“This team has to find its identity,” Bisons coach Jeff Forehand said. “We got off to a slow start. Everyone was pressing a little bit.”
Right-handed pitcher Josh Smith pitched seven scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and struck out seven. Right-hander Mike Grace closed out the game. In two innings he gave up three hits and one run while striking out one.
“Every Friday when Smitty pitches we have a different attitude,” Forehand said. “Everybody feels like we are going to be in the game. We feel like he is going to give us a good, solid start.
“Everybody was a little more relaxed. When the players see the tempo of the game going like it was for Smitty they each know they don’t have to do it all. They don’t have to play on pins and needles.”
The Bisons opened with a run in the first inning and three in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth.
Tyler Wilson and Ryan Wilkins each had two hits for the Bisons who finished with nine hits.
“We scored early,” Forehand said. “We are swinging the bats better. I really think that is going to happen for us. I really think we are good offensive team. We just haven’t shown it yet.”
Wilkins hit his first home run of the season and also added a double. He tied with Andrew Nickerson for the team lead in runs batted in with two.
Wilson, Zach Messer and Kyle Henry each had a double.
“Tyler is a good guy coming out of the leadoff spot,” Forehand said. “He led the game off with a bunt. Tyler has been setting the table. He is a threat to bunt at any time. He can drag bunt and get on base. If they play him close he can hit it by them.
“M.L. Williams has started out slow. He struck some balls hard. He is going to bounce back. He is going to get it done. When we start getting all of these guys going we are going to be alright.”
Senior right-hander Matt Bowling will get the start Saturday. Sophomore right-hander Davey Hackett will start Sunday.
The Bisons, 2-6, continue the series with Canisius, 6-2, Saturday at 2.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations