara added a run in the top of the fourth inning to take a 5-3 lead, the Bulls notched three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Mihalics and a two-run base knock by Kingsley. Niagara scored twice in the top of the sixth inning to regain a 7-6 lead. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Mihalics hit his second triple of the game and later scored on an RBI groundout by Wengert that tied the game, 7-7, and sent it to extra innings. Barbato led off the bottom of the ninth inning with his first career home run that won it for the Bulls.

Dave Brozyna (Buffalo, NY/Hutch-Tech) picked up his second win of the season in relief for UB while Kyle Nicoletta took the loss.

Buffalo is now 6-18 on the season. Niagara is 8-14 on the year. The Bulls will next host Bowling Green in a three-game series beginning on Friday at Amherst Audubon Field.

04/07/2004
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