Setting the Scene
Who: Bucknell (2-7) vs. Villanova (3-6) and Massachusetts (1-3)
When: Saturday-Wednesday, March 10-14
Where: Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Fla.
Saturday, March 10: Bucknell vs. Villanova, 11 a.m. | LIVE STATS | WATCH LIVE ($)
Sunday, March 11: Bucknell vs. Villanova, 11 a.m. | LIVE STATS | WATCH LIVE ($)
Monday, March 12: Bucknell vs. UMass, 11 a.m. | LIVE STATS | WATCH LIVE ($)
Tuesday, March 13: Bucknell vs. UMass, 3 p.m. | LIVE STATS | WATCH LIVE ($)
Wednesday, March 14: Bucknell vs. UMass, 11 a.m. | LIVE STATS | WATCH LIVE ($)
About the Bison
• After having a mid-week game at Mount St. Mary's rained out on Wednesday, the Bison head to Kissimmee, Florida for five game over Spring Break. Bucknell will play two games against Villanova, followed by three against Massachusetts as part of the Sunshine State Classic Series. The Bison went 4-3 on Spring Break last season, capping the trip by taking 2 of 3 from UMass in Port Charlotte.
• Bucknell has been idle since taking 2 of 3 games from North Carolina A&T in a tightly contested series last weekend in Greensboro. The Bison claimed the first two games by counts of 5-4 and 7-5, and the Aggies rallied to salvage the third game 7-6.
• Connor Van Hoose picked up the win in the series opener, striking out 11 over six innings of work. Freshman Dominic Toso had three hits and three RBIs, including a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning. Rookie Brenden Tuttle recorded the final five outs for his first career save.
• Evan Madigan was the game-two star. He collected a career-high four hits, the last of which was a double in the top of the ninth that plated the tying and go-ahead runs. Jack Simpson picked up the win with three strong innings in relief of starter Jeff Gottesman, who did not allow an earned run over six innings.
• Bucknell led 4-2 going to the bottom of the eighth inning, but North Carolina A&T plated five runs with two outs in that frame, then held on for the 7-6 win. JohnPaul Bell cracked his fourth home run in the last five games, and Miles Moore and Madigan both had two hits and two RBIs as part of Bucknell's 11-hit attack.
• Madigan ranks fourth in the Patriot League with a .385 batting average. Bell leads the league in home runs (4) and ranks second in slugging percentage (.618).
• Madigan and Luke Johnson are tied for the team lead in hits with 10 each. Toso and Bell share the lead with 7 RBIs, and Bell has a team-high seven runs scored.
Scouting Villanova/Series Record
• The Wildcats opened the season with a three-game sweep of Norfolk State, but they have lost six straight since then. Villanova was swept in a three-game series at USC, then down in Port Charlotte dropped games to Dartmouth, Northeastern and Western Michigan. The Wildcats are playing George Mason on Friday in Kissimmee before turning their attention to Bucknell.
• Ryan Toohers leads the team with a .367 batting average, while John Heilenbach (.345) and Timothy Lilly (.343) are also over .300. Lilly has a team-high eight RBIs, while David Gulati has a team-high 11 runs scored and also has the team's lone home run.
• On the mound, Villanova's top starter as been Ryan Doty, who has a 3.00 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 18 innings in three starts. Jason Applegate has a 2.25 ERA in four appearances out of the bullpen.
• Bucknell and Villanova first met in 1899, and the Wildcats lead the all-time series 18-6. The teams last met in March of 2011, when Bucknell rallied from 2-0 down in the late innings to win 3-2. Starter Dylan Seeley threw five strong innings, Gabe Noyalis earned the win in relief, and four Bison had multi-hit games as part of a 12-hit attack. David Duffett tied the game with a two-run single in the eighth, and the go-ahead run scored on a wild pitch in the ninth.
Scouting Massachusetts/Series Record
• UMass has played just four times thus far, all in Kissimmee, under the direction of first-year head coach Matt Reynolds, who was a former assistant coach in the Patriot League at Navy. The Minutemen defeated Saint Peter's and loss three times to Pittsburgh. They are scheduled to play a three-game set at Central Connecticut this weekend, although Friday's opener was cancelled due to weather.
• Nolan Kessinger is the team's top hitter thus far with a .375 average and four RBIs. He has a double and a triple among his six hits. Cooper Mrowka is hitting .333 for UMass, which hits .256 as a team.
• No UMass pitcher has made more than one start to date. Most effective have been Anthony Videtto (1-0, 1.50 ERA), and Justin Lasko (0-0, 1.69 ERA). Sean Harney has pitched three scoreless innings out of the pen. Minutemen opponents are hitting .289.
• UMass leads the all-time series 5-3. Last year, the Minutemen routed the Bison 17-5 in the series opener, but Bucknell bounced back with 11-9 and 3-1 wins to close out Spring Break. In the 11-9 win in the middle game, Bucknell scored six in the top of the first, fell behind 8-6, and later snapped a 9-9 tie with two in the ninth. Luke Johnson had four of Bucknell's 15 hits. Connor Van Hoose logged a career-high 12 strikeouts while allowing only three hits over 7.2 innings to claim the win in the series finale.
• Following the trip to Florida, the March 17 home opener vs. Navy will also be Bucknell’s Patriot League opener. That will be a much-anticipated four-game series. Not only is it a rematch of last year’s PL Tournament semifinal series, but the Bison will be making their debut in front of the brand new stadium facility at Depew Field.