EASTON, Pa. – Behind the powerful right arm of Connor Van Hoose and the speedy legs of Chuckie Scales, the Bucknell baseball team defeated Lafayette 7-1 in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at Kamine Stadium. The nightcap was halted in a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth as thunderstorms rolled through the area, and the game will have to be replayed in its entirety at a later date if it has bearing on the Patriot League standings.
The game-one victory moved the Bison to 12-9 in the Patriot League, and it inched them closer to clinching one of the four Patriot League Tournament berths. Fifth-place Lehigh split a doubleheader with Navy on Saturday, moving the Mountain Hawks to 6-13. Bucknell has a “magic number” of one to guarantee finishing ahead of Lehigh. The two teams will meet for a twin bill on Sunday in Bethlehem. First pitch is slated for noon, with coverage on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv.
Scales was the catalyst for the Bison against the Leopards. In the two games he went 5-for-6 and scored after all five of his hits. Evan Madigan swatted three RBI doubles, two of them coming in game one, and Tyler Wincig and Luke Hartman also collected three hits on the day.
Game 1: Bucknell 7, Lafayette 1
Scales set the table from the nine-spot in the order, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored, and Van Hoose earned his seventh win of the season with yet another double-digit strikeout performance, leading Bucknell to a 7-1 win in the seven-inning opener.
Madigan stroked a pair of RBI doubles, and Hartman tripled for the second game in a row as part of a two-hit performance to help pace Bucknell’s 10-hit attack.
Going into the third inning, Bucknell had yet to get much going offensively against Lafayette starter Brett Kreyer. But Scales led off with a bunt single, moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Madigan and scored on a double by Wincig.
Hartman tripled leading off the fourth and scored on a deep fly ball by Evan Klugerman the first of three sac flies in the game for the Bison.
This was Van Hoose’s first start since his no-hitter last week against Lehigh. There would be no such history this time, as the Leopards collected eight hits in the game, including Spencer Rouse’s RBI triple in the fourth. But Van Hoose did well to maintain the 2-1 lead, inducing a comebacker to the mound and a strikeout to end the inning.
Van Hoose fanned 11 in the game, his fifth double-digit strikeout performance of the year. He upped his season K total to 97, which ties his own total from 2017 as the second-highest in school history. Don Richards struck out 140 in 1955.
After Van Hoose escaped trouble in the fourth, the bats quickly got back to work and nabbed two insurance runs in the fifth. Again it was Scales leading it off with an infield hit. He went all the way over to third on an errant pickoff throw, and then he trotted home on Madigan’s opposite-field double. One out later, Madigan scored on a sac fly by Luke Johnson.
In the sixth, Hartman led off with a single and went to second on Klugerman’s bunt. Keifer Rawlings lined a single to left to put runners at the corners, and then Alex Baumann greeted reliever Tyler Faccenda with a sac fly. Scales delivered another run with an RBI single, and then after he stole second, Madigan doubled him home.
Lafayette loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on two infield hits and a walk, but Van Hoose again got out of trouble by striking out Quentin Bubb and retiring .351 hitter John Marti on a fly ball.
Van Hoose picked up strikeouts 10 and 11 in the seventh to close it out and improve to 7-4 on the season. In Patriot League play, he is now 6-1 with a 0.57 ERA and 66 strikouts in 47.0 innings over seven starts.
Game 2: Bucknell 3, Lafayette 3 (game called due to weather in bottom of 6th)
Scales logged two more hits and scored two more runs, and Wincig had two hits and two RBIs to help stake game-two starter Jack Simpson to a 3-1 lead. But Lafayette scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game just as a thunderstorm rolled in and eventually forced the cancellation of the game.
Just after Simpson escaped a major jam in the bottom of the second, Bucknell got on the board in the top of the third. Once again it was Scales setting the table. He led off the frame with a single and later scored on Wincig’s base hit back through the box.
Lafayette tied it in the bottom of the third when Marti led off with a double and scored on a single by Trey Durrah. Simpson induced a 6-3 double play to take the wind out of the Leopards’ rally.
In the fourth, Bucknell had two outs and nobody on after a caught stealing, but Scales recorded his fifth straight hit and stole second. Madigan and Wincig followed with back-to-back RBI doubles, the latter coming when the Lafayette second-baseman misplayed a wind-blown pop up.
Meanwhile, Simpson seemed to be cruising right along, retiring eight straight Leopards before running into trouble in the sixth. A breaking pitch hit Durrah in the foot to start the inning, and Durrah moved all the way to third after a passed ball and a wild pitch. Luke Robinson walked and stole second, and then both runs scored on Richard Villa’s double into the right-center alley. Stephen Cohen moved the runner up to third with a ground ball, but then a flash of lightning halted play.