Bucknell Softball Clinches Patriot League Tournament Berth with Split Against Army
May 2, 2010
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Elyse Colmenero (Fresno, Calif./Central) hit 3-for-3 and Alex MacLean (Northampton, Pa./Northampton Area) pitched a complete-game shutout, helping Bucknell softball to a 4-0 victory over Army in the second half of a doubleheader at the Bucknell Softball Field on Sunday. The Bison saved the series split after dropping a 2-1 decision in the first contest of the day, bringing their season record to 24-17-1 overall for most wins in more than 15 years. Bucknell also clinches a berth in the Patriot League Tournament with an 11-9 league tally.
The victory helps the Bison reach some team milestones. Bucknell's 24 wins on the season is the most since the team went 27-8 in 1993. The win also secures Bucknell's third consecutive trip to the Patriot League Tournament and its third straight year as the No. 3 seed.
The Black Knights (30-18, 13-5) had the Bison on the ropes after the first game of the day in which Bucknell left eight runners on base. The Bison wasted little time in remedying that in the second game. Sam Rollandi (San Carlos, Calif./Notre Dame Belmont) drew a two-out walk, and Alyssa Okita (Davis, Calif./Davis) followed with a double to put two in scoring position. Colmenero connected for her first hit of the day to score Rollandi and give Bucknell the 1-0 lead.
That advantage held steady until the fifth inning when the Bison added on to their score. Colmenero singled to the left side to lead off the frame. Lauren Trosch (Reisterstown, Md./McDonogh) replaced Colmenero on the base paths and advanced to second on a single from Lauren Fry (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield). Sherry Finkel (Morgantown, W. Va./University) dropped a hit just along the left field line that resulted in a double, scoring Trosch and putting Bucknell ahead 2-0.
The inning continued with a new pitcher in Beverly Nordin. The switch did little for Army as Alison Ford (Suisun City, Calif./Fairfield) walked to load the bases. Shelly McCormack (Humble, Texas/Kingwood) hit a sacrifice fly to score one run, but an error on the play plated another Bison for 4-0.
Nordin settled down after the inning and allowed just one more hit - a single to Colmenero - in the final two frames. MacLean was stronger throughout the game, however, and gave up just two hits in the entire outing. The freshman pitcher claimed the win, improving her record to 9-4 and recording her team-best third shutout. Army's starter Jessi Muckelroy took the loss, giving up three earned runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings.
Bucknell had little trouble taking advantage of its runners in scoring position in the second game, but the day's opener was a different story. Six of the Bison's eight runners left on base were stranded in scoring position, and four of them were left on third base.
Five hits, including a double from Mary Horton (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), in the first three innings came up empty, but Bucknell's Bridget Gates (Milford, Conn./Academy of Our Lady of Mercy Lauralton Hall) kept things close with a strong pitching performance.
The freshman got in a bit of trouble in the second inning, loading the bases with one out, but escaped by getting Clara Navarro to line out to short and Angela Deger to ground out to second. The third inning went less her way as Jennae Tomlinson reached base and advanced to third on a pair of Bison errors. Tomlinson later scored on an RBI single from Rachael Duval.
Bucknell tried to make a move in the fifth inning. Fry drilled a triple to right center with one out and came home on a sacrifice fly from Pavlovich. That was the last of the scoring for Bucknell, but Army pulled back ahead in the bottom half of the fifth. Another Bison error, followed by a triple off the bat of Duval gave the Black Knights a 2-1 lead that held until the final pitch.
Neither of Army's runs in the game was earned, but Gates (12-5) still took the loss. Gates gave up five hits, four of them singles, and struck out three in 6.0 innings pitched. Shawna Bleyl (13-4), who entered the game in relief of Nordin in the fifth inning, earned the win. Bleyl did not allow a run on two hits in 2.2 innings.
Fry and Okita both finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Of Bucknell's nine hits, four of them were for extra bases as Horton doubled and Fry, Jane Messersmith (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor) and Jessie Snyder (Tacoma, Wash./Stadium) tripled.
Bucknell will have some time off before heading to the Patriot League Tournament. Play is set for May 13-15 at the site of the highest seed, which will be either Army or Lehigh, depending on the outcome of other league games.