Feb. 16, 2013
CLEVELAND - Cheyanna Young drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 10th and Amanda Fazio struck out two in the bottom of the inning to clinch an 8-7 victory for Bucknell softball over St. Bonaventure at the Cleveland State Dome Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The Bison (1-0) scored one run in each of the extra innings to stay alive in their season opener. They will continue play against Cleveland State later this afternoon.
Bucknell had worked its way to a 5-1 lead after five innings, but a four-run sixth for St. Bonaventure (0-5) tied it up. The 5-5 score held until the eighth. Using international tie breaking rules, Cydnee Sanders was placed on second base to start the eighth inning. She scored shortly after as Mallory Lyons drove her in with a single to left field.
The no-out single was Lyons' third hit and third RBI of the game. The junior also had a two-RBI single in the fifth that originally put the Bison in front by four runs.
With Bucknell threatening to win in the eighth, St. Bonaventure knotted things up again with an RBI single of its own. The pattern continued in the ninth inning with Mary Horton connecting for a sacrifice fly that scored Caryn Connors, the runner placed on second. The Bonnies got the run back in the bottom half of the frame on yet another RBI single with one out.
The 10th inning is where play finally went in Bucknell's favor and stayed there, and the final drive was sparked by several Bison freshmen. Mariah Midyette started the inning on second base, advancing to third on a wild pitch from the Bonnies' Carly Bilchak. Lyons then drew a walk and stole second, putting two Bison in scoring position with no outs.
That brought Young to the plate with one hit to her name on the day. The freshman made the most of her plate appearance, recording a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Midyette and put Bucknell in front 8-7. Young finished her debut 1-for-3 with an RBI at the plate while earning a start at catcher.
Young returned behind the plate to help Fazio close out the Bucknell win. The freshman pitcher, who entered the game in relief in the sixth inning, got Ashley Snider and Christine Watson to strike out swinging to start and end the inning. The finish gave Fazio (1-0) her first career decision and in 4.2 innings of work, she did not allow an earned run. She also struck out four.
Fazio's appearance came in relief of fellow rookie Dana Nielsen, who went 5.1 innings before being knocked out in St. Bonaventure's big sixth inning. Nielsen had six strikeouts and gave up the team's only walk while allowing five earned runs in her debut appearance.
Nielsen worked out any early jitters quickly. After allowing a home run to her second batter faced, she struck out the side in the bottom of the second. Nielsen then allowed four just four more base runners until the sixth. That's when the Bonnies' Katie Sinclair connected for a three-run homer that tied the game at five runs apiece. Fazio got Bucknell out of the inning with a ground out and a strikeout.
The bulk of Bucknell's scoring came slightly earlier in the game. Midyette doubled in the fourth, then stole third base and scored on an error by the St. Bonaventure third baseman. That was the first tie of the game, 1-1. The Bison broke the tie the very next inning when Sanders drove in Horton and Lauren Swindell with a single to center field. Sanders later scored on Lyons' own two-RBI single.
Lyons finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate, while Sanders was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. As a team, the Bison tallied 11 hits. The Bonnies closed out the game with 13.
Taking the loss in the pitchers' circle for St. Bonaventure was Bilchak (0-3). She gave up two walks and no earned runs in 1.1 innings. She relieved Julia Pratt, the starter that allowed four earned runs and four walks and struck out two in her 8.2-inning outing.
The win was the first of first-year head coach Bonnie Skrenta's career at Bucknell. She will go for her second later today against the host Cleveland State. The game was originally slated for 3 p.m., but will be pushed back due to the 10-inning game to start the tournament.