Score: Holy Cross 11, Bucknell 7 Pitching Decision: W: George Capen (6-1) | L: Jeff Gottesman (3-5) Time: 12:05 p.m. Location: Worcester, Mass. (Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field) The Lead: With the game tied at 7-7 in the top of the 11th inning, the Crusaders scored four runs to defeat Bucknell, 11-7, sweeping the best two-out-of-three series to win their first-ever Patriot League Tournament championship. Holy Cross earns its first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 1978. The NCAA Tournament selection show is scheduled for Monday, May 29, at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
Bucknell struck early on when Sam Clark hit a two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the first, giving the Bison the 2-0 lead heading into the second inning.
In the top of the second, Holy Cross senior Alex Voitik blasted a home run over the left field fence, scoring himself and junior Thomas Russo to tie the game at 2-2.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, senior Josh Hassell knocked a line drive single to left field, bringing in freshman Chris Rinaldi and giving the Crusaders a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.
In the top of the fifth, Holy Cross senior Anthony Critelli launched a home run over the center field fence, increasing the Crusaders' advantage to 4-2.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Danny Rafferty scored on a groundout by JohnPaul Bell cutting the Crusader lead to one and making the score 4-3.
In the top of the eighth, Hassell hit a line drive to left-center field which scored freshman Jared Enders, increasing the Crusader lead to 5-3. Then, senior Bill Schlich ripped a double down the left field line, scoring Rinaldi and Hassell and giving Holy Cross a 7-3 advantage.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Clark sent a home run over the left field fence cutting the Crusader lead to three and making it a 7-4 contest heading into the top of the ninth.
Brett Smith hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth with two outs to knock in Chuckie Scales and Alex Salem and tie the game 7-7 heading into extra innings.
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the 11th, junior Cam O'Neill, Russo and Voitik walked, making it a 10-7 game. Then with the bases loaded, Enders was hit by a pitch which scored O'Neill and increased the Crusader lead to 11-7.
Holy Cross senior pitcher George Capen struck out Smith to retire the side in the bottom of the 11th and clinch the 11-7 victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
The Crusaders recorded 15 hits, while the Bison recorded 13.
Bucknell left six runners on base, while Holy Cross left 11.
Holy Cross starter Joe Cravero allowed six hits and three runs on 7.0 innings pitched, while Mike Castellani allowed 10 hits and four runs on 6.1 innings pitched for Bucknell.
Capen earned the win for Holy Cross allowing no runs on two hits in 2.0 innings pitched.
Jeff Gottesman took the loss for Bucknell allowing four runs on two hits in 2.1 innings pitched.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
The Crusaders are the Patriot League Tournament champions for the first time in program history, and they advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1978.
Senior Brendan King won the Patriot League Tournament MVP title.
King, Schlich, Hassell and Critelli all earned spots on the Patriot League All-Tournament team.
This marks the first time a team has gone undefeated in the Patriot League Tournament since 2014, when Bucknell went 4-0 in the tournament.
Critelli tied the Holy Cross career home run record with his 24th home run.
The Crusaders will return to action in the regional round of the NCAA Tournament on June 2-5. The NCAA Tournament selection show is scheduled for Monday, May 29, at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN2.