LEWISBURG, Pa. – Entering Saturday’s doubleheader with Lehigh at Depew Field, the Bucknell baseball team had allowed just five runs in its previous five games, but against the Mountain Hawks the offense was the highlight, exploding for 18 runs and 27 hits as the Bison won both games to stretch their winning streak to seven. Bucknell captured game one by a 7-3 score and then claimed game two by an 11-2 margin.
Brett Smith, Joe Ogren, Anthony Gingerelli and Rob Krentzman each registered a pair of multi-hit games Saturday as Bucknell improved to 15-11-1 overall and 6-0 in Patriot League play, its best start since going 8-0 in 2001.
The Bison pitchers continued their strong performance of late, limiting Lehigh (11-13, 2-3 PL) to just five runs and 12 hits in the twinbill. Starters Bryson Hough (4-3) and Dan Weigel (2-4) picked up the victories with each logging seven innings, while Mike Castellani and Tom Hrabchak pitched the final two innings of game two to stretch the bullpen’s scoreless inning streak to 17.0 innings.
Patriot League Player of the Week Smith was 4-for-8 with two runs scored and an RBI, Ogren was 5-for-9 with four runs scored and an RBI, Gingerelli was 4-for-7 with two runs scored and five RBIs, including a three-run home run in game one, and Krentzman was 5-for-7 with three RBIs. Corey Furman extended his hitting streak to a team-best five games with one hit in the opener and then a 3-for-5 performance in game two.
Bucknell, which has trailed for just four innings during its current seven-game winning streak, scored 15 of its 18 runs on the day with two outs, including all seven in game one. The Bison’s 11 runs in game two were a season high, while their 15 hits equaled their most this year.
Bucknell wasted no time getting on the board in game one as a two-out single by Krentzman in the bottom of the first plated Ogren to make it 1-0.
Lehigh tied the score in the top of the third, but the Bison blew the seven-inning game open with five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Furman had a two-out RBI single to right, while Gingerelli followed two hitters later with his team-high third home run of the season to right. It marked his second straight game with a home run after hitting one Wednesday in a win at Mount St. Mary’s.
The Mountain Hawks tallied single runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings, but the Bison tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Smith beat out an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error. Ogren then tripled to right-center, capping the scoring in the contest.
Hough pitched his first complete game of the year as he struck out five and yielded just two earned runs. He walked two and Lehigh totaled seven hits, including a team-high two by Mike Garzillo.
Mike Burke (3-4) started on the mound for the Mountain Hawks and was touched for 10 hits and six runs. David Young pitched the final two innings and yielded just two hits and one run.
Bucknell against wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in game two as it led 7-0 after two innings and 11-2 after six frames.
The first three hitters in the lineup – Smith, Furman, Ogren – singled in the bottom of the first. Smith was retired trying to steal, but two runners were still on base for cleanup hitter Jon Mayer, who lofted a high fly ball to deep right field on a very windy day at Depew Field. Joe Abeln had the ball bounce out of his glove, allowing Furman to score. Two batters later Krentzman singled up the middle to drive home two runs.
Back-to-back one-out triples by Greg Wasikowski and Smith got the four-run, second-inning rally started. RBI singles by Furman and Gingerelli followed, while an RBI double by Mayer also contributed to the scoring in the frame.
Handed a 7-0 lead, Weigel was sharp throughout. He retired nine in a row after allowing the first two hitters to reach, and after yielding two runs to Lehigh in the top of the fifth, he retired the final seven hitters he faced before giving way to Castellani (1.53 season ERA) and Hrabchak (0.75 ERA).
Bucknell tacked on another run in the fifth when Mayer, who was on base four times in the game, led off with a hit by pitch. He later scored on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice off the bat of Danny Rafferty.
The Bison rounded out the scoring in the sixth, plating three runs after the first two outs were made. Ogren got the rally started with a two-out single up the middle. Mayer was then hit by a pitch for the second straight inning. Gingerelli followed with a single to right, scoring Ogren. A walk to Krentzman loaded the bases for Sam Clark and the freshman came through with a two-run single to left for his sixth and seventh RBIs of the season.
Furman and Krentzman both had three hits in the nightcap, while Gingerelli, Krentzman and Clark each drove in two runs. The top six hitters in the lineup contributed 13 of the team’s 15 hits in the contest.
Bucknell, which has its longest winning streak since 2008, will host Lehigh in a doubleheader again on Sunday at noon at Depew Field. The Bison are expected to start Andrew Andreychik and Xavier Hammond as they close a stretch of 10 out of 11 games at home. Fans can listen to the doubleheader on WVBU 90.5 FM and BucknellBison.com.