***SCHEDULE NOTE -- Monday's game between Bucknell and Army West Point at Becker Field has been moved to 2 p.m.***
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Senior Mariah Midyette came through with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Bucknell softball team to a 1-0 win over visiting Army West Point in the first game of a Patriot League doubleheader Sunday at Becker Field. The Bison settled for a split with a 9-3 loss in the second game.
Bucknell moved to 21-13 overall and 6-2 in the Patriot League, while Army West Point saw its record go to 23-14 overall and 5-2 in the conference. The teams will wrap up their three-game series at 2 p.m. on Monday.
The Bison and Black Knights sit second and third in the Patriot League standings, both just two losses behind first-place Lehigh (6-0) in the loss column.
Game 1 – Bucknell 1, Army West Point 0 (9 innings)
Seniors Dana Nielsen and Amanda Fazio combined for a masterful pitching performance to shut out the Black Knights 1-0 in a nine-inning game. The duo combined on the team’s eighth shutout of the season. It was the team’s longest shutout win since recording a 1-0 victory over Lafayette in a 10-inning game in 2008.
Nielsen started and took a no-decision after pitching seven shutout innings. She scattered six hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. The performance helped lower her season ERA to 2.68.
Fazio came in and looked unhittable in her two innings of work. She retired the six batters she faced in order, including three by strikeout. She moved to 11-6 on the season.
The pitching held strong just long enough for the Bucknell bats to break through on the scoreboard. Sophomore Meghan Kovac got things started in the bottom of the ninth with a leadoff single. Sophomore Paulina Gutkin came on to pinch run and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Anna Gimmestad. She would move to third on a groundout by freshman Lauren Hadley, setting the stage for Midyette with two outs. The Bison senior sent a towering fly ball over the heads of the left and center fielders for the game-winning hit.
Bucknell’s defense played great behind its two senior pitchers, especially the left side of the infield with junior Chaylen Andolino at third base and Gimmestad at short. It was the third straight game without an error for the Bison.
The Bison finished with seven hits, all of which were singles. Fazio had two, while junior Carolyn Wan chipped in with one.
Game 2 – Army West Point 9, Bucknell 3
One sloppy inning defensively proved costly for Bucknell in a 9-3 loss in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader. The game was shaping up to be another pitching duel before the Bison committed three errors in a six-run fifth inning for the Black Knights.
Bucknell finished with just one less hit than the eight by Army West Point, but the Black Knights were solid defensively again . Renee Poirier went the distance to get the win, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out four batters.
Trailing 7-0, Bucknell made a run at a comeback with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kovac led off with single and was followed by Gimmestad with a double to right-center field. Hadley drove in both runners with a single and would later score on an RBI groundout by junior Christina Martinez.
Kovac had two hits in the game, while Martinez doubled for one of the team’s two extra-base hits. Midyette contributed a single.
Junior Lara Bean started and pitched the first two innings for Bucknell. She gave up one run on just two hits. She needed just three pitches to put the Black Knights down 1-2-3 in the second inning.