WORCESTER, Mass. – Bucknell starting pitchers Connor Van Hoose and Jeff Gottesman continued their impressive seasons on Saturday as the Bison swept a doubleheader from Holy Cross at Fitton Field by scores of 6-0 and 2-1. Now 7-1 in its last eight Patriot League games, Bucknell (9-7) moved past Holy Cross (3-3) and into third place in the standings.

For the third straight Saturday, the Bison swept a doubleheader behind the powerful right arms of Van Hoose and Gottesman. Van Hoose spun a two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts in the opener, and then Gottesman allowed just one run and two hits with 11 strikeouts over eight innings in the nightcap. After the Bison took a 2-1 lead on a go-ahead sacrifice fly by Keifer Rawlings in the top of the ninth, freshman Brenden Tuttle fanned two more en route to his third save.

All told, Bucknell’s three pitchers conceded just a single run on five hits while striking out 25 in 16 innings. Holy Cross hitters went 5-for-51 (.098) on the day.

Van Hoose hit a milestone in game one when he became just the second pitcher in team history and the first in more than 60 years to record 200 career strikeouts. He now has 208, which trails only Hall-of-Famer Don Richards (354 from 1954-56). Van Hoose’s 78 strikeouts this season are tied for fourth-most in school history. He has four double-digit strikeout games this season and six in his career.

Bucknell has now taken 3 of 4 games from Holy Cross this season, with the finale slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. In addition to passing the Crusaders, the Bison also pulled within one game of second-place Navy (10-6), which split with Lehigh (3-9) on Saturday. First-place Army (10-2) took two from last-place Lafayette (2-10).

Game 1: Bucknell 6, Holy Cross 0

Bucknell piled up six runs on 10 hits while drawing eight walks in support of the dominant Van Hoose in the opener. Luke Hartman had two hits and two RBIs, and JohnPaul Bell and Evan Klugerman also picked up a pair of hits each. Dominic Toso belted his first collegiate home run to close out the scoring in the sixth inning.

Bucknell went ahead for good with a single run in the third inning. With two outs and nobody on, Toso drew a walk, and then Hartman doubled into the right-center alley to send Toso all the way around from first.

In the fourth, Holy Cross starter Liam Dvorak once again retired the first two batters in the inning, but the Bison would go on to send nine men to the plate and score three times. Evan Madigan scratched out an infield single, Tyler Wincig walked, and Luke Johnson singled home a run. Later in the inning, Hartman and Bell drew bases-loaded walks to make it a 4-0 game.

Klugerman’s leadoff walk in the fifth resulted in a run. He went to second on an errant pickoff throw, to third on a sac bunt by Chuckie Scales, and then scored on a wild pitch.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders could not muster anything offensively against Van Hoose. Their hardest hit ball was a deep fly to left field off the bat of Austin Masel in the first inning, but Bell made an incredible running catch before smashing into the wall.

Van Hoose had a no-hitter with two outs in the fourth, when Alex Gionis reached on an infield single. Holy Cross’ only other knock was a single by Chris Rinaldi in the sixth.

Van Hoose struck out at least one batter in all seven innings, including all three in the fifth on just 11 pitches. He punctuated the performance with a strikeout of Cam Meyer, giving Van Hoose his third complete game of the season.  

Game 2: Bucknell 2, Holy Cross 1

Game two featured a wonderful pitchers’ duel between Bucknell’s Gottesman and Holy Cross’ Pat McGowan. Both starters allowed just one run over eight innings, and there were a combined six hits in the game.

But the Bison broke through in the ninth against the Crusaders’ star reliever, Danny Barlok, who entered the game with a 4-0 record and an NCAA-best era of 0.68. With one out, Hartman and Klugerman coaxed bases on balls. A wild pitched moved the runners up, and then Rawlings came through with a fly ball to center field that was plenty deep enough to score pinch-runner PJ Strahm.

Tuttle came out of the bullpen and got two quick outs with a weak ground ball to second and a strikeout. Cam O’Neill gave Holy Cross life with a double, but Tuttle fanned Alex Volpi to end the game.

Volpi was responsible for the Crusaders’ lone run of the entire day, when he led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run. That tied the game at 1-apiece after the Bison had gone ahead in the fourth on Rawlings’ first of two sac flies.

Gottesman stranded runners at second base in both the seventh and eighth innings. In the eighth, Meyer’s one-out single was only the second hit of the game yielded by Gottesman. After Meyer moved to second on a passed ball. Gottesman put an exclamation point on his outing with his 10th and 11th strikeout.

Madigan, Hartman and Scales accounted for Bucknell’s three hits. Hartman had a terrific day at the plate, reaching base in six of his eight plate appearances with three hits and three walks.