AVON, OH – No. 7 seed Toledo took out No. 2 seed Buffalo, 4-1, on Friday evening in the consolation round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium. With the win, the Rockets improve to 24-32 on the season.
UT will now play No. 6 seed Bowling Green on Saturday, May 25 at approximately 12:30 p.m. The Falcons defeated the Midnight Blue & Gold earlier today by a score of 4-3. The Rockets will need to dispose of their arch rivals on two occasions tomorrow to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
Junior RHP Cameron Palmer (4-5) was simply superb on the hill for the Rockets to earn tonight’s victory, allowing one run on six hits with a career-tying best eight strikeouts in 6.0 innings. Palmer stymied the UB bats and needed 125 pitches to record his fourth win on the spring.
Sophomore RHP Andrew Marra then came on in relief and retired the final nine Buffalo (33-24) batters to collect his team-high third save in 2013.
Offensively, junior CF Tyler Grogg (3-for-5, 2 RS) paced Toledo with a game-high three hits, while freshman RF Ryan Callahan (2-for-4, RBI) and freshman 3B John Martillotta (2-for-4, 2 RBI) also recorded multi-hit efforts against a trio of UB hurlers. UT also received an outstanding performance at the dish by sophomore LF Anthony Smith (1-for-2., 2 RS, BB) to move onto the fourth day in annual postseason event.
UB LHP Mike McGee (5-4) was saddled with the loss, yielding three runs (two earned) on six hits with two punchouts in 4.2 frames on work.
Toledo dodged a major bullet in the top of the first, as Buffalo had the bases loaded with only one out. UT’s Palmer worked a little magic and recorded consecutive strikeouts to stall the potential big inning.
The Bulls were presented with another golden opportunity to score in the third inning with a runner on third base and one out. UT’s Palmer dug deep one more time and tallied back-to-back punchouts to keep the game scoreless.
After being set down in order in each of the first two innings, Toledo finally solved UB’s McGee with two runs on the strength of two hits and one costly Bulls error in the third. Martillotta started the rally with a one-out RBI single up the middle. UT then had runners on first and second base with two outs when senior 1B Matt Delewski (0-for-4) hit a ground ball to third that looked as though would end the inning. Fortunately for Toledo, Bulls’ 2B Jon Mestas (0-for-4) dropped the throw on the force out and allowed Grogg to score all the way from second base.
Buffalo cut the margin in half on a RBI single off the bat of MAC Player of the Year CF Jason Kanzler (2-for-4, RBI) in the fifth.
UT quickly retaliated with one run each in the bottom of the fifth and sixth frames to set the final margin at 4-1. The Rockets took advantage of a two-out RBI double by Callahan and a run-scoring two-base hit from Martillotta to make it a three-run difference.
Toledo’s Marra did the rest from there and allowed one walk over the final three scoreless frames to setup a rematch with arch-rival Bowling Green.
The Bulls’ Kanzler led the visitors with a team-high two hits.