AVON, OH – A handful of team and individual records were bested Thursday morning, as the Bulls (33-23) blew out Northern Illinois (22-34) with a season-high 13 runs in a 13-0 win. Mike Burke threw his third shutout of the season to tie the all-time record, and Jason Kanzler drove in three runs to claim the single-season RBI record to highlight a big day all around for UB.
With the win, the team also sits in sole possession of the program's single season win mark, breaking a tie with the 1980 team.
After upsets in both games of the right side of the bracket, the Bulls found themselves in the unenviable position of facing the third-seeded Huskies in an elimination game. Northern lost 6-4 in extra innings earlier in the day on Wednesday, and came out flat against Buffalo ace Mike Burke. The right hander was rarely in trouble, striking out six batters and allowing just four hits all day to face just six over the minimum for the game. It stands as his eighth win of the season, giving him sole possession of second place for the all-time single season win record, with the shutout record also coming in tow. He also became the first Buffalo pitcher to ever eclipse the century mark for innings in a season, surpassing Cameron Copping’s record of 98 from last season.
With their ace on point right from the jump, the Buffalo offense enjoyed its best day of the season with the 13 runs. After plating 10 in a loss against Toledo, UB proved it wasn’t a fluke and put together a pair of five-run innings and at least one run in every inning after the fifth.
Ryan Tulloch started the offense off in the first with a single that drove in Jason Kanzler to make it 1-0. After threatening for much of the early part of the game, though, it was still just a 1-0 game heading into the bottom of the fifth before the game would be broken open thanks to 10 Bulls coming to the plate and five runs coming across.
Alex Baldock started things off with a solo home run to lead off the inning, his third of the season. Tulloch then hit a one-out double to right field that bounced over the wall. He would score on a single by Jon Mestas, who then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch during Kyle Figgins’ at where he would eventually draw the walk. With two outs, Mike Scarcello laid down a perfect safety squeeze, beating it out for the single and allowed Mestas to score from third on a delayed run. Jimmy Topps extended the inning after getting hit by the pitch, loading up the bases. Two runs would then come home as Kanzler fought off a pitch and took it down the right field line for a two-run double and a 6-0 game.
Single runs would come via the long ball in the sixth and seventh, with solo home runs from Mestas and Kanzler to extend the lead. Kanzler’s home run was the 12th of the season, moving him to second for a single season and gave him the single season RBI record, passing Tom Murphy’s 2012 total.
The final five runs came in the eighth as Northern Illinois turned to the deeper parts of its bullpen. Despite just one hit, five UB runs came in thanks to three walks, a hit by pitch, and a two-run double from Topps. Burke came on in the top of the ninth and set the Huskies down in order to close out the big win.
The Bulls will play tomorrow at 12:30, facing the loser of the Toledo/Bowling Green game. Should the Bulls win, they would then face the winner of the aforementioned game. Tune in for live audio through BuffaloBulls.com.