Picked to finish last in the Mid-American Conference preseason softball poll, the University at Buffalo team went all the way to the conference championship game before its season ended with a 4-0 loss to Ohio University in Akron on Saturday. It wrapped up the most successful season in the sport at UB with a 30-22 record, only its second winning season in Division I.
Ohio’s Savannah Jo Dorsey kept the Bulls off the board for a second straight game as she earned Tournament MVP honors. The Bulls left seven runners on base. The Bobcats scored a run in the second when UB’s Tori Speckman issued a bases-loaded walk and scored three in the fifth.
UB advanced to the championship game with a 7-2 victory over Northern Illinois earlier Saturday. The Bulls scored six times in the third inning. Sophomore Ryleigh Fitzgerald led off the inning with a triple and singled in the frame. Alexis Curtiss had a two-run triple in the big inning and Heather Ryder a two-run single.
The Bulls placed three on the All-Tournament team as Speckman, Curtiss and Hayley Barrow were honored.
Besides winning its first MAC East Division title, UB set season records for batting average (.266), hits (367), doubles (71), triples (12), home runs (34), runs (236) and runs batted-in (208).
“I am so proud of this team,” said UB coach Trena Peel. “They embraced the change and made UB softball relevant.”
BASEBALL: Canisius (33-14, 16-4) strengthened its hold on first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and extended it win streak to 11 games, sweeping a doubleheader at Niagara, 8-1, behind the pitching of Rohn Pierce and Mike Tolsma and 5-4 in the seven-inning nightcap. Connor Panas went 5 for 9 with a triple and four runs scored for the Golden Griffins.
UB lost, 9-8, in 11 innings to Miami (Ohio) in the continuation of a game suspended from Friday then fell to the RedHawks, 9-7, in Saturday’s regularly scheduled game at Amherst Audubon Field. The Bulls (23-21, 12-10 MAC) trail Miami by 1ø games in the MAC standings.