For the Bisons, the games on Sunday were as dreary as the rainy Norfolk weather.
With wet conditions at Harbor Park, the Herd lost its grip on a pair of games as the Tides swept a doubleheader. Errors cost the Bisons in a 2-1 game one defeat while a six-run bottom of the seventh from Norfolk dealt the Herd a crushing 9-8 loss in the night cap.
Instead of a possible four-game sweep to begin the season, the Bisons now find themselves 2-2 as they head for Richmond. After a four-game series with the Braves, the team will return to Buffalo to open the home portion of their 2008 schedule on Friday.
A bad day ended with a nightmarish finish in game two. Buffalo was in good shape to earn a doubleheader split with an 8-3 lead heading into the seventh and final inning. But the Tides rallied with five hits in the frame and also benefited from four walks as they sent 11 men to the plate for the game-winning rally.
Luis Terrero's double made it 8-4 while Adam Stern's sac fly closed Norfolk to within, 8-5. Omir Santos followed with an RBI-single and the lead shrunk to only two. Mike McCoy's single and Tike Redman's walk with two outs loaded the bases and finally chased Bisons reliever Edward Mujica (0-1) from the game.
Rich Rundles came on but walked the first two batters he faced to tie the score. Mike Costanzo then sent his team off a winner with an RBI-single to right field for the 9-8 victory.
Buffalo also had a 5-1 lead in the game but watched the Tides score a run in the fifth and the sixth to close to within 5-3. A two-run double by Andy Gonzalez and an RBI-two bagger from Brad Snyder in the top of the seventh built the 8-3 advantage.
The loss was even more painful as the team failed to take advantage of a great pitching performance from Jeremy Sowers in the day's first contest. The southpaw allowed just three hits and went the distance, but errors cost Buffalo a win.
With the score tied at one in the bottom of the fourth and runners on first and second, Josh Barfield threw away a potential inning-ending doubleplay. As Jordan Brown retrieved the ball, the Bisons' first baseman threw wildly to home and Terrero raced around from second base. That second run was all four Tides pitchers needed to record the team's first win of 2008.
The fourth inning was excruciating hard for the Bisons. In the top half of the frame, the team missed a golden opportunity to improve their 1-0 lead. Buffalo had the bases loaded with only one out, but Norfolk's Alberto Castillo-Betancourt struck out Barfield and got Cooper to fly out.
The Bisons had the early lead in game one as well when Ryan Mulhern singled home Barfield in the top half of the first inning. But the Herd couldn't score again and finished the game 1-12 with runners in scoring position.
BISONS NOTES: Buffalo has scored in the first inning in three of the four games this season...By starting today, Jason Cooper became the fourth Bisons position player in the Modern era to appear in five seasons with the team. He joins Russell Branyan (1997-2000, 2004, 2007), Tom Prince (1988-1992) and Zach Sorensen (2000-2004)...Jordan Brown went 2-4 with a pair of RBI in the game two loss.