May 16, 2014
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell completed a dominant run through the Patriot League Baseball Tournament by sweeping Lehigh in the Championship series on Friday at Depew Field to win its first League title since 2010 and sixth overall.
The top-seed Bison (29-17-1) scored three runs in the eighth and held on in the ninth for a 5-4 victory in game one, then broke game two open with five runs in the fourth inning and went on to a 7-2 victory.
The Bison became the second team in the seven-year history of the four-team Patriot League Tournament format to finish the event with a perfect record, joining Army which pulled off the feat last year. Bucknell swept fourth-seed Navy in the semifinal round on Saturday.
The Bison earn the Patriot League's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, and will find out their regional site and opponent when the brackets are announced on May 26.
Lehigh (25-24) was playing in the Patriot League Championship for the first time since 2006. The third-seed Mountain Hawks advanced to the final round by defeating Army in a semifinal series last weekend.
Bucknell's Joe Ogren was named Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player, and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Bryson Hough, Justin Meier and Xavier Hammond from the Bison, Nick Cassell, Tyler Brong and Justin Pacchioli for Lehigh, Kash Manzelli and Robert Currie for Navy and Alex Robinett and Jacob Page for Army.
More information on each game on Friday follows below.
Patriot League Baseball Championship Series
No. 3 Lehigh at No. 1 Bucknell (Bucknell Wins, 2-0)
Bucknell broke open a tie game with three run in the eighth inning and held off a Lehigh rally in the ninth for a 5-4 victory in game one of the Patriot League Baseball Championship on Friday at Depew Field.
Lehigh jumped on Bucknell starter Bryson Hough early, as Joe Abeln and Tyler Brong hit back-to-back RBI doubles to put the Mountain Hawks up 2-0 in the first inning. Bucknell got the runs back in the bottom of the second when Danny Rafferty hit a two-run double to even the score at 2-2.
Hough settled in after the rocky start, retiring 20 consecutive batters heading into the eighth inning. Lehigh's Kevin Long came out of the bullpen early and pitched well, tossing five scoreless frames to keep the game tied through seven.
Bucknell came up with the big inning in the eighth. Justin Meier led off with a double and Rafferty walked, setting up Brett Smith for a two-RBI single with one out to put the Bison up 4-2. Smith came around to score on a fielder's choice to give Bucknell a 5-2 lead and what proved to be an important insurance run.
Hough started the ninth, but was lifted when Brong drove in Abeln with a one-out double to cut the score to 5-3. Brong scored on a passed ball with two outs, but Xavier Hammond retired Connor Faust to close out the 5-4 win.
Hough allowed just five hits and no walks in 8.1 innings of work, and only two of his four runs allowed were earned. Meier was 3-for-4 with two runs, while Smith and Rafferty each had two hits, two RBIs and a run scored.
Long struck out a career-high nine out of the pen for Lehigh, but took the loss while allowing three runs in six innings of work. Brong had a run scored and two RBIs, while Abeln scored a pair of runs with an RBI.
Bucknell scored five runs in the fourth inning and never looked back to win the Patriot League Baseball title with a 7-2 victory in game two of the Championship series against Lehigh on Friday at Depew Field.
Bucknell won its first Patriot League title since 2010, and sixth overall. The Bison earn the League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which brackets announced on May 26.
After three scoreless innings, the Bison exploded for all of the runs they would need in the fourth. Rob Krentzman singled in a run and Sam Clark followed with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead. Alex O'Neill came up next and delivered a single that made it 4-0, and Danny Raffery drove in O'Neill to complete the scoring in the five-run frame.
That was more than enough for Dan Weigel, who held Lehigh off the scoreboard for the first six innings. Bucknell added a run in the sixth on a ground out and another in the seventh on a sacrifice fly. Lehigh got a pair back in the bottom of the seventh, but Bucknell held off the Mountain Hawks the rest of the way to claim the Patriot League title.
Weigel allowed two runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in seven innings of work, with Tom Hrabchak and Hammond each throwing a scoreless inning to complete the win. Ogren, Krentzman and Rafferty each had two hits for the Bison, while the top eight hitters in the order all had a run, an RBI or both.
Abeln and Tim McKay each had a pair of hits for Lehigh, while Justin Pacchioli drove in a run. Mike Burke gave up five runs in four innings and took the loss on the mound.