WORCESTER, Mass. – Bucknell dropped both games of a key Patriot League softball doubleheader at Holy Cross on Saturday at Freshman Field. Both games were decided by one run, with the Bison falling 4-3 in the first game and 2-1 in the second.
That sets up a huge third game in the series between the teams, which will be played on Sunday at noon. Bucknell (25-17, 6-8 PL) and Holy Cross (11-25, 6-8 PL) are tied for the fourth and final spot in the Patriot League Tournament with four games to play, but the Bison close the regular season against defending champion Boston University, while the Crusaders wrap up with three games against Lafayette, the sixth-place team in the standings.
Nine of Bucknell's losses this season have come by just one run, including four of its eight losses in league play.
Game 1 – Holy Cross 4, Bucknell 3
Bucknell scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning and had the game-tying run on third, but couldn't quite complete the rally in a 4-3 loss in the first game at Holy Cross.
After both teams stranded the bases loaded in the first inning, Holy Cross eventually struck first with a run in the bottom of the third. Bucknell quickly responded with a run in the top of the fourth. Freshman Lauren Lichtenwalner came through with the game-tying hit. Lichtenwalner, who entered the game with just five at-bats, recorded the first hit and first RBI of her career with a single up the middle that scored freshman Julienne Egofske.
Egofske and Andolino helped get things rolling prior to Lichtenwalner's clutch hit, hitting back-to-back one-out singles. Bucknell nearly had a bigger inning in the fourth, but a potential opposite-field hit right down the left-field line by Carolyn Wan was ruled foul. The Bison coaches made their case that the ball landed in fair territory, which would have plated the go-ahead run from third, but the call was upheld after appeal.
Holy Cross scored once in the fifth inning and twice in the sixth to take a three-run lead. One of the runs was unearned on a costly error in the sixth.
Lichtenwalner had two of Bucknell's five hits. Egofske also had two singles, while Andolino added one.
Game 2 – Holy Cross 2, Bucknell 1
Holy Cross erased a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take game two 2-1 and complete the twinbill sweep.
Bucknell manufactured a run to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Freshman Ryanne Rokos led off with a single, and then advanced to second on a fielder's choice groundball by Lauren Hadley when she beat the throw to second base. After the runners stole third and second, Rokos scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Paulina Gutkin.
Holy Cross scored twice in the fifth, including a go-ahead RBI single by Taylor Moss with two outs.
Christina Martinez, Gutkin and Rokos had hits for the Bison.