LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell softball team opened Patriot League play with a doubleheader sweep of Holy Cross on Saturday at Becker Field, winning the first game 5-3 and the second 5-1. The Bison improved to 16-10 overall and 2-0 in the conference, while the Crusaders dropped to 4-19 overall and 0-2 in league play.

Bucknell and Holy Cross will conclude the three-game series at noon on Sunday. With a win, the Bison would post their first season sweep of the Crusaders since 2013. They haven’t lost a series with the Crusaders since 2003.

Bucknell 5, Holy Cross 3
Bucknell broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on its way to a 5-3 win in the first game of the doubleheader. Freshman Ryanne Rokos paced the Bison’s eight-hit attack with two singles.

With Bucknell trailing 2-1, Rokos hit a 2-0 pitch into right field for a leadoff single. She then advanced to second on a walk by Chaylen Andolino and to third on a sacrifice bunt by Maddie Minneci. Meghan Kovac delivered the game-tying hit, catching the Holy Cross defense off guard with an RBI bunt single.

Jacklyn Tyburk started the Bison’s rally in the sixth inning, leading off with a double over the head of the Holy Cross left fielder. Tyburk and Paulina Gutkin, who was hit by a pitch, went on to score on a bunt by Celina Antonellis. The final run was scored by Antonellis on an error after a dropped fly ball in center field.  

Dana Nielsen went all seven innings in the circle and improved to 7-2 on the season. She gave up two earned runs on five hits and four walks while striking out seven batters. She stranded seven Holy Cross runners on base, including the bases loaded in the first inning.

Nielsen’s ability to get out of a jam helped Bucknell take an early lead with one run in the bottom of the first inning. Andolino led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She moved to third on a productive groundout by Madeline Minneci before scoring on a single by Christine Martinez.

Holy Cross was paced by Taylor Wahler and Taylor Moss with two hits apiece.

Bucknell 5, Holy Cross 1
Kovac had two hits, including a solo home run, and drove in three runs to lead Bucknell to a 5-1 win in the second game of the day. Amanda Fazio was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and went the distance in the circle for her  seventh win of the season.

Kovac’s solo shot sailed over the right-field fence, tying the score at one in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was her third home run of the season. She wasn’t done, though, as she added a two-run double the next inning to give the Bison a 3-1 lead. Midyette, who had a bunt single, and Fazio, who was hit by a pitch, scored on the play. Minneci led off the inning with a pinch-hit double, but was later thrown out on a play at the plate.

Bucknell added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Midyette and Fazio each came through with an RBI single.

Fazio scattered eight hits in the win, giving up one run. She struck out five batters and didn’t issue a walk.

Midyette finished with two hits, while Anna Gimmestad and Lauren Hadley had one apiece.