LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell baseball team has won five straight games and six of its last seven and it will look to stay hot this weekend when it hosts Patriot League foe Lehigh in a four-game series at Depew Field. The Bison are 13-11-1 on the season and their 4-0 Patriot League start is their best since opening the 2001 conference schedule 8-0. Lehigh is 11-11, 2-1 PL on the season after taking two of three at Army last weekend.
As is typical for Patriot League series, doubleheaders both Saturday and Sunday will begin at noon. Game one each day will be seven innings, while game two will be a nine-inning affair. Both doubleheaders will be broadcast live on 90.5 WVBU FM and BucknellBison.com.
Bucknell owns an 85-79 all-time record against Lehigh. The Bison have won three out of four against the Mountain Hawks each of the last three years and have not lost a series to them since 2010.
This weekend’s series will conclude a stretch of 10 home contests in an 11-game span for Bucknell, which is coming off a 6-1 non-league win at Mount St. Mary’s on Wednesday. The Bison are 5-1 at Depew Field this year and are 8-3 in their last 11 home contests.
Bucknell is just three wins shy of equaling its total from all of 2013. Its five-game winning streak is its longest since stretching seven consecutive wins together towards the end of the 2008 campaign.
Pitching has been a key to the Bison’s recent success as they have allowed just five runs during their five-game winning streak. Bucknell’s team ERA since March 23 (seven games) is a miniscule 1.11 and its pitchers have yielded just 32 hits and seven walks in 57.0 innings over that span.
The Bison bullpen will enter the weekend with a consecutive scoreless innings streak of 15.0, while Sunday’s projected game one starter Andrew Andreychik has not allowed a run in his last 19.2 innings. Freshman reliever Mike Castellani has not allowed a run in his last eight appearances (16.0 IP) and has not yielded a hit in his last four outings (5.1 IP).
Closer Tucker Rekucki has piled up a Patriot League-high five saves this year to place him in a tie for seventh on Bucknell’s single-season list, while Andreychik’s three shutouts this year are a new single-season school record. His four career shutouts place him in a tie for second on that list with Kurt Waldner, one behind Mathew Wilson.
Anthony Gingerelli (.367) and Corey Furman (.365) continue to be near the top of the Patriot League in hitting, while Brett Smith paces the team with nine multi-hit outings. He is hitting .667 (8-for-12) with four runs scored during the current five-game winning streak. His .321 batting average ranks third on the team, while his .429 on-base percentage is tied with Gingerelli for the top spot on the squad.
Plenty of awards have come to Bison in recent weeks as Andreychik has been named the Patriot League Pitcher of the Week and Bison Athlete of the Week each of the last two weeks, while Smith earned his first career Patriot League Player of the Week citation this past Tuesday.
Bucknell has been a solid 7-3 in games decided by one or two runs. The Bison are also 10-4 in contests where they score at least three runs.
Lehigh leads the Patriot League in hitting (.289) and has outscored its opponents 120-118 on the season. Six different Mountain Hawks have driven in at least 10 runs, led by 14 apiece by Joe Abeln and John Elson. Kevin Long leads the pitching staff in wins (3) and ERA (1.90).
The Bison will play a mid-week doubleheader at Binghamton on Tuesday before traveling to Army next weekend for the first of two straight road Patriot League series.
Weekend Pitching Matchups
Saturday Game 1: RHP Bryson Hough (3-3, 5.85 ERA, 23 K, 40.0 IP) vs. RHP Mike Burke (1-1, 3.18 ERA, 27 K, 28.1 IP)
Saturday Game 2: LHP Dan Weigel (1-4, 4.10 ERA, 21 K, 37.1 IP) vs. RHP Nick Stephens (2-2, 3.93 ERA, 27 K, 34.1 IP)
Sunday Game 1: RHP Andrew Andreychik (3-2, 2.45 ERA, 24 K, 33.0 IP) vs. RHP Colin Gotzon (2-0, 3.22 ERA, 28 K, 22.1 IP)
Sunday Game 2: LHP Xavier Hammond (1-2, 5.18 ERA, 19 K, 33.0 IP) vs. TBA
Bucknell Baseball’s 2014 Weekly Awards
Patriot League Player of the Week: Corey Furman (March 4), Brett Smith (April 1)
Patriot League Pitcher of the Week: Andrew Andreychik (March 24, April 1)
Bison Athlete of the Week: Andrew Andreychik (March 24, April 1)
Bucknell Baseball Home Radio Broadcast Schedule
(Games air live on WVBU 90.5 and BucknellBison.com)
March 23: vs. Penn State (DH), 12 p.m. March 31: vs. Navy (DH), 12 p.m.April 5: vs. Lehigh (DH), 12 p.m.
April 6: vs. Lehigh (DH), 12 p.m.
April 26: vs. Holy Cross (DH), 12 p.m.
April 27: vs. Holy Cross (DH), 12 p.m.