UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Bucknell suffered a pair of heartbreaking losses in a non-conference softball twinbill at Penn State's Beard Field on Wednesday evening. The Bison out-hit the Nittany Lions in the first game but fell 1-0, and then led 5-0 in the sixth inning before dropping a 6-5, eight-inning decision in game two.
Bucknell wrapped up a stretch of six straight non-conference games while dropping to 23-12 on the season. Penn State, which has two wins over nationally-ranked opponents this season, improved to 17-25.
While the losses were tough, Bucknell now turns its attention to the more meaningful games on its schedule. The Bison head to Army West Point for a pivotal three-game league series on Saturday and Sunday.
Game 1 – Penn State 1, Bucknell 0
Bucknell out-hit Penn State 5-3 in the first game, but an RBI triple by Toni Polk in the bottom of the sixth inning made the difference in a 1-0 win by the Nittany Lions.
Bucknell's Raeanne Geffert was outstanding while pitching against a Big Ten opponent for the first time. The freshman allowed just one run on three hits and two walks while striking out three batters. She had the Penn State hitters off-balance for most of the game, getting a large chunk of her outs with popups in the infield.
Bucknell had numerous chances to take the lead early in the game, getting a runner to third base in each of the first three innings. Meghan Kovac singled Anna Gimmestad to third with two outs in the first, Julienne Egofske doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt for the first out in the second, and Kovac singled Paulina Gutkin to third in the third inning, but was thrown out at second on the play.
The triple by Polk was the lone extra-base hit given up by Geffert. Polk added a single, as did Shelby Miller.
Game 2 -- Penn State 6, Bucknell 5 (8 innings)
Penn State scored six unanswered runs, including the game-winner on a single by Rebecca Ziegler in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Nittany Lions to a 6-5 win over Bucknell in game two.
Bucknell jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings thanks to a two-run home run down the left-field line by Kovac in the first and a solo blast on a line drive over the left-field wall by Gimmestad in the third. Kovac's homer was her fifth of the season and second in the past four games, while Gimmestad hit her third long ball of the season.
Senior Lara Bean started and went the first five innings, putting together one of the best outings of her four-year career. Through those five scoreless innings, she gave up four hits, walked two, and struck out one. She came back in to face Ziegler with a runner on and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the run allowed was not credited to her.
Penn State cut the deficit to three with a two-run home run by Delaney Elling in the sixth inning. The Lions then tied the game with a three-spot in the seventh, aided by a one-out error on a groundball to shortstop. Elling also had the game-tying single in the inning, but a spectacular throw by Ryanne Rokos from left field forced extras. Needing a perfect throw, she delivered with a missile to Martinez, who made the tag at the plate just in time for the third out.
Gimmestad, Kovac, and Andolino had two hits apiece for Bucknell. Egofske, Hadley, and Gutkin each added one hit.