May 9, 2009
Patriot League Baseball Championship page
Lewisburg, Pa. - The Patriot League Baseball semifinal series between No. 4 Lafayette and No. 1 Bucknell will go to a decisive game three on Sunday after the Bison won the opener, 6-4, and the Leopards came back to take the nightcap by matching a Patriot League Tournament record for runs scored in a 20-9 victory on Saturday at Depew Field.
The teams will meet for game three at Bucknell on Sunday at Noon. The winner of Sunday's contest advances to the Patriot League Championship Series on May 16-17 to face the winner of the series between No. 3 Holy Cross and No. 2 Army. The Crusaders and Black Knights will also play a final game in their best-of-three series on Sunday afternoon at West Point.
Recaps from both game one and game two, along with box scores from each contest, are included below.
Game One: Bucknell 6, Lafayette 4
The Leopards got on the board first in game one, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the second on a two-run single by Matt Hall.
Bucknell came back to knot the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the third. After loading the bases with no outs, Dane Grandizio brought in one run with a sacrifice fly and Bret Sokirka came in to score on a steal of home to tie the contest.
The Bison took the lead in the next inning, as B.J. LaRosa hit a two-out RBI double to score Doug Shribman for a 3-2 advantage.
The back and forth contest took another turn in the top of the fifth, with Dan Bierce singling in A.J. Pisarri to get the Leopards back even at 3-3.
But the tie was short-lived, as Bucknell came back to take its biggest lead of the day in the bottom of the fifth. Shribman hit a two-run single with the bases loaded and one out to make it 5-3, but the Leopards were able to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Lafayette fought back in the top of the seventh. Bierce singled to lead off the inning, and came home on a double by Jeff Butler that chased Bucknell starter Trey Frahler and cut the Bison lead to 5-4. The Leopards had first and third with one out in the inning, but Bucknell pitcher Daniel Hart struck out Brad Weiss and A.J. Miller to end the threat and keep the Bison in front by a run.
Bucknell got the two-run cushion right back in the bottom of the frame, with Shribman belting a home run to center field to give the Bison a 6-4 advantage.
Lafayette tried to get a rally going off Hart in the ninth, with singles by Butler and Hall putting runners on first and second with one out. But Hart got out of a jam again, striking out Adam McMahon and Miller to seal the 6-4 victory in game one for the Bison.
Shribman went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI, while La Rosa was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Hart pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts to pick up the win. Hall was 2-for-4 with two RBI to lead the Leopard offense.
Game Two: Lafayette 20, Bucknell 9
Lafayette came out of the dugout on fire in game two, determined to knot the series at one-game apiece. The Leopards tallied four runs on six hits in the first. The scoring started when Daniel Bierce singled to drive in A.J. Pisarri with one out. A Jeff Butler single moved Bierce to third, and a sacrifice fly by Justin Shepherd made it 2-0 Lafayette. Matt Hall doubled in Butler for a 3-0 Leopard lead, and Matt Fenster singled in Hall to complete the scoring and give Lafayette a 4-0 advantage after one.
After starting pitcher Corey Shea escaped a two-out jam with runners on second and third in the top of the third, the Leopards added to the lead in the bottom of the frame. Butler led off with a double, and came around to score when Shepherd followed with a single. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third, and A.J. Miller came up with an RBI groundout to make it 6-0. Alex Bechta followed with an RBI single to make it 7-0 as the Leopards chased Bucknell starting pitcher Chris Yamaguchi. That didn't end the scoring, however, as Pisarri brought in Bechta and another run scored after a wild pitch as the Leopards broke it open early with a 9-0 lead after three innings.
Bucknell got two of the runs back in the fourth, with an RBI double by Doug Shribman and RBI single by Drew Constable cutting Lafayette's lead to 9-2.
The Bison made it a game again in the top of the fifth, scoring four times with a two-out rally. Singles by Dane Grandizio and Ben Yoder put runners on first and third. Grandizio scored on a wild pitch, and Andrew Brouse singled in Yoder to bring Bucknell within five at 9-4. After Shribman walked, Constable singled in Brouse to make it 9-5. Shribman came around to score when Constable was picked off, crossing the plate to cut Lafayette's lead down to 9-6.
The Leopards pushed the lead back to four in the bottom of the sixth, with Bierce scoring on a Shepherd RBI groundout to make it a 10-6 advantage.
Bucknell had another rally ready for the seventh inning, scoring three runs to come within 10-9. Doubles by Ben Allen and Grandizio and a single by Yoder created two runs to cut Lafayette's lead down to 10-8. The surge continued with nobody out as Brouse walked and Shribman singled to score Yoder and make it a 10-9 game. But Lafayette pitcher Jeremy Atkins stepped up to end the rally, striking out the next two hitters and catching Brouse stealing to end the inning.
The Leopards used that momentum to fight back with a huge bottom of the seventh, scoring nine times with only three hits to once again blow the game wide open. Lafayette loaded the bases with nobody out and made it 11-9 on an RBI walk by Rob Froio. After an out was recorded, the Leopards continued to score runs without hits with the bases juiced. Bierce and Butler were each hit by a pitch to bring in the next two runs and give Lafayette a 13-9 lead, and Shepherd and Hall walked for the two more runs and a 15-9 advantage. Butler then came around to score on a wild pitch, giving Lafayette six runs on just one hit at that point of the inning. Bechta delivered the second hit of the inning with a two-run single to make it 18-9, and Froio singled in the final run of the frame for a 19-9 lead.
The Leopards added a run in the eighth for the 20-9 victory, matching the the most runs in a Patriot League Tournament game. The only other 20-run performance was turned in by Bucknell against Navy in the 2003 Patriot League Championship.
Eight of Lafayette's nine starters had multiple hits in the game, and eight of the nine also scored multiple runs. Shepherd was the only player with just one hit, but he went 1-for-2 with three runs scored and a game-high four RBI. Bechta was 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI, while Butler and Hall also scored three runs.
Shribman was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI for Bucknell, while Yoder went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI.
Lafayette and Bucknell will be back at Depew Field for the third and final game of the series on Sunday at Noon.
For more information, visit the Patriot League Baseball Championship page