MERCER, Ga. – Bucknell softball hit four home runs over two games Friday at the Mercer Bears Classic, where the Bison lost 4-3 in the opener before bouncing back with a 5-1 win over Rutgers. Lauren Hadley homered in both games, including a two-run shot in the win over the Scarlet Knights.
Bucknell moved its record to 8-13. The Bison have beaten a team from a Power Five conference in two of the past three seasons, including a 5-4 win over Pitt in 2016. The win over Rutgers was their first over a Big Ten team since beating Penn State in 2007.
Austin Peay improved to 12-7 while upping its win streak to six straight games. Rutgers dropped to 13-12 and saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.
The Bison will continue play at the tournament on Saturday with a 10 a.m. game against Austin Peay and a 2:30 p.m. game against Mercer.
Austin Peay 4, Bucknell 3
Hadley and Paulina Gutkin each homered, but Austin Peay scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on its way to a 4-3 win.
Bucknell trailed 1-0 until Hadley came through with a two-run blast in the fourth inning. Taylor Wolfgang scored on the hit after leading off with a single up the middle.
Austin Peay tied it up with a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Bison used the long ball to retake the lead in the fifth. Senior Paulina Gutkin led off the inning with the first home run of her career, pulling the ball down the right-field line to put the Bison up 3-2.
Miscues proved costly for Bucknell in the bottom of the fifth as an error eventually led to the tying run and a wild pitch resulted in the go-ahead run.
Bucknell 5, Rutgers 1
Bucknell erupted for 10 hits, including home runs by Hadley and Kovac in a 5-1 win over Rutgers in the team’s second game of the day.
Kovac gave the Bison the early momentum with a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the first inning. It was her team-leading fourth home run of the season.
The Bison added to their lead with a pair of runs in the second inning. Rokos got things started with a one-out double and later scored on a double steal. Gutkin scored during the same at-bat on an RBI double by Alemany.
Bucknell gave its pitching staff some breathing room with two more runs in the fifth inning. Gimmestad led off with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Wolfgang. Hadley added a run with a two-out solo home run, her second of the season.
Raeanne Geffert picked up the win for the Bison. She started and went five innings. She didn’t allow a run, gave up five hits, walked one and struck out one.