WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The Bucknell baseball team wrapped up its seven-game trip to Florida with a 6-5 comeback victory over Northwestern Saturday at Chain of Lakes Stadium. It marked the second time in the last three years, and third time in the last five years, the Bison concluded their weeklong stay in Florida with a win over the Wildcats. Bucknell has defeated a Big Ten foe in Florida in four of the last five seasons.
After allowing three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning, Bison starting pitcher Bryson Hough (2-2) settled down and yielded four hits and two runs over his final seven innings. He retired the final nine hitters he faced and gave way to Tucker Rekucki in the ninth with Bucknell (7-8-1) holding a 6-5 lead. Rekucki kept the Wildcats off the board and recorded his third save of the season.
The Bison scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning, breaking a 5-5 tie. Rob Krentzman led off the frame with a single and then scored on an error by the right fielder when the next hitter, Anthony Gingerelli, singled to right. It was one of three unearned runs in the game for the Bison, who tallied seven hits in the contest.
Northwestern (3-14) took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but Bucknell chipped away over the next few innings. Krentzman’s one-out single in the second put him in position to score on an error by the first baseman later in the frame, while Joe Ogren led off the third being hit by a pitch. He stole second and later came home on a ground out by Justin Meier.
The Bison took their first lead when they plated three runs in the fourth. Gingerelli and Mark Powell led off with back-to-back singles and later came around to score, while Ryan Otis reached on an error and scored on a ground out by Spencer Stokes, who was 6-for-19 this week.
Northwestern evened the score in the top of the sixth when Jack Mitchell led off with a double and scored on a sac fly. His double was the second-to-last hit in the game for the Wildcats.
Northwestern used four pitchers in the game with most of Bucknell’s damage done against starter Jack Livingston, who gave up four hits, five runs and three walks in three-plus innings of work. Jack Quigley (0-3) was tagged with the loss for giving up the go-ahead run in the eighth.
"Overall I am pleased with our effort this week," said Bison head coach Scott Heather. "We made a lot of mistakes, but also played well at times. It was just good to be out on the field every day getting reps. This week, as always, will go a long way in helping us prepare to compete in league play, which is just around the corner."
Bucknell completed its spring break trip to Florida with a 3-3-1 record. The Bison will return to Lewisburg on Sunday and will next be in action Wednesday at Mount St. Mary’s at 3 p.m.