PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Bucknell scored two runs in the ninth inning to defeat Massachusetts 11-9 Friday at North Charlotte Regional Park. The Bison opened the three-game set with a 17-5 loss to the Minutemen on Thursday, but rebounded with 15 hits to even the series.
Nine different Bison recorded a hit, including Luke Johnson, who went 4-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored. Brett Smith, JohnPaul Bell and Danny Rafferty each recorded two hits and two RBIs apiece in the win.
Jack Simpson started on the mound for Bucknell, but was replaced following 4.1 innings after being charged with eight earned runs. Mike Castellani (1.0 IP), Nate Grisius (1.0 IP), Matt Shobe (0.2 IP) and Mike Stephens (2.0 IP) were exceptional in relief, limiting Massachusetts to five hits and just one run in the final 4.2 innings. Stephens was credited with the win.
The Bison, who were held without a run until the eighth inning Friday, scored six runs in their first plate appearance. Bell reached base on a single and advanced to second following a walk by Rafferty. Sam Clark singled up the middle to score Bell and advance Rafferty to third. Johnson singled to left field to score Rafferty and advance Clark, who scored after Tyler Wincig drew a bases loaded walk. Alex Baumann scored Johnson with a single, while Chuckie Scales advanced Keifer Rawlings around the bases. Wincig scored the final run of the inning following a fielder’s choice by Smith.
Massachusetts (4-6) scored three runs in the fourth inning and plated five more in the fifth to take an 8-6 lead.
Bucknell (7-8) regained the lead with three runs in the sixth inning, fueled by a two-run triple from Bell. The Minutemen knotted the contest 9-9 with a run in the seventh.
Wincig and Evan Klugerman drew back-to-back walks to open the ninth inning. Following a strikeout, Smith singled up the middle to score the go-ahead run. Later in the inning, Rafferty doubled to left field to score Klugerman.
Brooks Knapek started on the hill for Massachusetts, but was pulled after the first inning. The Minutemen used five relievers in the loss.
Bucknell will wrap up its three-game series against Massachusetts Saturday at 9 a.m.