TOWSON, Md. – Meghan Kovac hit a three-run home run to give Bucknell an early lead, and the Bison held on for a 12-9 win over Quinnipiac in a non-conference softball game Saturday at the Towson Softball Complex. The game was the first of four scheduled for the Bison at the Towson Invite.
Bucknell improved to 5-6 and will look to even its record when it continues play at the event today. It won’t be an easy task, though, as the Bison will take on defending Big East regular season champion St. John’s at 3 p.m. Quinnipiac dropped to 1-5.
Kovac’s home run highlighted a four-run inning for Bucknell. Despite a strong wind blowing in, the senior crushed one to the opposite field, hitting it over the right-center field fence for her third long ball of the year. It was the 15th of her career, tying her with Kristen Zahn (2012-15) for third in program history.
Lauren Hadley led off the game with a walk, and Halie Mariano followed with a single to set the table for Kovac. Later in the inning, Anna Gimmestad singled home Marisa Alemany to give the Bison a four-run lead.
Kovac struck again with an RBI single in the second inning to give Bucknell a 5-0 lead. Apparently the Bobcats had seen enough of the Bison slugger as they would go on to issue her intentional walks in the third and fifth innings. First base was open in the third inning, but there was a runner on first with two outs when they gave her the intentional free pass in the fifth.
The run in the second was a product of a great at-bat and base-running by Paulina Gutkin. The senior fouled off numerous pitches before drawing a leadoff walk. She then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Kovac’s two-out single.
The Bison kept it going with a four-run third inning, and as it turned out they would need all of those extra runs. Taylor Wolfgang and Gimmestad had back-to-back RBI doubles, while Julienne Egofske singled in a run and Hadley drove one in with a triple.
That gave Bucknell a 9-1 lead. The Bison would go up eight runs again, 11-3, after scoring twice in the top of the fifth, but Quinnipiac avoided the mercy rule with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning.
But the Bobcats weren’t done. They would get as close as two, 11-9, after scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Lauren Lichtenwalner, who started the game for Bucknell and pitched the first three innings, came back on in the seventh with a three-run lead and secured the win with a 1-2-3 inning.
Lichtenwalner also did her part at the plate with a pair of singles. She was one of four Bucknell players with multiple hits. Gimmestad led the way with three, while Mariano and Kovac finished with two apiece. Hadley, Wolfgang, and Egofske each added one hit.
Lichtenwalner totaled four innings in the circle. She gave up two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out three.
Erin Larsen was the top-hitter for Quinnipiac, going 3-for-3 with a single, double, home run, and four RBIs.