DURHAM, N.C. – JohnPaul Bell and Miles Moore homered as part of a 12-hit attack, but the Bucknell baseball team dropped a 13-5 decision to Duke in the last of a three-game series on Sunday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Zack Kone had three hits and three runs batted in, giving him eight RBIs in the last two games, and Joey Loperfido drove in five, including a three-run triple to power Duke (2-5). Luke Johnson, Tyler Wincig and Luke Hartman notched two hits apiece for the Bison (0-6), who have been swept by a pair of top teams in Arkansas and Duke to start the season.
There were a number of positives for Bucknell in this series even though the Bison could not garner a victory. They trailed 1-0 into the eighth inning of the opener after a stellar start from Connor Van Hoose, before Duke tacked on six runs to break it open. Saturday’s game was tied at 4-4 until the Blue Devils rallied for two in the eighth. Bucknell led 2-0 early and had runners all over the basepaths on Sunday, but Duke got its bats going as well and won a slugfest. Bucknell outhit Duke 28-24 in the series.
A Dominic Toso sacrifice fly in the second and Bell’s solo homer in the third gave the Bison the 2-0 lead, although they would lament standing five men on base in the first two frames. Meanwhile, Bison starter Jack Simpson retired the first seven batters of the game, but in the bottom of the third, Max Miller drew a one-out walk, stole second, and scored on a Loperfido single. Two batters later, Kone swatted a three-run homer over the high wall in left to give the Blue Devils a 4-2 lead.
Duke tacked on another four-spot in the fourth, and after Hartman hit a two-out, two-run double off the top of the left-field wall in the fifth, the Blue Devils answered with three in the bottom half to go up 11-4.
Moore came on as a pinch-hitter leading off the sixth, and he blasted a shot off the Tobacco Road restaurant well over the “Blue Monster” wall in left, not far from the famed bull sign at the Durham Bulls’ home park. It was Moore’s first collegiate homer and the fourth in the last two days for Bucknell. The Bison had six extra-base hits on Sunday, including the circuit clouts from Moore and Bell.
Coach Scott Heather worked in 17 position players seven pitchers in the series finale. Hunter Robichaux, Christian Tailor and Nate Grisius all turned in scoreless relief outings. The seven Bison pitchers combined to strike out 11 Blue Devils.
Bucknell will return to the state of North Carolina next week for a three-game series at North Carolina A&T March 2-4. The Aggies are 3-4 on the season after taking two of three from Lehigh this weekend.