Setting the Scene, Part 1
Who: Bucknell (14-23, 11-9 PL) at Lafayette (13-29, 2-15 PL)
When: Saturday, Apr. 28, 12 p.m. (DH)
Where: Kamine Stadium, Easton, Pa.
Watch Live: Patriot League Network
Live Stats: GoLeopards.com: Game 1 | Game 2
Setting the Scene, Part 2
Who: Bucknell (14-23, 11-9 PL) at Lehigh (16-24, 5-12 PL)
When: Sunday, Apr. 29, 12 p.m. (DH)
Where: Walker Field at Legacy Park, Bethlehem, Pa.
Watch Live: Patriot League Network
Live Stats: LehighSports.com
About the Bison
• Bucknell has four scheduled games remaining in the regular season, with away doubleheaders slated for Lafayette on Saturday and Lehigh on Sunday. Both twin bills begin at noon and will be carried on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv. The Bison did have a game rained out at Holy Cross on Apr. 15, and that game might need to be made up next week depending on how it would impact the postseason race.
• At 11-9 in Patriot League play, the Bison are currently in a virtual tie for third place with Holy Cross (9-7). Both teams are 3.5 games behind first-place Navy (15-6), but the Crusaders have a slightly higher winning percentage based on fewer games played at this point. Bucknell wraps up its regular season a week earlier than some other teams in the league due to its final exams schedule.
• Army West Point is 12-5 in the league and in second place after being swept by Navy in a three-game series last week. Meanwhile, fifth-place Lehigh (5-12) needs a big final push to move into a top-four spot and earn a Patriot League Tournament berth. The Mountain Hawks host Navy for a doubleheader on Saturday before the Bison come in on Sunday.
• Bucknell has been idle since taking 2 of 3 from Lehigh last weekend at Depew Field. The Bison were scheduled to play at Penn State on Tuesday, but the two teams were rained out for the second time this season.
• All of the buzz coming out of last week's series with Lehigh was the no-hitter spun by Connor Van Hoose in the series opener. Van Hoose was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week and Bison Athlete of the Week on Monday, and then a day later he was picked by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association as the national Pitcher of the Week. Van Hoose walked two and struck out eight en route to the fifth no-hitter in Bucknell history and the 20th in college baseball this season, which is a new NCAA record.
• Van Hoose has lived up to his billing as Patriot League Preseason Pitcher of the Year. In six conference starts, he is 5-1 with a wee 0.45 ERA. In 40 innings of work, PL foes are hitting just .123 against him, and he has fanned 55. For the full season, Van Hoose ranks 13th nationally with 87 strikeouts. His 12.77 strikeouts per nine innings are 20th-best in Division I baseball, while his 5.72 hits per nine innings ranks 27th.
• Jeff Gottesman is also enjoying a terrific 2018 campaign, and he forms a potent 1-2 starting pitching duo with Van Hoose. The Bison are 7-1 in their last eight Saturday games with those two taking the hill. Gottesman is 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA on the season.
• Freshmen Brenden Tuttle and Dominic Toso have both been impact players in recent weeks. Tuttle has assumed the closer's role, and in four appearances in Patriot League play he has three saves and has yet to allow a run. PL opponents are hitting .091 against him, and he is striking out just under two per inning. Toso has been used as the designated hitter for most of the season, and the Bison are 7-3 since he was moved into the cleanup spot in the batting order. Toso is hitting .285 on the season with a team-best .463 slugging percentage. He ranks sixth in the Patriot League in slugging.
• Luke Johnson continues to lead the team in hitting with a .328 average, fifth-best in the Patriot League. That mark rises to .370 with runners in scoring position. Earlier this season Johnson had a streak of 20 straight games reaching base. Evan Klugerman has the team's top active streak with 11 straight.
• Luke Hartman continues to reach base at a hefty clip, often via the base on balls. Hartman has drawn 34 walks this season, the most in the Patriot League and 20th-most in the country. Tyler Wincig, who has collected 29 walks, and Hartman rank 1-2 in the Patriot League in on-base percentage at .457 and .447, respectively. As a team, Bucknell ranks 65th out of 297 Division I teams with 184 bases on balls.
Scouting Lafayette/Series Record
• Lafayette fell 8-1 to Penn State at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown on Wednesday, and the Leopards will be looking to shake a five-game losing streak when Bucknell comes in on Saturday. Lafayette has dropped 14 straight Patriot League games since opening the league slate by taking 2 of 3 from Lehigh at the end of March.
• John Marti paces the offense with a .345 average, third-best in the Patriot League. Luke Robinson is hitting .288 while slugging .475. Robinson has a team-high four home runs, including the only one hit by a visiting player at Depew Field this season.
• Lefties Brett Kreyer (1-6, 4.94) and John Cain (0-6, 5.21) lead the pitching staff with 10 starts apiece. Kreyer has held opponents to a .230 batting average and has 46 strikeouts in 51.0 innings pitched.
• Lafayette leads the all-time series 114-75 dating back to 1895, although Bucknell has won the last seven meetings. The Bison swept all four games from the Leopards last season, winning 4-1, 6-5, 11-10 and 8-5. Earlier this month, Bucknell swept three from Lafayette by scores of 2-1, 9-5 and 5-1. Van Hoose recorded a complete-game victory in the opener, JohnPaul Bell scoring the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning. Evan Madigan and Chuckie Scales had three-hit games in support of Gottesman in game two, and Jack Grabek tossed six scoreless innings in the series finale. Bucknell outhit Lafayette 25-14 in the series. Bell led the way with a .500 average (5-10), including a home run.
Scouting Lehigh/Series Record
• After dropping 2 of 3 in Lewisburg last weekend, Lehigh split a pair of non-conference games during the week. The Mountain Hawks fell 10-2 to Saint Joseph's on Tuesday, then came back a day later to outslug Coppin State, 11-7.
• Chris Kersey is second to Navy's Zach Biggers in the Patriot League batting race at .354. Kersey is also second in the league with 13 doubles. Tony Gallo (.309) is also over .300, and James Bleming is hitting .273 with a team-high 27 RBIs.
• Lehigh features some quality arms, led by Levi Stoudt with a 3.16 ERA in 10 starts this season. Peter Woltersdorf has been the top reliever, with a 3.07 ERA in 13 appearances.
• Bucknell has a 99-86 lead in a series that dates back to 1901. The Bison have had the better of play recently, going 23-10 since 2011, including the series win last weekend.
• The Bison took 3 of 4 from the Mountain Hawks last season, winning 3-1, 3-2 and 8-0. Lehigh's win came by a 10-2 count.