DURHAM, N.C. -- For the second straight day the Bucknell baseball team took the game all the way into the late innings against Duke, but the bottom of the eighth once again proved decisive as the Blue Devils plated two runs to snap a 4-4 tie and defeat the Bison 6-4 on Saturday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Evan Klugerman went 3-for-5 with a home run and a double, JohnPaul Bell was 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs batted in, and Evan Madigan singled twice to lead a 10-hit Bucknell attack. Tyler Wincig was the star of the day on the mound, working three scoreless innings of middle relief, striking out three while allowing just a pair of hits.
Bucknell struck first in the top of the second with a two-out rally. Luke Hartman doubled into the right-field corner, and Madigan followed with a single to right to get the Bison on the board. Solo homers by Klugerman and Bell one batter apart in the third made it 3-0.
Bison starter Jeff Gottesman, who turned in a terrific relief outing at Arkansas last Sunday, was unscathed into the third, but a two-out grand slam over the high wall in left by Zack Kone put the Blue Devils in front 4-3.
While Wincig was dealing on the hill, Bucknell tied it in the fifth thanks to the Klugerman-Bell combo. Klugerman again worked the opposite field, this one for a double off the wall, and after a Luke Johnson walk, Bell singled home Klugerman to knot the game at 4-apiece.
The Bison threatened to take the lead in the eighth inning after Keifer Rawlings walked and Mike Korchak reached on a bunt single to start the frame. Hartman then dropped a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third with one out. But Duke's Matt Mervis came out of the bullpen and recorded a strikeout and fly out to squelch the rally.
Then in the bottom of the inning freshman reliever Brenden Tuttle retired the leadoff man on a pop out, but after a single and a stolen base, Kone logged his fifth RBI of the day with a double into the right-center alley. Duke added an insurance run on a throwing error, and then Jack Labosky worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.
In Friday's series opener, Bucknell trailed 1-0 until Duke scored sixth in the bottom of the eighth to win it 7-0. The Blue Devils have scored eight of their 13 runs in the series in that frame. The Bison have a 16-14 hit advantage in the two games, but will look for their initial win on Sunday when the teams wrap up the three-game set. The game will air on the ACC Network via ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.