PETERSBURG, Va. – An RBI double by Corey Furman in the bottom of the sixth inning of game two of a doubleheader broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Bucknell baseball team a one-run lead that relievers Max Kra, Mike Castellani and Tucker Rekucki held on to en route to a twinbill split against Niagara. The Purple Eagles won game one 2-1, but the Bison captured three of the four games in the weekend series that was moved to the Petersburg Sports Complex from Depew Field.
Furman, who has reached base in all eight of his games played this year, had another strong day, going 5-for-8 with two RBIs. He collected three of Bucknell’s (4-5) five hits in game one and now has a team-best five multi-hit outings this season.
Game two featured strong pitching by the Bison bullpen after Xavier Hammond gave a solid 5.0 innings. He allowed six hits and five runs while striking out three and walking one. Kra, who earned his first win of the year, pitching 1.2 innings of no-hit ball. He did hit two batters and walk one, but did not allow a run. Castellani yielded just one hit in his 1.1 innings after pitching two scoreless innings in Saturday’s game two. Rekucki then earned his second save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth.
The contest was close throughout as the score was tied 1-1 after the first inning, 3-3 after the third frame and 5-5 after four innings.
After Niagara (4-7) scored one in the top of the first, the Bison evened the score in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Jon Mayer.
The Purple Eagles went up 3-1 in the top of the second, but RBI singles by Joe Ogren and Mayer in the third evened the score once again.
Niagara again took a two-run lead in the top of the fourth, but an RBI single by Furman and a fielder’s choice by Ogren tied it one more time. A double by Anthony Gingerelli, who was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, got the rally started.
Gingerelli again got things started in the sixth with a leadoff single. Furman knocked him in with what proved to be the winning run with a two-out double to center.
Bucknell outhit Niagara 10-7 in game two with Furman, Gingerelli, Mayer and Brett Smith recording two hits apiece.
Game one was a lower scoring affair, although Niagara threatened throughout with at least one baserunner in each of the seven innings.
Niagara got on the board first in the second when Joel Klock led off the inning by reaching on an error. He then scored on a double by Greg Rodgers.
Bucknell evened the score in the fourth with an unearned run of its own. Mayer doubled to center and moved to third on an error by the center fielder. He later scored on a wild pitch.
A one-out RBI double with two runners on base by Michael Fuhrman in the top of the fifth gave Niagara a 2-1 lead and the Purple Eagles held onto it as Bucknell recorded just two hits the rest of the way.
The Bison did load the bases on three walks in the bottom of the fifth, but were unable to drive home a run Geoff Soja got an infield pop-up and a fly out to center to get out of the jam on the way to the save. He pitched the final three innings in relief of freshman Cody Eckerson, who earned the win.
Andrew Andreychik (1-2) got the start on the mound for the Bison and pitched into the sixth inning before Tom Hrabchak relieved him. Hrabchak did not allow a run in his 2.0 innings of work to extend his season scoreless streak to 4.2 innings.
Bucknell will next be in action when it begins its spring break trip to Florida next Sunday, March 9, against Illinois State.