April 26, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The Bucknell baseball team will travel to Easton, Pa., to face Lafayette this weekend for a four-game series. First pitches are slated for noon on both Saturday and Sunday. The Bison need to collect two wins in the four-game set to clinch a Patriot League Tournament spot. Bucknell can finish as high as third in the final conference standings. A playoff berth would mark the fifth straight season that the Bison have reached the postseason.
Bucknell is coming off of a doubleheader split against St. Bonaventure on Tuesday at Depew Field. The Bison dropped the first game, 6-5, as the Bonnies scored the winning run in the top of the seventh inning. Bucknell rebounded with a 5-0 victory in the nightcap, its second shutout in a 10-day span. Six Bison pitchers combined for the two-hit shutout with starter Jack McLinden earning the victory. The two-hitter was the 22nd in program history. The pitching staff was aided by an unassisted triple play by freshman shortstop Greg Wasikowski, who was making his first career start. He also collected two RBIs on the day. The series against the Bonnies was the final non-league set of the season. It also marked the final regular-season home date for the 2012 Bison squad. The victory on Tuesday gave the Bison 20 for the season, their fifth consecutive 20-win campaign.
Bucknell starting righty Bryson Hough was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Tuesday after his 7.1 inning performance against Army over the weekend. He allowed seven hits and no walks while striking out a season high-tying six in the outing. He did not allow an earned run, but the Bison lost 2-1. Hough is now 2-6 despite a 3.16 ERA and 30:10 strike-to-walk ratio. He has pitched the second-most innings (51.1) on the team, behind only sophomore lefty Dan Weigel (65.2).
The Bison will face an 11-31-1 Lafayette team that is 4-12 in the Patriot League and 2-8 at home. The Leopards are hitting .232 as a team and have an ERA of 5.29. They snapped a 10-game losing streak on Wednesday with an 8-6 victory at Long Island. The eight-run output against the Blackbirds marked the first time Lafayette scored more than three runs in a game since defeating Holy Cross by a 12-6 score on April 8.
The Bucknell-Lafayette series dates back to 1895. The Leopards hold a 103-59 all-time advantage. The Bison went 1-3 against Lafayette last season to open the 2011 Patriot League schedule. Alex Cillo pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in the series, while Ryan Ebner recorded the lone Bison victory with a seven-inning, six-strikeout performance in game two. David Duffett and Matt Lamore each hit .400 with two doubles against the Leopards last season. Lamore added a home run and four RBIs. Gerry Runyan hit .375 with three doubles and five RBIs in the series. In the last three seasons against Lafayette, senior centerfielder Bob Donato has hit .320 with 10 runs, six doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBIs to go along with three stolen bases. Lamore has totaled a .364 average and six runs, three doubles, two home runs, and six RBIs in his career against Lafayette. Duffett has hit .310 with eight runs and three doubles against the Leopards in his career.
The Bison have fared well in recent regular season finales. In 2011, the Bison finished the regular season taking three of four against Army. Bucknell went 1-3 against Army in 2010 to close the regular season and went 3-1 at Lehigh in its final regular season series in 2009. Over the last six years, Bucknell owns a 13-11 record in its final regular season series against Patriot League opponents.
The Patriot League Tournament will begin with semifinal matchups on May 12 and 13. The top two seeds will host the third and fourth seeds in the best-of-three semifinals. The best-of-three Patriot League Tournament Finals will be hosted by the highest remaining seed on May 19 and 20.
Bison on Career Record Lists
Alex Cillo: Strikeouts/9 in. (4th, 8.57), Saves (5th, 9), Appearances (3rd, 66)
Bob Donato: Games Played (4th, 182), Games Started (4th, 175), At Bats (3rd, 661), Runs (8th, 128), Hits (4th, 206), Doubles (1st, 55), Home Runs (4th, 23), RBIs (10th, 105), Total Bases (3rd, 342), Sac Flies (6th, 9), Walks (t-9th, 65)
David Duffett: Games Played (7th, 168), Games Started (6th, 159), At Bats (7th, 567), Sac Bunts (6th, 14)
Ryan Ebner: Strikeouts/9 in. (9th, 7.27), Appearances (t-13th, 47)