WEST POINT, N.Y. – Bucknell’s Dan Weigel pitched his fifth career complete game and Sam Clark and Anthony Gingerelli drove in runs in the late innings to help the Bison baseball team to a 3-1 victory over Army in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader at Doubleday Field. The teams split the twinbill as the Black Knights recorded a 6-5 walk-off comeback win in the bottom of the seventh inning of game one.
Bucknell (18-13-1, 8-2 PL) remains in first place in the Patriot League standings, 1.5 games ahead of second-place Army (21-11, 6-3 PL). The two teams will square off in another doubleheader Sunday to complete the four-game series.
Corey Furman was 3-for-8 with one run scored and one RBI with two hits in the opener for Bucknell, extending his hitting streak to a team-best 10 games. Brett Smith was 2-for-3 with three runs scored in game one, while starting catchers Jon Mayer (2-for-4 with two runs in game two) and Justin Meier (2-for-3 in game one) combined for four hits.
After a wild finish to game one with five of the contest’s 11 runs being scored in the final inning of play, game two was scoreless until Army’s Kris Lindner drove in Patrick Mescher with a one-out single up the middle in the bottom of the sixth.
Bucknell, which had just one hit over the first six innings against Black Knights starter Alex Robinett (3-3), got on the scoreboard in its very next at bat in the top of the seventh. Furman led off the frame with a single and Mayer also reached on a one-out single. A two-out single up the middle by Clark staked the Bison to a 2-1 advantage and knocked Robinett from the game in favor of reliever Brian Hapeman.
Thanks to Weigel’s complete game eight-hitter with five strikeouts, Bucknell did not need additional runs. Weigel retired the final seven hitters he faced and allowed just four runners all game reach scoring position. He improved to 3-4 on the year as he won his third straight start while holding the opponent to two runs or less.
While the Bison did not need additional runs, they did tack on an insurance tally in the ninth when Mayer doubled to left and then scored on a one-out single by Gingerelli, his 16th RBI of the season.
The late innings were also key in the back-and-forth seven-inning game one that saw Bucknell score three runs in the top of the of the seventh to overcome a 4-2 deficit and take a 5-4 lead. However, one-out RBI singles by Mark McCants and Mescher in the bottom of the seventh brought Army back for the victory.
Army starter Nick Dignacco retired the first nine hitters he faced before Smith led off the fourth inning with a single and later scored on a ground out by Mayer to cut the Bison deficit to 2-1. Smith again led off the sixth with a single and later scored the tying run on another ground out by Mayer, who became the sixth Bucknell hitter to reach double figures in RBIs this season.
The Black Knights retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Bucknell starter Bryson Hough had not allowed a hit since the second inning, but Army had three consecutive singles and pinch hitter Daniel Cortes knocked in the go-ahead runs with a two-run single to right.
That lead was short-lived as Bucknell plated three in the top of the sixth. Rob Krentzman and Meier led off the frame with back-to-back singles and later came around to score. Smith crossed the plate with the go-ahead run on a failed pick-off attempt by reliever Johnny Griffith.
Four of Army’s five hitters in the bottom of the seventh reached base against Bison closer Tucker Rekucki (0-1) with McCants and Mescher driving in the tying and winning runs, respectively.
Hough pitched 5.2 innings for Bucknell and struck out five while allowing just five hits and one walk.
Dignacco recorded eight strikeouts and gave up seven of the Bison’s eight hits in the contest.
The Bison had the leadoff hitter in an inning reach base six times in the doubleheader and in five of those innings they scored runs.
Bucknell and Army will wrap up their series Sunday at 1 p.m.