March 12, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas - Bucknell softball split a doubleheader with its second straight opponent, defeating Lamar 2-1 before dropping a 3-1 decision at Ford Field on Tuesday afternoon. The Bison (5-10) got multi-hit games from more than one player in the pair of contests, including Courtney Conover who went 2-for-3 with the game-winning double in the opener.
Game one went scoreless until the fifth inning when Lamar's Marissa LeJune connected for a home run to center field. If the Cardinals were feeling pretty good about their chances at that point, they had another thing coming. As has become Bucknell's calling card lately, the Bison put together a few late runs that were enough to put them back in contention and eventually earn the win.
Bucknell had peppered five hits through the first five innings, but it wasn't until Mariah Midyette connected for her own bit of leadoff production that the offense had anything to show for it. Midyette singled to left field in the top of the sixth and moved around the bases on a groundout and a fly out. A miscue from the Lamar shortstop allowed the run to score and tied the game at 1-1 with two out.
The game-winning run scored on the next batter as Conover doubled to left. That brought home Colie Escobar, who had reached on the earlier error. Bucknell's 2-1 lead held from that point on and the Bison had their third win in four games.
Conover now has three doubles in her career, all of them coming this season. Her .321 batting average also ranks first on the team this spring.
Bucknell got some solid pitching from Amanda Fazio throughout the game and particularly down the stretch to hang on for the victory. Working with just a one-run lead, Fazio (4-4) retired the side in the bottom of the sixth and faced one base runner in the seventh. Stephanie Meeuwsen singled and got herself into scoring position, but Lamar was unable to bring home the tying run.
Fazio pitched her second career complete game, giving up one earned run on six hits. She also struck out four in the outing. Lamar's Tina Schulz (4-4) also pitched a complete game and took the loss despite not giving up an earned run. She gave up eight hits and struck out nine.
Just as was the case in yesterday's split at Houston Baptist, Bucknell was unable to complete the sweep after a brief letdown in game two. On Tuesday, Lamar struck first two runs in the second inning as Ashley McDowell hit a two-run double with two outs.
That extra-base hit gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead that was good enough to secure the final win despite Bucknell's putting up a run in the top of the fourth. Erin Cox, who hit 1-for-3 in game one, registered another single in the nightcap, this one scoring Cassie Greenhawk to break up Lamar's shutout bid.
Cox finished the game 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI at the plate. Kristen Zahn added two more singles, going 2-for-2 at the plate. Cheyanna Young pinch hit for Zahn in the seventh and earned herself a double, making the eighth spot in the lineup 3-for-3 in the game.
Despite allowing only two earned runs, Dana Nielsen took the loss. Nielsen (1-5) gave up two hits but walked five in 2.1 innings of work. Lamar's Shannon Millman (6-5) earned the win allowing the one run on five hits in 6.2 innings.
Bucknell will be back in action tomorrow at McNeese State. The Bison and the Cowgirls will square off at 6 p.m. Eastern at Lake Charles, La.