BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Bucknell softball is off to a 2-0 start thanks to wins over Hampton and Gardner-Webb on the first day of the ‘Runnin Bulldog Tournament.
The Bison opened the season with a 5-0 shutout over Hampton, but needed some late-inning heroics to get past the host team in the second game, scoring four runs in the top of the seventh inning in a 5-2 win.
Bucknell continues play in Boiling Springs with two games on Saturday. The Bison will play Gardner-Webb 2 p.m. and will take on Seton Hall at 6 p.m.
Game 1 – Bucknell 5, Hampton 0
Meghan Kovac homered in her first at-bat of the season and Bucknell rolled to a 5-0 win over Hampton in the season opener. Senior Lara Bean and freshman Raeanne Geffert combined to give up just one hit.
Kovac’s blast was a three-run shot to center field in the bottom of the first inning that scored sophomores Anna Gimmestad and Lauren Hadley. Freshman Marisa Alemany was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Gimmestad. Hadley followed that with a single to set the stage for Kovac.
Bucknell added its fifth run in the third inning. Senior Chaylen Andolino reached base on a one-out single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Halie Mariano, and scored on a single by senior Christina Martinez.
Bean started and allowed just one hit while walking four and striking out two in five innings. Geffert pitched two hitless innings of relief in her collegiate debut while walking none and striking out three.
The Bison finished with nine hits, including a double and single by Gimmestad. Andolino and Martinez each singled twice, while Hadley and junior Paulina Gutkin had one single apiece.
Game 2 – Bucknell 5, Gardner-Webb 2
Bucknell trailed 2-1 after six innings, but erupted for four runs in the top of the seventh to get the win over Gardner-Webb, starting the season 2-0 for the second time in three years.
The Bison had just two hits in their four-run seventh inning, but took advantage of two hit-by-pitches and error. Junior Celina Antonellis pinch-hit to lead off the inning and was hit by a pitch with two strikes, and Gutkin followed with a ground ball to first that was thrown into left field in attempt to get the runner at second.
Sophomore Ryanne Rokos had the first hit of the seventh, singling to center field to load the bases, and Alemany was hit by a pitch to tie the game. The Bison didn’t need to take the bat off their shoulder to get the game-tying run either, as Hadley showed good patience with a bases-loaded walk. Kovac then plated Gimmestad and Alemany with a two-run single.
Bucknell trailed 1-0 before tying the game with a run in the top of the fifth. Senior Carolyn Wan and Gutkin led off with singles, and Wan later scored on a sacrifice fly by Alemany.
Gardner-Webb went up 2-1 in the bottom half of the fifth, but Bucknell rallied for the final-inning win.
Geffert started and went the distance for her first collegiate win. She gave up five hits, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out four. She finished with seven strikeouts and no walks in nine innings of work on the day.
Gutkin paced Bucknell’s eight-hit attack with a pair of singles. Alemany, Gimmestad, Hadley, Kovac, Wan, and Rokos had one hit apiece.