Bucknell Baseball Splits with Army in Patriot League Opener
March 29, 2008
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Bucknell baseball team opened its Patriot League schedule on Saturday afternoon, taking game one at Army by a convincing 10-5 score before suffering a heartbreaking 9-8 loss in 13 innings in game two. Following the split, the Bison are now 11-10-2 overall, 1-1 in the PL, while the Black Knights sit at 6-14 and 1-1 in league play.
Army began game one with a 3-0 lead as Andy Ernesto and Cole White scored in the first after reaching with back-to-back base hits. Ernesto came home on an error and White crossed the plate on an RBI single by J.P. Polchinski. Then in the third, Ernesto led off with a walk and later scored on an error.
However, Bucknell struck for seven runs on seven hits in the top of the fourth to pull in front, 7-4. Sophomore Ben Allen (Port Royal, Pa./Juniata) drove in senior Chris Pieper (Port Washington, N.Y../Schreiber) with a single to left field. Sophomore Ben Yoder (Belleville, Pa./Indian Valley) plated seniors Ed Rubbo (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) and Shawn Hirsch (Morristown, N.J./Morristown) and junior Dane Grandizio (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg) collected two RBI with a single up the middle that scored Allen and Yoder. Then to cap off the inning, sophomore John Avanzino (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) blasted a two-run home run to left field.
The Bison increased their advantage to 8-4 in the fifth as Pieper began the frame with a double down the left field line and crossed the plate on an RBI single by Rubbo.
The Black Knights took the run back in their next turn at-bat with single by White that brought in Clint Moore.
Then in the top of the sixth, the Orange and Blue countered with two more as Avanzino collected his second home run of the contest, a two-run shot that scored senior Mark Angelo (Quaketown, Pa./Quakertown).
Army tallied the final run of the contest in the bottom of the seventh. Ernesto reached with a one-out single and was brought in by Kevin McKague with a double down the left field line.
Senior Jason Buursma (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside School) tossed a complete game for Bucknell, allowing five runs, two earned, on 10 hits with two walks and a career-high eight strikeouts to improve to 4-0 on the season. Drew Clothier took the loss for the Black Knights (2-3), working all seven innings and allowing 10 runs on 14 hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
In game two, Army rallied from a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings and won the contest after scoring three with two out in the 13th.
The Black Knights began game two with a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Mike Greco in the second and Tony Capozzi scored on a double steal play in the third.
With two swings of the bat, the Bison erased the deficit with back-to-back home runs by Buursma and Avanzino in the fourth. Buursma's marked his ninth of the season and pulled him within one of tying the Bucknell record as it was his 20th of his career.
The Orange and Blue went on to take the lead with three in the fifth. After Yoder scored on a wild pitch, Angelo and Buursma came home courtesy of a double to center by Avanzino.
Army pulled to within two following a one-out home run by Moore in the fifth, but the Bison extended their advantage back out to three in the top of the ninth. Allen led off with a walk and crossed the plate on an error, with Angelo collecting an RBI on the play.
The insurance run was not enough, however as a three-run homer by Moore extended the contest for the Black Knights.
Bucknell scored twice in the top of the 13th with sophomore Andrew Brouse (Kreamer, Pa./Midd-West) crossing the plate on a single by Allen, while Allen eventually came home on an error.
Down to its last out with no runners on, Army rallied for three runs. The first came in on a single by Moore, while the tying and winning runs were driven in by Andy Ernesto with a triple to left center.
Freshman Eric Jarrett (Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore) worked eight innings and struck out a season-best eight batters, but did not earn a decision for the Orange and Blue. Sophomore Andrew Clarke (Montgomery, Texas/Montgomery) took the loss for the Bison (0-2) after allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and no strikeouts. McKague picked up the win for the Black Knights (1-0) he allowed two unearned runs on two hits in one inning of work.
Avanzino led the Bison at the plate on the day, finishing 5-for-10 with three home runs, a double, six RBI and three runs scored. Grandizio went 4-for-11 with two RBI and a run scored.
The teams will be back in action tomorrow, Sunday, Mar. 29, as Bucknell will finish out its four-game series with Army beginning at 1 p.m. on Doubleday Field.