KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Senior pitchers Dana Nielsen and Amanda Fazio led the way as the Bucknell softball team opened the Rebel Spring Games with wins over Florida A&M and Drexel on Sunday. Nielsen went the distance in a 3-0 win over the Rattlers in the first game of the day, and Fazio followed that with a one-run, complete-game outing in a 10-1 win over Drexel.
Bucknell improved to 10-6 on the season. The Bison wins dropped Florida A&M to 5-14 and Drexel to 10-8. The Bison continue play at the event on Monday with games against Indiana State at 1:30 p.m. and Rider at 3:45 p.m.
Fazio had hits in both games and has now reached base safely in all 16 games to open the season. She is second on the team with a .417 batting average and has yet to be caught stealing in seven attempts.
Bucknell 3, Florida A&M 0
Nielsen helped Bucknell turn the tables on Florida A&M after a tough 4-3 loss to the Rattlers at the same event last season. She gave up just two hits while walking three batters and striking out six. She improved to 4-1 on the season.
Bucknell scored its three runs on just three hits, taking advantage of three errors and two walks. The Bison broke a scoreless tie with a run in the bottom of the third inning. Christina Martinez led off with a single to left field. Paulina Gutkin, who pinch ran for Martinez, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mariah Midyette and went on to score on an error.
The Bison added two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Freshmen Anna Gimmestad and Lauren Hadley led off the inning with back-to-back walks and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Martinez. Gimmestad was later thrown out on a play at the plate, while Hadley scored on an error. The second run of the inning was scored by Midyette on a single by Chaylen Andolino.
Nielsen pitched her second shutout of the season. It was the fifth of the year for the Bison.
Bucknell 10, Drexel 1
The Bucknell bats came alive in the second game of the day with 15 hits, including four for extra bases. Martinez led the way with a double, two singles, and two RBIs, while Fazio, Carolyn Wan, Jacee Almond, Gimmestad and Hadley had two hits apiece.
The Bison scored one run in the first inning and upped their lead to 4-0 with one run in the third and two in the fourth. They put the game away with six runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Meghan Kovac had the big hit in the seventh inning, clearing the bases with a three-run triple.
Joining Kovac and Martinez with extra-base hits were Gimmestad and Hadley with doubles.
Fazio went all seven innings to improve to 5-3 in the circle. She gave up five hits and one walk while striking out four batters. Fazio lowered her ERA to 1.08 over 51.2 innings pitched this season.