Home Runs, Strong Pitching Power Bucknell Baseball to Doubleheader Sweep of Army
March 28, 2009
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell smashed five home runs and received a pair of strong pitching performances as it swept a baseball doubleheader from Army Saturday at Depew Field. The Bison won game one 2-1 behind a complete game five-hitter from Trey Frahler (Northfield, Ill./New Trier) and a two-run home run by Andrew Loucks (Mississauga, Ontario/Appleby College). In game two, Ben Yoder (Belleville, Pa./Indian Valley) hit two home runs and Chris Yamaguchi (Lincroft, N.J./Middletown South) limited the Black Knights to two runs on eight hits in eight innings to improve to 4-0 this season as Bucknell triumphed 18-2.
Bucknell (10-12, 2-0 Patriot League) has opened its Patriot League campaign 2-0 for the first time since 2007 and just the second time in the last five years. The 18 runs in game two marked the most for the Bison against Army since they defeated the Black Knights 19-1 in 2000. It was also the most runs for Bucknell opposite a Patriot League foe since they defeated Navy 18-7 in 2005.
In stark contrast to the offensive explosion in game two, game one was a low-scoring affair. The Bison managed just two hits and three baserunners against Army starter Matt Fouch (2-2). Loucks, who also hit a home run in the second game, followed a Doug Shribman (Marblehead, Mass./Belmont School) leadoff walk in the fifth with a home run to left field, ruining Fouch's shutout and giving Bucknell a 2-0 lead.
Frahler nearly matched Fouch, sending the Black Knights down in order three times and yielding just five hits as he fired his first career complete game. Army (8-10, 0-2 PL) had just one runner reach base before the seventh, and final, inning.
Frahler, who struck out three, did have to work out of a jam in the top of the seventh to preserve the victory. A one-out throwing error by shortstop Ben Allen (Port Royal, Pa./Juniata) allowed Ben Koenigsfeld to reach base. J.P. Polchinski followed with a double to right field, putting the tying run in scoring position. Frahler got Kyle Fleming to fly out to center for the second out, but it also scored Koenigsfeld from third. After a walk to pinch hitter Tony Capozzi, Frahler got leadoff hitter Zach Price to ground out to second to end the quickly played game in 1 hour, 35 minutes.
Game two was a low-scoring affair through three innings with a solo home run by Yoder, who left the game in the seventh with a leg injury, accounting for the only run during the early frames.
Army plated two runs in the top of the fourth on back-to-back RBI singles by Fleming and J.T. Watkins to take its only lead in the doubleheader, but it would not record another hit the rest of the way off Yamaguchi and Russell Seidell (Granville, Ohio/Granville), who pitched a perfect ninth inning.
Yamaguchi, who saw his Patriot League-leading ERA dip to 2.45, yielded just eight hits, all in the first four innings, and struck out five. The senior has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his four career starts.
The Bucknell offense got into gear in the fourth inning and scored multiple runs in five consecutive innings, including six in the sixth when 10 batters went to the plate and combined for four extra base hits, two hit by pitches and one walk. A bases-loaded triple by Shribman and a leadoff solo home run by Loucks, who is hitting a robust .440 this year, were the big blows in the inning.
Shribman tied the game in the fourth inning when he smacked his fourth home run of the season, a one-out solo shot to left. After a Loucks triple, a Bob Donato (Williamsport, Pa./Williamsport) single gave Bucknell the lead for good.
The Bison added three runs in the fifth to take a 6-2 advantage when Yoder hit his second home run of the game, a three-run shot to center that carried very well. It was Yoder's second two home run-game of the year and he now has a team-best five on the year. He left the game 2-for-4 with three runs scored and four runs batted in.
With its six-run sixth, Bucknell broke the game open, but still added on two more runs in the seventh inning and four in the eighth. Back-to-back bases-loaded walks by David Duffett (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) and Andrew Brouse (Kreamer, Pa./Midd-West), who also drove in a run in the sixth when he was hit by a pitch when the bases were loaded, gave the Bison a 14-2 cushion in the seventh.
In the eighth Bucknell once again loaded the bases and Dane Grandizio (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg), Duffett and Brouse had consecutive RBI singles. Both Grandizio and Brouse drove in one with their hits, while Duffett's short pop-up landed in front of the right fielder while Zachary Brown (Stroudsburg, Pa./Notre Dame) and Allen scampered home. It was the first career hit for Duffett, who combined with Yoder to produce seven RBIs from the third spot in the lineup.
In all, 10 Bison recorded hits in the second game. The 3-4-5 positions in the batting order (Yoder/Duffett, Brouse, Shribman) drove in 14 of the 18 runs. Shribman, who was 2-for-6, tied Yoder for team-high honors with four runs batted in. Brouse, who entered the weekend leading the Patriot League in RBIs, totaled three more on Saturday, pushing his season total to 28.
Loucks, who had his first two career home runs Saturday, was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. He came just a double shy of becoming the second Bucknell player this year to hit for the cycle. He has now posted three games with at least three hits in the last 11 days.
Bret Sokirka (Wyoming, Pa./Wyoming Area), who had a single in both ends of the doubleheader, was the only Bison other than Loucks to record a hit in both games Saturday. He has now hit in a team-best four consecutive games. His batting average now stands at a solid .291.
With its doubleheader sweep of Army, the team predicted to finish first in the Patriot League Preseason Poll, Bucknell is now 13-4 against the Black Knights since the beginning of 2006. The Bison are 7-2 against last year's Patriot League regular season champions over the last two years.
Bucknell and Army will wrap up their four-game series Sunday at noon at Depew Field. Live audio of the doubleheader will be broadcast on 90.5 WVBU and SportsJuice.com. Prior to game one, 28th-year Bison head coach Gene Depew will be honored for his 500th career win, which he registered earlier this month.