Ironically, baseball at the University at Buffalo ended Saturday on the same site that the first NCAA championship was decided in 1947, two years before the sport was initiated at UB.
The Bulls were swept in a doubleheader with Western Michigan, 7-2 and 7-3, in Robert J. Bobb Stadium at Hyames Field in Kalamazoo, Mich., to bring down the final season of the sport at UB.
Hyames, where Yale and the University of California played a best-of-three series to decide the first official college champion in 1947, is where UB’s last hopes to extend its final season died.
UB needed two wins or a win and a Toledo loss to wrap up a place in the Mid-American Conference playoffs and delay the end of the season in a sport that the university announced several weeks ago will be dropped. However, Toledo won its game at Eastern Michigan, 6-5, and the Bulls were eliminated by the loss in the opener.
The Broncos scored in the opening inning on a two-run double by Nate Grys and never trailed. Four runs in the sixth made it 7-1. Brian Dudek singled home a UB run in the second, and Chris Kwitzer’s single sent home another in the ninth. UB had 10 hits but struck out 10 times and left 12 runners.
The 1947 Yale-California series at Hyames 60 years ago featured future president George H.W. Bush at first base for the Bulldogs while future major leaguer slugger and star Cal running back Jackie Jensen was in the lineup for the Golden Bears in the East-West playoff. California won the series, 2-0. Yale and Southern California played for the title at Hyames again in 1948 before the tournament was moved to Wichita, Kan., and then on to Omaha, Neb. where it has remained as the College World Series.
Varsity baseball at UB was played from 1949 to 1987 and then from 2000 to this year. Under coach Jim Peele UB went 16-1 in 1967. Under Peele and his successor Bill Monkarsh, UB teams advanced to NCAA or ECAC postseason play eight times between 1963 and 1980 -- twice to the NCAA College Division playoffs (1963, 1964), twice to the NCAA District 2 playoffs (1971, 1973) and four times to the ECAC playoffs which used to determine which Eastern team went to Omaha. Most of the time with local athletes.
The late Brian Hansen, the NCAA batting champion, was the first UB player to be drafted by the major leagues. Pitcher Joe Hesketh was the first UB player to reach the big leagues.
Bengals bound for NCAA meet
Buffalo State will send both its men's and women's 4x100 relay teams and defending triple-jump champion Benjamin Ezike to the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Avon, Ohio, next weekend. The men's relay of Robert Liebel (Tonawanda), Phil Giuga (Tonawanda), Cody Sikor (North Tonawanda) and Mohamed Kouyate is seeded 10th with a season-best time of 3:14.17. Ezike won the triple jump last season as a junior. He enters this year's meet with a seventh-best in the nation jump of 47 feet, 11 inches.
The Bengals' women's relay includes Satin Holmes, Catarra Burroughs and Keanne McKnight. They have the seventh best time of 47.11 among the 16 in the event.