CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – One day after defeating Liberty to post the school’s second win at an NCAA Regional, the Bucknell baseball team suffered a 10-0 loss to Arkansas Sunday afternoon at Virginia’s Davenport Field. The fourth-seeded Bison finished the weekend 1-2 and were 31-21-1 overall in 2014, equaling the school record for victories in a season.
Bucknell earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament thanks to sweeping through the Patriot League Tournament. The Bison were placed in the Charlottesville Regional as the No. 4 seed and opened play Friday afternoon with a 10-1 loss to the host Cavaliers. Bucknell then upended third-seeded Liberty in an elimination game on Saturday before wrapping up play Sunday against the Razorbacks (40-24).
“Arkansas came out swinging the bats and put us on our heels,” noted Bison second-year head coach Scott Heather. “They came out ready to go after an emotional game last night. Give them credit for coming back and being strong out of the gate.”
Arkansas scored four runs in the top of the first inning and then added two runs in both the third and fourth innings to take an 8-0 lead. The Razorbacks plated single runs in the fifth and sixth frames.
The Bison were unable to capitalize on three Arkansas errors, including one in the sixth inning that helped Bucknell load the bases thanks to a one-out hit by pitch by Mayer and a two-out walk by pinch hitter Danny Rafferty.
“I was disappointed with our offensive output today,” said Heather, the 2014 Patriot League Coach of the Year. “We took a lot of fastballs in the strike zone and swing at a lot of off-speed pitches outside the zone.”
Arkansas pitchers Jalen Beeks (6-4) and Jackson Lowery combined on the shutout. Beeks pitched the first five innings and struck out nine, while Lowery added five strikeouts and earned the save thanks to pitching a hitless final four frames.
Andrew Andreychik (5-5) earned the start on the mound for Bucknell and yielded nine hits and six runs in 2.1 innings. Xavier Hammond, Max Kra, Mike Castellani and Tucker Rekucki followed out of the bullpen.
Clark Eagan led the Arkansas lineup with a 3-for-6 performance with two runs scored and one RBI. Brian Anderson was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and he reached base in all five plate appearances. Five Razorbacks had multi-hit games as they totaled 16 hits on the day.
Heather was able to sub quite a bit in the later innings and was able to get virtually every person on the postseason roster into the contest, including senior Corey Furman, who had missed the last six weeks with a hand injury. Furman pinch ran for senior Brett Ashley in the bottom of the ninth in his first appearance since April 19.
Bucknell was playing in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in program history. The only other NCAA win for the Bison came in 2008 at No. 4 national seed Florida State.
Arkansas’ win advanced it to Sunday evening’s 8 p.m. game vs. Virginia. The Razorbacks will need two wins over the Cavaliers to advance to next weekend’s Super Regionals.