WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross pitching staff gave up just five hits over two contests on the afternoon but it was all Bucknell would need as the softball team dropped a twin bill to the Bison on Saturday afternoon at Freshman Field by scores of 2-1 and 1-0. The Crusaders move to 13-29 on the season and 7-11 in the Patriot League while Bucknell is now 18-28 (9-9 Patriot League).
It was a pitcher's duel early in game one as freshman Holy Cross pitcher Gennifer Durham (Abbeville, S.C.) retired the first nine batters she faced in order and did not allow a hit until the top of the fifth inning. For Bucknell, freshman starter Amanda Fazio struck out six of the first eight batters she faced. Holy Cross squandered opportunities on the base paths as a runner was thrown out at home plate in the third and another runner was picked off of third base in the fourth, but the Crusaders finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth.
Junior Sarah Free (Claremont, Calif.) and senior Kat Rosenthal (Boston, Mass.) each worked a one-out walk in the fifth before sophomore Ashleigh Vargas (Wakefield, Mass.) laid down a bunt that was fielded by the third baseman who attempted to retire Free at third. Free beat the throw and slid in safely to load the bases for the Crusaders. After a shallow line out to left field, junior Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) singled up the middle to score Free, and despite a second runner being thrown out at home plate to end the inning, the Crusaders took a 1-0 lead.
Bucknell answered quickly in the top of the sixth as senior Cassie Greenhawk reached on a fielder's choice and sophomore Erin Cox hit a two-out, two-run home run over the left field fence. It was just the second hit of the game for the Bison. Fazio then retired the final six HC batters of the game in order to give the Bison a 2-1 victory.
Fazio (9-13) went seven innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out nine. Durham (7-13) took the loss and allowed two runs (both unearned) on just two hits while striking out four.
Bucknell took an early lead in the top of the first inning as Greenhawk reached on a fielder's choice and stole second. Kristen Zahn then singled up the middle and took off for second base, allowing Greenhawk to round third and score. Zahn was retired at second base on the play, but the Bison went ahead, 1-0.
Holy Cross put at least one runner on in each of the first four innings but could not score. After going down in order in the fifth and sixth, the Crusader came to bat in the last of the seventh inning have not yet recorded a hit off Bucknell freshman starting pitcher Dana Nielsen. With one out in the inning, Holy Cross freshman pinch hitter Hailey Mullen (Plainville, Mass.) beat out an infield single to the short stop to prevent the no-hitter. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt but that was as far as she would go as the Bison came away with a 1-0 win.
Nielsen (8-12) went seven innings and allowed just one hit while striking out five. Crusader junior pitcher Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.) gave up just one run on three hits while striking out seven. Barrett moves to 6-10 on the season.
The Crusaders will complete the four-game series with Bucknell tomorrow, April 28, with a doubleheader at Freshman Field beginning at 12:00 p.m. In order for Holy Cross to qualify for the Patriot League playoffs, the Crusaders will have to win both games against the Bison tomorrow and Lehigh will have to win all four of its games versus Colgate this weekend in Hamilton, N.Y.