BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Miami University baseball team took every blow Buffalo had the last two days.
Despite some impressive comeback efforts by the Bulls, it was the RedHawks who emerged victorious twice when the dust settled on Saturday. Miami finished off Friday’s rain delayed opener with a 9-8 win in extra innings before holding on to a 9-7 victory in the regular scheduled game immediately afterwards.
Those victories improve the RedHawks to 25-25 overall and 14-9 in the Mid-American Conference. This is the first time MU has been .500 since it was 10-10 and its league ledger ties it with Kent State for first place in the MAC East.
“We found the bats so far this weekend to pick up a couple wins,” Miami head coach Danny Hayden said. “The conditions were very hitter friendly, which helped us break out offensively. The ball really carried with the wind, which made the big innings more nerve wracking.”
Miami 9, Bufallo 8 (11 innings)
After watching an 8-3 lead evaporate in the ninth inning on Friday, a night of rest allowed Miami to catch its breath when play resumed on Saturday. With an 8-8 tie in the top of the 11th, Matt Honchel put the Red and White back in front with an RBI single that plated Chad Sedio, who doubled with two outs in the frame. Jacob Banks was summoned out of the bullpen to hold the lead and he did just that, by leaving the tying run at second and earning his second save in as many games to give the RedHawks a series-opening win.
While not factoring in the decision, Seth Varner struck out a career-high 13 batters in eight innings of work. He pitched into the ninth and allowed five runs on seven hits while walking only one batter. That total gives him 103 this season, which is the fourth most in program history. Ryan Powers (7-3) picked up the win in relief after logging two innings and escaping a bases loaded jam in the 10th on Friday night. Banks struck out one in a scoreless 11th for his second save of the year.
Miami 9, Buffalo 7
The regularly scheduled game two began shortly after that contest and UB grabbed an early 1-0 lead thanks to three-straight one-out hits. Nick Sinay singled and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on Matt Pollock’s RBI single to give the Bulls their first lead of the series.
Buffalo proceeded to load the bases in the bottom of the second, though Nathan Williams managed to prevent the Bulls from tacking on any more runs.
UB starter Anthony Magovney set down the first seven MU batters he faced. John Crummy put an end to that when he belted his first home run of the season to even the score at 1-1 in the top of the third. The RedHawks loaded the bases with two away in the frame, but Magovney ended the inning on a flyout.
After Williams retired the side in order in the bottom of the third, the RedHawks went back to playing long ball in the fourth. Sedio turned on a 3-1 offering and blasted it over the right field wall for his first collegiate home run. His solo shot to start the fourth put Miami on top by a 2-1 count.
The RedHawks tacked on two more runs in the fifth thanks to back-to-back RBI singles out of Gary Russo and Sedio that put them up 4-1. The Bulls did answer with a run in the bottom of the frame. Sinay led off with a triple and touched home on a wild pitch from Williams. MU responded with two more runs in the sixth, belting three doubles in the process. Crummy started the onslaught with a two-bagger and Sada’s gap shot brought him home. After another out, Dan Walsh cracked another RBI double to bring Sada around and make it a 6-2 ballgame.
Miami continued to pour in runs in the seventh. Russo led off the frame with a walk, but was thrown out at home trying to score on Honchel’s double. Scott Slappey did bring a run by slipping an RBI single through the left side. Crummy cranked out another double to the left center field gap that extended MU’s lead to 8-2.
The Bulls crawled closer in the bottom of the seventh. Jimmy Topps and Sinay both doubled to start the frame, with the first two-bagger ending Williams’ afternoon. Brad Schwartz came out of the pen and another runner reached after a strikeout followed by a wild pitch. A fielder’s choice groundout by Tyler Mautner cut the RedHawks’ lead to 8-4, but Schwartz got through the order by inducing a lineout and a fly out to end the threat.
A two-out error by Miami opened the flood gates for a Buffalo rally in the eighth. The miscue brought the top of UB’s order back to the plate. Topps sliced a triple down the right field line that scored a run. Consecutive walks to Sinay and Pollock loaded the bases. Mautner then doubled home two more unearned runs to pull the Bulls within 8-7.
With two away, Miami summoned Ryan Marske out of the bullpen. The lefty dispatched Vinny Mallaro with a groundout to keep the Red and White’s lead intact.
Sedio opened the ninth by belting his second home run of the day to extend the lead to 9-7, providing a bit more of a cushion for Powers in the bottom of the frame. Chris Burke started the inning by singling on the second pitch to bring the tying run to the plate. Powers quelled the comeback bid right there by fanning Mike Scarcello and ending the game by inducing a lineout double play from Chris Kwitser.
Williams (5-6) picked up his second-straight win after holding the Bulls to three runs on six hits in six innings. He fanned five batters and walked three. Powers pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first save this season. Sedio went 3-for-5 with two homers and three RBI, leading four multi-hit performances by Miami. Crummy had a solid day as well, going 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and two RBI. Sada posted 2-for-3 performance with a double of his own while Walsh went 2-for-5 with another double.
Miami and Buffalo wrap up the weekend series on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.