April 17, 2013
LORETTO, Pa. - Kristen Zahn and Mary Horton drove in a pair of late runs to bring Bucknell softball back for a 4-3 win in the opener at Saint Francis (Pa.) on Wednesday afternoon. The Red Flash returned the favor, however, ending the Bison's five-game winning streak with a comeback 5-4 victory in the nightcap. Zahn finished her day with three runs batted in, including a two-run homer in the second contest of the day, while Horton totaled three hits to go along with her game-winning RBI.
Bucknell (14-25) took a 2-0 lead in game one before Saint Francis (20-20) pulled in front with three unanswered runs. Cassie Greenhawk and Cydnee Sanders had both scored on an infield error in the first inning. The Red Flash later drove in a run with a bases-loaded hit by pitch in the third and took the one-run lead in the fourth with two unearned runs of their own. Three more times in the game they got runners in scoring position, but reliever Cindy Cherness was able to get out of trouble each time.
Saint Francis' pitchers were not so fortunate. Zahn tied up the game with an RBI single to right field, bringing home Greenhawk for her second run scored of the day. Bucknell then regained the lead on another base hit, this one of Horton's bat in the top of the sixth. The senior's shot up the middle scored Escobar and gave the Bison the ultimate 4-3 score.
Greenhawk finished her first game of the day offensively 0-for-2 at the plate with two walks. As a team, the Bison totaled four hits, compared to the Red Flash's six. Horton, Sanders, Zahn and Cheyanna Young were each credited with a hit.
Cherness (1-1) collected her first career win in the pitchers' circle after replacing Amanda Fazio. The freshman threw 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. She gave up three hits and struck out three. Fazio's day ended after 3.1 innings. She allowed one earned run, struck out one and walked three.
With the win, Bucknell extended its winning streak to five games. That was the longest winning stretch since mid-April 2010.
Chelsea Rex took the loss for Saint Francis, allowing two earned runs on three hits. She was replaced by Ketarah DeVries, who went1.2 innings in relief before coming back for the start in the nightcap. The quick turnaround did not seem to benefit the Red Flash pitcher who allowed three runs to the Bison in the top of the first inning. Horton led off the game with an outfield single and scored on another base-hit to right field from Sanders. Zahn then teed off for a home run to right field, setting the score at 3-0 before Saint Francis even made it to the plate.
Just as they had done earlier, the Red Flash began mounting a comeback in the middle innings. A trio of singles in the third gave them their first run and two more scored in the fifth.
With the game tied 3-3, Cherness again held Saint Francis scoreless for two innings. That gave Bucknell enough time to recapture its lead in the sixth when Colie Escobar singled down the left field line for her first RBI of the day.
Cherness' day of relief came to a close in the seventh after giving up a double. Cherness went 2.1 innings with one earned run on four hits. After the double, Cherness gave the ball back to the starter Dana Nielsen. Nielsen, who was named the ECAC Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday, could not regain her touch as gave up back-to-back hits to Kate Blattenberge and Rex. Each one resulted in an RBI and ended Bucknell's night with a 5-4 loss.
Nielsen (5-12) totaled 4.1 innings. The freshman gave up four runs on eight hits and struck out one. DeVries allowed four runs on seven hits in her complete game, improving to 14-12 on the year.
Bucknell and Saint Francis will meet one more time this season. The teams will play a second doubleheader on April 24 at Becker Field. First, however, the Bison will head to West Point, N.Y., for a pair of doubleheaders at Army this weekend. First pitch on Saturday is set for 1 p.m., while Sunday's action has moved to 12:30 p.m.