March 15, 2011
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Bucknell softball fell behind early and never got back in the mix, falling 5-1 to Butler and 6-1 to Columbia on the Bison's first day at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla., on Tuesday. The Bison trailed from the outset in both contests, dropping their record to 3-13 on the spring.
Bucknell ran into a 13-strikeout performance from Butler's Jenny Esparza in the first game of the day. The total came despite the sophomore leaving after the fifth inning. Esparza allowed three hits and Bucknell's only run in the game.
Even with the impressive outing, the Bison had at least one base runner in every inning. The third was the most productive, which was when Sam Rollandi (San Carlos, Calif./Notre Dame Belomont) scored. Rollandi led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a single from Meredith Dickson (Fogelsville, Pa./Southern Lehigh) soon after. Back-to-back wild pitches for Esparza paid off for Bucknell. The second one gave Rollandi the opportunity she needed to put the Bison on the board.
Rollandi closed out the opening tilt 1-for-1 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a stolen base.
By the time Rollandi came home, Butler (6-6) already had a 4-1 advantage after scoring twice in each of the first two innings. Meaghan Sullivan and Erin Falkenberry both connected for singles, and Jessica Huey added a double. Sullivan was the first to score, stealing home with two outs. Huey eventually drove in Falkenberry with an RBI double for the 2-0 lead.
Sullivan added an RBI single in the second inning. That scored the second run of the frame for Butler. By the end of the contest, Sullivan was one of four Bulldogs with a multi-hit game, having gone 3-for-3 with three singles. Huey was also 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles.
Esparza earned the win, while Alex MacLean (Northampton, Pa./Northampton Area) took the loss for Bucknell. MacLean (2-8) worked deep in the count on many of the batters she faced. After a rocky start - Butler connected for seven of its 10 hits in the first three innings - the sophomore calmed down and did not give up another hit for the remainder of her time. MacLean lasted 4.0 innings and gave up seven hits, struck out three and did not allow a walk.
Columbia (3-9) had similar luck against Bucknell, putting early runs on the board. The Lions scored in each of the first three frames. Although Stephanie Yagi homered in the third, much of the damage was done on singles. Of Columbia's six hits in the first three innings, five put a runner on first.
Singles were also the primary mode of scoring for Bucknell's lone run in the fourth frame. Lauren Fry (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) drew a leadoff walk before being replaced on the base paths by Caryn Connors (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township). A hard-hit single from Bridget Gates (Milford, Conn./Academy of Our Lady of Mercy Lauralton Hall) moved Connors to third, while a single through the right side from Jessie Snyder (Tacoma, Wash./Stadium) brought her home.
Bucknell put just two more runners on base for the rest of the game, both on walks. The fourth inning was the only one in which the Lions' Prophet Gaspard faced more than four batters. She ultimately took the win having given up one run on three hits. She struck out five but walked four in 7.0 innings of work.
Gates (1-5) was at the losing end of the battle in the pitcher's circle. Four of Columbia's runs - the Lions plated two on a throwing error from the shortstop in the seventh inning - were earned and credited to Gates. She allowed 12 hits and struck out three in 6.1 innings.
Bucknell will have another go at the Rebel Spring Games tomorrow when they take on Akron (3 p.m.) and St. Peter's (5 p.m.).