LEWISBURG, Pa. – Anthony Gingerelli drove in four runs and Bucknell batted around in both the third and sixth innings as the Bison earned a split of Sunday’s doubleheader against Holy Cross at Depew Field with a 7-3 victory in game two. The win clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament for Bucknell, which equaled the program record for Patriot League wins with 15.
Holy Cross (13-31, 4-14) won the seven-inning game one as starting pitcher Nate Walker took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and pitched the complete game two-hit shutout.
Bucknell’s (25-17-1, 15-5 PL) regular season is now complete and the Bison will be the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2009. They have their most wins in a season since 2011 and won four of their five Patriot League series this spring.
“I am proud of this team,” mentioned Bucknell head coach Scott Heather after game two clinched the top seed. “We answered the bell a number of times this year. Today we lost the first game, but found a way to bounce back and win the second.”
Bucknell, which won three of the four games in the weekend series, and Holy Cross combined for 10 runs in game two, but the two teams scored in only three different innings as the Crusaders plated three runs in the top of the third and the Bison answered with three in the bottom of the frame. Bucknell then broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by a three-run double off the bat of Gingerelli.
The Bison batted around in the third and the rally began with a one-out single from Danny Rafferty, who had a career-high three hits in the contest. Alex O’Neill and Greg Wasikowski followed with walks to load the bases. RBI singles by Brett Smith and Joe Ogren sandwiched around a Gingerelli sac fly evened the score at 3-3.
The Bucknell bats got going again in the sixth as nine hitters stepped to the plate once again. Carter Austin, Rafferty and O’Neill had three straight singles to load the bases. Wasikowski drew a bases-loaded walk from reliever Jon Escobar and two batters later Gingerelli hit a ball down the right field line that cleared the bases and staked the Bison to a 7-3 lead.
Holy Cross used five pitchers in game two and Escobar (0-4) was tagged with the loss. He was charged with four runs on three hits without recording an out. The other four Crusader pitchers yielded seven hits, three walks and three runs while striking out seven.
Xavier Hammond (3-4) continued Bucknell’s lengthy performances by its starting pitchers as he logged 8.0 innings and scattered eight hits while striking out five. He did not walk a batter, marking the fourth start in which he has not issued a base on balls this season. The only runs against Hammond and reliever Tom Hrabchak, who pitched the ninth inning, came in the third inning when Holy Cross plated three runs with a two-run single by Brandon Cipolla the big blow.
Walker was the story of game one as he was two outs shy of a no-hitter before Sam Clark broke it up with a rolling single through the right side. Carter Austin followed with a hard-hit single to center. Walker then retired Justin Meier to end the game. Bucknell’s only other baserunners came on two hit by pitches and one walk.
Bison starter Andrew Andreychik (5-4) has been strong all year, but especially during Patriot League play. However, the Crusaders touched him for two runs in the first on three singles and two more in the third when they sent eight men to the plate thanks to three hits, a walk and a hit by pitch. Evan Ocello had three hits and Cipolla two for Holy Cross, which outhit Bucknell 9-2.
Andreychik pitched 6.0 innings and settled down over the second half of his day, yielding just two singles and one runner reaching on an error over his final three frames. He struck out four and walked one.
Max Kra pitched the scoreless seventh inning for the Bison, lowering his season ERA to 2.45.
“They’re quality people,” mentioned Heather about the senior class members. “They worked hard all four years. They’re all about winning and it is great to see them go out on top.”
Bucknell will be idle until the best-of-three Patriot League semifinal series May 10-11 at Depew Field. The Bison will take on fourth-seeded Navy at Depew Field. Bucknell swept a four-game series from the Mids in late March.