Bucknell 2, Holy Cross 1

Junior Colie Escobar’s homerun in the bottom of the fifth proved to be the decision maker on a rainy Saturday in Lewisburg, lifting the Bucknell softball team to a 2-1 win over Holy Cross on Becker Field. The steadily falling rain and plummeting temperatures forced the postponement of the scheduled second contest, but the Bison ended the day on a good note, earning their 10th win of the season to improve to 10-13 overall and 3-1 in Patriot League play. The Crusaders fell to 3-9 overall and 2-2 in conference action with the defeat.

“I’m really happy with the team’s poise today,” allowed head coach Bonnie Skrenta. “Holy Cross came out very strong and aggressive, and they had runners in scoring position for almost the entire game. I’m not sure that all of our players were at their best today, but they put forth a complete team effort to squeak out the win.”

Six different Bison recorded a hit in the low-scoring affair, beginning with junior Kristen Zahn’s double to right field in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Cheyanna Young capitalized on the runner in scoring position, hitting a double into a gap in left center to bring Zahn home and put Bucknell up 1-0 as the teams headed into the third stanza.

The Crusaders responded in the top of the third however, as back-to-back walks put runners on first and second. Emily Krisanda took advantage of the opportunity, singling to center field to bring in a run and knot the score at 1-1. The Bison quickly ended the inning on the next play, leaving two runners on base, but the damage had been done.

Holy Cross threatened again in the top of the fourth, advancing a runner to third with two outs, but a well-time strikeout by freshman pitcher Lara Bean kept the score tied. Bucknell was unable to score in the bottom of the inning, but three quick outs in the top of the fifth gave the squad the opportunity it needed to pull ahead of the visitors.

Escobar led off in the fifth as a pinch hitter and maintained her composure through a lengthy at-bat, knocking one out of the park on a full count to give the Bison a 2-1 edge over the Crusaders. The hit was her first of the season. Freshman Jacee Almond and senior Mallory Lyons each recorded singles in the stanza, and sophomore Amanda Fazio advanced all the way to third as Almond’s pinch runner, but the effort for insurance runs fell just short.

The Bucknell defense brought the game home however, standing strong through Holy Cross’ final two at-bats to protect the team’s slim lead. Lyons made a crucial tag-out in the top of the sixth, and the infield rallied around Bean in the bottom of the seventh. The Crusaders managed to advance a runner to third on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, but Almond made the final play of the contest to seal the Bison’s 2-1 win.

Bean earned her fourth victory of the season against the Crusaders, improving her record to 4-2 and pitching her first complete game of 2014. The rookie allowed just four hits and one earned run, while striking out two and walking six. Gennifer Durham received the loss for Holy Cross, allowing two earned runs and six hits and also striking out seven in six innings of action.

“We had some bobbles early and some nervous plays,” added Skrenta, “but we were able to make the plays we needed with two outs and runners in scoring position, and that was the difference. Tomorrow we need to be just a little bit crisper to make sure that we come out ahead in the doubleheader.”

Bucknell and Holy Cross will square off again tomorrow at 12 p.m., concluding the three-game series with a doubleheader necessitated by today’s rain cancellation. Live stats for the contest will be available.