ROCK HILL, S.C. – Bucknell softball split its first two games of the Winthrop/Adidas Tournament on Friday, opening with a 6-1 win over North Carolina Central before falling to Winthrop 6-5 in eight innings.

The Bison are 5-2 on the season and will continue play at the tourament with a pair of games on Saturday. They will play East Tennessee State at 1 p.m., and will take on Eastern Kentucky at 3 p.m.

Game 1 – Bucknell 5, North Carolina Central 1
Bucknell broke a 1-1 tie with five runs in the bottom of the third inning to open the tournament with a 6-1 win over North Carolina Central. Sophomore Anna Gimmestad sparked the rally with a leadoff home run to left field, her first blast of the season and the second of her career.

Freshman Raeann Geffert started and picked up the pitching win for Bucknell, giving up one unearned run over five innings of work. She allowed three hits, walked two, and struck out nine batters. Freshman Lauren Lichtenwalner pitched two hitless innings of relief, walking one batter and striking out one.

In addition to Gimmestad’s solo shot, the Bison’s big third inning was highlighted by an RBI double by junior Meghan Kovac, and RBI singles by junior Paulina Gutkin and senior Carolyn Wan.

Bucknell jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to an RBI double by sophomore Lauren Hadley. North Carolina Central responded with one run in the second inning, but Geffert and Lichtenwalner didn’t allow a run the rest of the way.

The Bison had seven hits, including a pair of singles by Gutkin. Freshman Ryanne Rokos and senior Christina Martinez added on single apiece.

Gutkin extended her hitting streak to six games to open the season, including five straight games with multiple hits.

North Carolina Central dropped to 1-8 overall.

Game 2 – Winthrop 6, Bucknell 5 (8 innings)
Winthrop’s Tara Loken hit a walk-off two-run home run with nobody out in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving the Eagles a 6-5 win in eight innings.

With the international tiebreaker rule in place – a runner starts the inning on second base – Bucknell scored in its half of the inning on a single by Kovac. The Bison had runners on second and third when the inning ended.

Bucknell led 4-1 after the first inning. Hadley and Kovac each had two-run singles.

Winthrop responded with one run in the bottom of the first inning and then tied the game with three runs in the second.

Kovac went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Hadley was 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Senior Chaylen Andolino doubled, while freshmen Marisa Alemany and Halie Mariano each added a single.

Gutkin saw her six-game hitting streak come to an end but has now reached base in seven straight games after a pair of walks. She is batting .550 (11-20) and has an on-base percentage of .591.

Winthrop improved to 7-5 with wins in six of its past seven games.