LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Holy Cross softball team appeared ready to sweep the first two games of its four-game series with Bucknell on Friday after taking game one by a score of 6-1 and leading game two 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Bison never gave up and scored two runs on three hits in the final frame to send the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Laura Sandford singled with the bases loaded the hand the Crusaders a crushing 4-3 loss. Junior Sam Fregenti (Melville, N.Y.) led Holy Cross offensively going four-for-eight with two runs batted in on the day. Sophomore pitcher Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.) recorded the win in game one to move to 6-11 on the season, totalling seven complete innings, allowing one unearned run on nine hits while striking out one.
Holy Cross took the early lead in the top of the first inning scoring two runs on back-to-back singles. After freshman Ashleigh Vargas (Wakefield, Mass.) drew a one-out walk and stole second base, sophomore Kelliner Croushore (Claremont, Calif.) reached on an error, moving Vargas to third. Croushore promptly stole second to put two runners in scoring position and Fregenti followed with a single through the left side scoring Vargas and moving Croushore to third. Sophomore Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) then singled to left field to plate Croushore and give the Crusaders an early 2-0 advantage.
Bucknell responded in the bottom half of the first inning when senior Meredith Dickson knocked a one-out double to center field and came around to score on a throwing error. With the Crusaders leading 2-1, Barrett was able to get out of a bases loaded jam by getting a line out to third and keep Holy Cross in front.
Neither team was able to score over the next four frames but Holy Cross was able to add insurance runs in the final two innings. In the top of the sixth, senior Camille Trainor (Worcester, Mass.) singled to the left side and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Freshman Emma Keough (Rochester, Mass.) then registered a single to right field driving in Trainor and giving the Crusaders a 3-1 advantage. In the top of the seventh, Fregenti led off with a single and after freshman Cassie Girvalo (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) came on to pinch run, Gustfason singled to put two runners on with no outs. Girvalo and Gustafson completed a double steal before Trainor doubled over the center fielder's head to plate two more runs and make the score 5-1. Trainor stole third for the 10th Crusaders' theft of the game, and scored on a throwing error by the catcher to make the score 6-1.
Sandford tallied her third hit in as many attempts for Buckenll leading off the bottom of the seventh but was unable to advance any further as Barrett retired the next three batters in a row to end the game and record the win. Bucknell pitcher Alex MacLean (3-27) suffered the loss pitching six and one-third innings, giving up six runs (four earned) on 12 hits and striking out seven. Courtney Conover came on in relief in the top of the seventh to record the final two outs for the Bison.
Fregenti led the offense going three-for-four with one run batted in and Trainor finished game one two-for-four with two runs and two RBI. The 10 stolen bases for the Crusaders were the most in one game under head coach Brian Claypool. The previous mark was set on March 1, 2010 when Holy Cross stole eight bases against Dayton at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Crusader kept the momentum going beginning game two with two runs on three hits in the top of the first inning. Senior Gwen Reimer (Pottsville, Pa.) led off the game with a single to center field and advanced to third on a single by Vargas. The Bison made a nice defensive play cutting down Reimer at the plate on a double steal attempt, but Croushore was able to bring in Vargas, now on third base, with a fielder's choice to give Holy Cross the lead, 1-0. Croushore moved to third on two wild pitches and Fregenti drove her in with a single to center field making the score 2-0 after one half inning.
The Bison responded with three hits in a row to begin the bottom of the first inning as Sandford singled to drive in Mary Horton and cut the Crusaders' lead in half, 2-1. Barrett was able to get a fly out and double play to end the inning and was relieved by Trainor prior to the start of the second inning having pitched one inning and allowed one run on three hits.
Holy Cross added to its lead in the top of the third when Croushore reached on fielder's choice and advanced to second on a passed ball. Gustafson then hit a RBI single to score Croushore from second and make the score 3-1. Senior Nicole Ortiz (Whittier, Calif.) singled to knock Bucknell starting pitcher Conover out of the game in favor of Bridget Gates, who came on to retire 19 of 20 batters over the next six and one-third innings.
With Bucknell still down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Alex Wells led off with a single up the middle. A sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Kasey Segiel to second and she advanced to third base on a ground out. With two outs, Horton hit a triple to the gap in right center field, scoring Segiel, and Dickson followed with a single up the middle to tie the game, 3-3, and send it to extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth and top half of the ninth, Cydnee Sanders hit a one-out double to right center field in the bottom half of the inning. After Horton was intentionally walked, Dickson singled to the short stop who knocked the ball down on a tough hop in the infield. With the bases loaded, Sandford lined a single to right center field scoring Sanders and giving the Bison the 4-3 victory in nine innings.
Trainor (2-5) suffered the loss going seven and one-third innings allowing three runs on nine hits while striking out one. Gates (3-7) tallied the win allowing just one hit and striking out three in her six and one-third innings of work. Conover went two and two-thirds innings allowing three runs on six hits and striking out one.
The final two games of the four-game series between the Crusaders (8-28, 3-11 PL) and Bison (7-32, 1-13 PL) are set to begin tomorrow, April 21, at 9:00 a.m. due to expected inclement weather.