KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Massachusetts countered Bucknell’s eighth-inning rally with one of its own, and the Minutemen claimed a one-run slugfest for the second straight day, 9-8 on Tuesday at Osceola County Stadium.
Luke Johnson and Evan Madigan remained hot with two-hit games, and Mike Korchak and Alex Baumann knocked in two runs apiece for the Bison (3-10). Starting pitcher Jack Simpson yielded only one earned run over six innings, and Christian Tailor pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
Bucknell had some defensive struggles in the bottom of the third inning, with four errors contributing to a five-run inning for the Minutemen (4-3). But the Bison got back in it with three in top of the fourth, coming on RBI singles by JohnPaul Bell and Baumann, and a sacrifice fly by Korchak.
Korchak added another sac fly in the sixth inning, and it was a 6-4 game before the Bison erupted for four runs in their eighth to take the lead for the first time in the game.
After two one-out walks and a wild pitch, Baumann lifted the team’s third sac fly of the game. Madigan reached on a bunt single, and then the tying run scored on an E-6. One batter later, Johnson singled home two runs to give the Bison an 8-6 lead.
But UMass, which scored three in the top of the ninth to win 10-9 a day earlier, had another last-at-bat rally up its sleeve. RBI singles by Nolan Kessinger and Logan Greene tied the game, and Justen Voghel drove home the go-ahead run with a sac fly.
The Bison threatened again in the ninth, putting runners on second and third with two outs for leading hitter Madigan, but Zach Clevenger got the final out on a ground ball to third to earn his first save.
Madigan turned in his fifth multi-hit game of the season. He now has a six-game hitting streak and is hitting .390 on the season. Johnson now has seven multi-hit showings. He is 8-for-14 with 5 RBIs in his last three games to raise his season average to .340.
In 13 games this season, Bucknell now has 10 sacrifice flies, while opponents now have 13.
The Bison and Minutemen conclude their three-game series on Wednesday at 11 a.m. That will be Bucknell’s last game on its Spring Break trip to Florida. The Bison will then return home to open up Patriot League play against Navy this weekend in the first four games at the newly refurbished Depew Field.