LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Holy Cross softball team suffered two close losses on Saturday morning by scores of 4-2 and 3-2 in eight innings. Senior Nicole Ortiz (Whittier, Calif.) hit her fourth career home run and second of the season to lead the Crusaders in game one and sophomores Kelliner Croushore (Claremont, Calif.) and Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) each went two-for-four in game two but it was not enough to pull off the victory.
The Bison took an early lead in game three of the four-game series plating one run in the bottom of the first inning. Mary Horton led off with a double to left field and after advancing to third on a wild pitch, scored on a ground out to make the score 1-0. The Crusaders erased the deficit in the top of the second inning when Ortiz knocked a two-run home run over the left field fence to make the score 2-1, Holy Cross. The lead did not last as Bucknell hit back-to-back one-out singles in the bottom of the inning and Nikki Silva came in to score on a fielder's choice to tie the game, 2-2.
Bucknell took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Tori Robinson tripled to right field and scored on a one-out single by Cassie Greenhawk. Laura Sandford singled to begin the bottom of the fifth and scored on an error to give the Bison a 4-2 advantage. The Crusaders were unable to make a comeback despite having runners on base in each of the final three innings.
Ortiz went one-for-three with one run and two runs batted in to lead Holy Cross. Gustafson and freshman Emma Keough (Rochester, Mass.) tallied the only other hits for the Crusaders. Sophomore pitcher Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.) suffered the loss, going six complete innings allowing four runs (two earned) and seven hits while striking out five and moved to 6-12 on the season. Bucknell pitcher Alex MacLean (4-21) received the win going four innings, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out two. Bridget Gates came on in relief and recorded her second save of the season totalling three innings and allowing just one hit.
Bucknell got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning when Colie Escobar led off with a double and scored on a single by Silva. The Crusaders answered in the top of the third as senior Gwen Reimer (Pottsville, Pa.) singled to lead off the inning and junior Sam Fregenti (Melville, N.Y.) drove her in. Croushore also singled to the left side and Gustafson singled back to the pitcher to give Holy Cross the 2-1 advantage and knock Bucknell starting pitcher Alex MacLean out of the ballgame.
For the second day in a row the Crusaders took a lead into the seventh inning but were unable to secure the victory. Escobar led off the inning with a single to left field and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Robinson singled up the middle and Escobar advanced to third. After a fly out to center field, Greenhawk drove in Escobar on a fielder's choice to tie the game, 2-2.
The Crusaders squandered an opportunity in the top of the eighth inning leaving a runner stranded on third, and Bucknell took advantage in the bottom half of the inning. Horton led off with a walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Sandford singled to put Horton on third and Mallory Lyons singled down the left field line to give the Bison the 3-2 victory.
Senior Camille Trainor (Worcester, Mass.) suffered the loss going seven and one-third innings allowing three runs on 10 hits and moved to 2-6 on the year. Bucknell relief pitcher Gates (4-7) got the win going five and two-thirds innings allowing three hits and striking out two. MacLean went two and one-third innings and gave up two runs on six hits. The Bison stand at 9-32 (3-13 PL) on the season.
The Crusaders (8-30, 3-13 PL) will return home and welcome Harvard to Freshman Field for one game on Thursday, April 26, beginning at 4:00 p.m.