BUFFALO, NY - (Bisons.com) - If there ever was a case for a pitcher to earn a win and a save in the same game, Bisons fans witnessed Exhibit A on Saturday night at Coca-Cola Field.
Herd hurler Mike O'Connor was absolutely brilliant in relief as he led the Bisons past the Pawtucket Red Sox, 5-4, in game one of a rain-shortened doubleheader. Game two was postponed because of the inclement weather and will be made up on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.
O'Connor sprung the Bisons free from a bases-loaded, no-out jam and kept on getting outs. The southpaw threw 3.2 innings of work and struck out six batters.
Three of the Ks came in the fourth inning in an impressive display of dominance. O'Connor entered the game with the sacks packed and Buffalo nursing a 5-4 lead. He struck out Josh Reddick on five pitches and got Jack Hannahan swinging on six offerings for a second out. O'Connor provided the final touch to his masterpiece with a strikeout of Bubba Bell to end the threat.
O'Connor worked all the way into the seventh inning, finally yielding to Yhency Brazoban with two outs. The Herd's newest reliever got Mark Wagner to line out to end the game and earn his first save with the team.
O'Connor's six strikeouts were the most for a Bisons reliever since Kyle Snyder fanned seven on May 26, 2009 against Lehigh Valley. With the win, the southpaw is now 4-1 with a 2.51ERA.
The Bisons built a 5-0 lead early on the strength of Nick Evan's two-run home run in the first inning and six consecutive singles in the second. Jesus Feliciano and Michael Barrett drove home runs in the team's second rallly.
Fernando Nieve started for the Bisons and allowed four runs in three-plus innings of work.
BISONS NOTES: Jesus Feliciano finished the game 2-3 with a run scored. He is now hitting .342 on the season...Nick Evans has homered in back-to-back games and now has 21 blasts this season between Double-A Binghamton and the Bisons...Including 2009, the Bisons are 9-0 in games Fernando Nieve starts.