LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell’s game one starting pitcher Andrew Andreychik pitched a two-hit shutout and game two starter Xavier Hammond logged his first complete game to help the Bison baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of Navy Monday afternoon at sunny Depew Field. Bucknell won game one 1-0 and game two 5-2 as they captured all four games in the weekend series against the Mids.
The Bison posted their first four-game Patriot League series sweep since 2006 as they pushed their season record above .500 to 12-11-1. Bucknell, which has won five of its last six games, is now 4-0 in Patriot League play after the opening weekend of conference play. It is the best Patriot League start for the Bison since opening the 2001 conference slate 8-0.
"Every game in this league is important," noted Bucknell head coach Scott Heather. "There is not much that separates teams, so it is an advantage to get some early wins."
The Bison pitching staff was outstanding all weekend, allowing just four runs in 32 innings of work. The team ERA dropped from 4.99 to 4.30 as Navy (13-15, 0-4 PL) scored no more than two runs in any contest.
"Our pitchers pounded the zone with strikes all weekend," said Heather. "That is the recipe for success at any level. I am proud of how the guys competed."
Monday’s doubleheader was originally scheduled for Sunday, but inclement weather pushed it back a day and it was worth the wait as skies were sunny and temperatures reached into the 50s.
Andreychik, who threw his third straight shutout and extended his scoreless innings streak to 19.2, set the tone in the swift-moving game one. He posted Bucknell’s first two-hitter of at least seven innings by one pitcher since Dylan Seeley in 2010. Andreychik faced just one hitter over the minimum as a two-out single by Travis Blue in the second was wiped away by a caught stealing. The only other hit came with two outs in the sixth.
Andreychik did not walk a hitter and struck out four. He is now 3-2 on the season with a 2.45 ERA. He has just four walks in 33.0 innings, including none in his last three starts.
A right-hander, Andreychik has needed to pitch well in his recent outings as a total of two runs have been scored during his three consecutive shutouts. Bucknell’s run on Monday came early as Brett Smith led off the bottom of the first with a single to right, stole second, moved to third on a fly ball to right by Corey Furman and then scored on a sac fly by Joe Ogren.
Patriot League Preseason Pitcher of the Year Stephen Moore was nearly as strong as Andreychik for the Mids. He pitched to just three over the minimum and retired nine in a row after Smith’s leadoff single. Bucknell’s only other hits were a leadoff single in the fourth by Furman and a two-out single in the fifth by Danny Rafferty. Moore (2-3) struck out three and did not walk a batter.
The Bison again took an early lead in game two as Anthony Gingerelli drove home Furman on a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the first. Jon Mayer then scored on a wild pitch that he read well from third, making it 2-0.
Hammond allowed just two hits over the first four innings of play, but Navy finally ended its scoreless day with two runs in the fifth. Ryan Turner reached on a one-out error and Leland Saile followed with a triple deep in the right field corner. Saile then scored on a wild pitch, although Hammond’s off-balance tag almost got him.
Hammond settled right back down and the only two baserunners against him the final 4.2 innings were courtesy of errors. He finished the game with just three hits allowed and six strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
The Bison re-took the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out rally against the Navy bullpen. Rafferty led off the frame with his second hit of the day. Greg Wasikowski was trying to bunt him into scoring position, but first baseman Kash Manzelli made a diving grab of the bunt and proceeded to double off Rafferty. However, that was not the end of the inning for Bucknell.
Smith drew a two-out walk to start the rally. Furman then singled and Joe Ogren walked to load the bases. Mayer came to the plate with the bases loaded for the second time in the series and doubled down the left field line, clearing the bases and giving Bucknell a 5-2 advantage that held up the rest of the game.
The Mids used a total of five pitchers in the nightcap.
The top of the Bison lineup was key in game two as Smith, Furman and Ogren combined for four of the team’s eight hits and four runs scored. That trio was on base seven times.
Bucknell’s pitching over the weekend was a key in its four victories. Six Bison pitchers combined to yield just 14 hits and six walks to Navy during the series. The team ERA was a miniscule 0.84.
Smith was the series MVP at the plate for Bucknell. After going 5-for-5 on Saturday, he added three more hits Monday and was 8-for-12 with two runs scored in the four games.
The Bison will try to extend their winning streak to five games in a non-league matchup Wednesday at Mount St. Mary’s. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m. in Emmitsburg, Md.