GREENVILLE, N.C. – The Bucknell softball team continued play at the ECU Pirate Clash, falling to 2-2 with losses to UMass and East Carolina on Saturday.

Sophomore Meghan Kovac continued her torrid start to the season with three hits in the first game and two more in the second contest. Through four games, she is 10-for-13 at the plate for a .769 average. She is slugging 1.154 with two doubles and a home run.

As a team, Bucknell is batting .292. Freshman Lauren Hadley is hitting .429, while Amanda Fazio is batting .400.

UMass 3, Bucknell 2
Kovac provided the offense for Bucknell, going 3-for-3 with a two-run home run, but the Bison went scoreless in the other six innings while suffering their first loss of the season. Kovac ended the first game of the day with an .889 batting average, going 8-for-9 at the plate through the first three games of the season.

Fazio pitched a solid seven innings for Bucknell, giving up three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five batters. She dropped to 1-1 on the year.

“Fazio gave us a chance to win today. She made some big pitches and put together three quality at-bats,” said Bucknell head coach Courtnay Foster. “Kovac has been ready to step in the batter’s box for weeks and it’s paying off for her.”

Jena Cozza lifted UMass to the win, driving in all three of the team’s runs. She led off the game with a solo home run to center field and later added a two-run double in the fifth inning that put the Minutemen up 3-0.

Fazio led off the sixth inning with a triple, her second of the season, and scored on Kovac’s drive over the left field fence that cut the deficit to one run. The home run came with two outs and was followed by a walk by Anna Gimmestad, but she remained on first base. The Bison went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Kovac’s three hits led the way for the Bison, while Fazio, Chaylen Andolino, Jacee Almond and Wan had one hit apiece. Almond’s hit was a pinch-hit double in the fifth inning.

East Carolina 8, Bucknell 3
Bucknell used big innings to notch a pair of wins the day before, including one over East Carolina, but it was the Pirates who turned the tables on the Bison thanks to a six-run fourth inning on Saturday. The Pirates eight runs came on eight hits, but they took advantage of nine walks .

Sloan Bradford paced the offensive attack for East Carolina, which improved to 5-4, going 2-for-4 with a grand slam in the fourth inning. The clutch hit came with two outs in the inning.

Bucknell cut the deficit in half with three runs in the top of the fifth, all of which came with two outs. Fazio scored on a wild pitch, while Andolino scored on a single by Kovac. But East Carolina put the game away with two insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Bucknell concludes play at the ECU Pirate Clash with a third game against East Carolina on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.