LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell softball team has won both of the Patriot League series that it has played this season, taking two games each against Army and Holy Cross, and the squad will look to extend that streak this weekend when it travels to Lafayette for three more conference games. The Bison, who most recently split a non-conference doubleheader with La Salle on Tuesday, enter the weekend with a 12-15 overall record and a 4-2 mark in league play, while the Leopards are currently 3-19 and 1-5 in conference action. The teams will meet for a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 12 p.m. on both days. Live stats will be available for all contests, while Saturday’s twin bill is slated to be broadcast on the Patriot League Network.
The Bison are currently ranked third in the conference with their 4-2 mark, sitting just behind Lehigh (6-0) and newcomer Boston University (2-1), and the squad has excelled on both sides of the game in the early portion of the season. Junior shortstop Cydnee Sanders continues to lead the league in batting average, hitting .457, while junior outfielder Kristen Zahn (.397) has compiled the sixth-best number. Sanders, who hit 5-for-7 across both games on Tuesday, also ranks second in hits (37), third in on-base percentage (.500) and fourth in runs scored (20), while Zahn is second in doubles (8), second in home runs (4), third in slugging percentage (.679) and fourth in RBI (24).
The Bucknell pitching staff has also proven its mettle in the early part of conference play, and is currently averaging a 3.14 ERA, the second-best number in the Patriot League. Sophomore Cindy Cherness ranks third in the conference with a 2.24 ERA, and is one of the best closers in the league, making three saves this season. Freshman Lara Bean is holding her opponents to a .219 batting average, the lowest amongst Patriot League pitchers, while sophomore Dana Nielsen, who has started in 13 of Bucknell’s games and has earned five wins, leads the league with 70 strikeouts.
Bucknell holds a 66-39-1 all-time record against Lafayette, and the Bison swept the Leopards last season, allowing just three runs in four games and shutting them out three times. Lafayette earned a 2-0 win over Holy Cross in this season’s conference opener, but the Crusaders took the remaining two games in the series and the Leopards were swept by Lehigh the following weekend.
Victoria Vergona leads the squad’s offense, hitting .255 with 13 hits in 51 at-bats, while Kristen Berger, who is averaging .246, has a team-high 16 hits this season. Berger also leads the Leopards with 12 RBI and 10 runs. Defensively, Melissa Robinson has made 11 pitching starts and compiled a 2-9 record from the circle. She has a 4.97 ERA, and has allowed 103 hits and 45 earned runs in 63.1 innings of action, while striking out 16 and walking 28 batters. Kristy Marinelli and Lindsey Cherry have each made seven appearances and five starts, producing ERAs of 6.60 and 8.78, respectively.
After this weekend’s Patriot League series, Bucknell will return home for another important conference match-up, welcoming current league leader and preseason favorite Lehigh to Becker Field for three games. The Bison and the Mountain Hawks will play a doubleheader on April 12 and a single game on April 13, with action on both days starting at 12 p.m.