AVON LAKE, Ohio – With the season on the line, Nathan Williams took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the Miami University baseball team as it dropped a 4-0 decision to Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Friday afternoon.
The loss is the RedHawks’ second in three days to the Bulls as they finish the season with a 30-27 record.
“Nate was awesome today,” Miami head coach Danny Hayden said. “He worked around some walks, but he did everything he could to give us a chance to win. Unfortunately, we couldn’t pick him up today. This was a good season, winning 30 games and a division title, but we fell short of what our goals were. We have work to do to keep this program moving in the right direction.”
Buffalo’s (26-25) first two batters of the game reached when Jimmy Topps walked and Nick Sinay was hit to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Matt Pollock followed by hitting a ground ball to short, but he beat out the double play turn to put runners at the corners and one out. Tyler Mautner followed that by lofting a sacrifice fly to score Topps and put the Bulls ahead 1-0.
The Red and White got a runner at second thanks to a catcher’s interference and a groundout, but another groundout ended the frame. Miami threatened in the second when singles by Max Andresen and Chad Sedio put runners at first and second with one out. A fielder’s choice forced out the lead runner at third for the second out and left the inning to Steve Sada. The freshman hit the ball hard the other way, but Pollock tracked the ball down to end the frame.
From there, the pitcher’s duel really caught traction. Williams took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and had allowed only one single and a couple walks entering the eighth. He only yielded a single walk for the only base runner he allowed in that span.
A two-out double by Ryan Elble in the fifth put the tying run into scoring position for Dan Walsh. The senior third baseman lined the fifth pitch he saw the other way, but it went right into the waiting glove of his third base counterpart Chris Kwitzer to end the frame.
Another two-out scoring threat emerged for Miami in the bottom of the sixth as Andresen and Matt Honchel both singled to put runners at first and third with two away. UB starter Mike Burke once again stranded the runners by inducing a groundout to end the threat.
The Bulls finally got to Williams in the eighth. Topps led off with a double and moved to third on a bunt. With one down, Pollock pulled an RBI double down the line to up UB’s lead to 2-0. Williams’ day came to an end after a called intentional walk to Mautner. Ryan Marske came out of the pen and got Vinny Mallaro to hit a potential double play ball, but a Miami error led to another Buffalo run, making it a 3-0 ballgame. After Burke retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame, the Bulls added an insurance run in the ninth. Kyle Brennan led off the inning with a double and Brian Dudek blooped a single into right center to put Miami into a 4-0 hole.
Miami got a two-out single from Sedio to keep the contest going, but a groundout ended Miami’s season in the ninth.
Williams (5-7) took a hard luck loss for the RedHawks, allowing three runs (two earned) on only three hits in 7.1 innings. He walked four batters (one intentionally) and struck out seven. For Buffalo, Burke went the distance and allowed seven hits while striking out four batters and not walking one. Andresen, Honchel and Sedio each went 2-for-4, combining for six of MU’s seven hits.
In their first year under Hayden, the RedHawks claimed their first MAC East Division title since 2005. Hayden is the second first-year head coach to win either an outright conference or division title in Miami history.