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Tuesday, April 4, 2017: UB makes late call to drop four sports

   Leading off today: The only way the University at Buffalo could have made it any worse is if the announcement had come on April Fools' Day.

   Then again, that would have at least given all the current players and incoming recruits they'd screwed over an additional 48 hours to plot a new course athletically and academically.

   University officials announced Monday that four sports -- baseball, men's soccer, men's swimming and women's rowing -- are being discontinued in a move projected to save an estimated $2 million a year.

   Approximately 150 roster spots and a bunch of scholarship money will go away. What makes it especially tough to digest -- aside from the timing -- is that the rosters of the purged sports were dotted with former New York high school stars. Though the school's aborted marketing campaign to position UB as "New York's University" failed miserably and was discarded, the school's commitment to New York athletes (in most sports, anyway) was genuine.

   And now those opportunities are going away for many athletes. With spring signing period slated to start April 12, few if any of the displaced underclassmen and incoming recruits will be in a position to find a new school, let alone replace lost scholarship money.

   "I'd say 90 percent of scholarships have been handed out," UB baseball coach Ron Torgalski told The Buffalo News. "The kids we signed in November were kids that had been committed for a year already. It's a tough time right now because I've got 22 kids who need to go someplace and eight recruits who need to go someplace. Guys who thought they were set and excited to be a part of what we had going, their world has been turned upside down. Everybody's scrambling."

   The baseball players are getting the worst of it. How they're supposed to juggle what's left of the season with the final month of classes while cobbling together plans for the fall is anyone's guess.

   "We've got a season to play, and we're focused on winning games," Torgalski said. "But our main focus is making sure these kids have a place to go, continue to their education and play baseball."

   Second place in the raw deal competition seemingly goes to Davie Carmichael, hired in January as the new soccer coach.

   "If they had any idea this was going to happen (which I believe they did), they should have been up front to allow everyone hurt by this decision time to move forward," former UB standout Russell Cicerone wrote in a letter posted on Twitter. "Allowing coach Carmichael to recruit 11 young men is embarrassing. These 11 high school seniors with the same dreams, aspiration I had as an 18-year-old really crushes my heart."

   Perfect times two: It's not as though perfect games in softball are rare, but it's not often that we get two in one day.

   Emily Iozzino struck out 13 batters as Goshen opened its season with a 16-0 win over James I. O'Neill. Jessica Pehush drove in four runs for the Gladiators.

   Lauren Nichols of Solvay fanned 15 as the Bearcats opened their season with a 10-0 win over Syracuse. Nadea Davis drove in four runs.

   More softball: Elmira scored twice in the seventh inning to defeat defending state Class AA champion Binghamton 5-4.

   Losing pitcher Paige Rauch hit her second home run of the day in the top of the seventh to give the Patriots a 4-3 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, Emily Saltsman hit a game-tying double and came around to score following a squeeze bunt by Mariah Graham.

   Coaching moves: Steve Alvarado, who's run the school's JV program since 2012, is the new varsity basketball coach at Iona Prep. He replaces Vic Quirolo, who was dismissed after 20 seasons.

   The Gaels were 15-13 last season.

    • East Ramapo wrestling coach Ryan Kearns, who inherited a bare-bones team and turned it into a full complement of varsity, JV and modified squads, has stepped down after 10 seasons to spend more time with his family.

   "Wrestling will be there in 15 years, but my 7- and 3-year-old won't be," Kearns told The Journal News. "That's something you can't get back."

   Assistant coach Rob Preiss will take over the program.

   "No coach has ever paid their dues like coach Kearns," Tappan Zee coach Peter Dene said. "Wrestling East Ramapo used to be a day off, (but) coach Kearns took that program from nothing to a perennial winner."

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