April 16, 2011
WORCESTER, Mass. - Alison Ford (Suisun City, Calif./Fairfield) hit 4-for-5 with a grand slam and a career-best seven runs batted in, helping Bucknell softball to a pair of victories over Holy Cross, 14-6 (5 inn.) and 4-3, at Freshman Field on Saturday afternoon. All seven of Ford's RBI came in game one where the senior snagged hits in all three of her at-bats and kicked off the Bison's first set of back-to-back wins since March 13.
Ford's offensive performance also included one run scored and a pair of walks. By the end of the day, she had improved her season numbers to a .410 batting average with 23 RBI and three home runs, all team highs.
When Ford recorded her first RBI, Bucknell (11-27, 3-7) had regained its lead in the day's opener. After scoring twice in the top of the first inning, the Bison soon found themselves trailing 4-2 by the time the second frame got underway. Bucknell then scored five runs in the second, all of them unearned.
Jessie Snyder (Tacoma, Wash./Stadium) re-tied the contest with a two-out, two-RBI double. She then scored the go-ahead run on a single to left from Lauren Fry (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield). Ford followed with a single up the middle, forcing a pitching change from Julia Barrett to Jenna Legros. Legros didn't get much help on the next batter as Laura Sandford (New Egypt, N.J./New Egypt) reached on an error, and Fry scored on the same play.
Holy Cross (12-19, 6-4) finally got out of the inning on a groundout, but Bucknell had already taken a 7-4 lead.
After scoring four runs on three hits in the first inning, the Crusaders went down in order in the second. That brought the Bison back to the plate and for the second consecutive inning, they sent at least 10 players to bat. Meredith Dickson (Fogelsville, Pa./Northwestern Lehigh) and Mary Horton (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) led off the third with base hits. They had to wait through two more batters before Fry drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. That's when Ford gave Bucknell an 11-4 lead with her second career grand slam and her first in Patriot League play. The Bison tagged on one more run before the final out, giving them an eight-run lead with less than three full innings in the book.
Two-out RBI appeared to be the day's special because Ford added batted in two more in the top of the fourth. Snyder singled to third and Fry reached on a fielder's choice. Both scored as Ford singled through the left side, putting Bucknell ahead 14-4.
It was Ford's sixth and seventh RBI, which topped her previous career-best of four in a single game. It was also just two shy of the Patriot League record of nine. Ford now has 93 career runs batted in, tying her for third all-time at Bucknell.
Holy Cross cut into its opponent's lead in the bottom of the fifth, but Bucknell kept the mercy-rule opportunity intact. Sam Fregenti was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Gwen Reimer and Erin Fleming followed with back-to-back doubles. Fleming's shot scored her two teammates, but that was the last of the Crusaders' offense. Bridget Gates (Milford, Conn./Academy of Our Lady of Mercy Lauralton Hall) ended the game by getting the last two batters to ground out saved the short game.
In addition to Ford, Snyder and Fry also put up some big offensive numbers. Snyder was 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring three runs herself and knocking in two of her teammates. Fry was 2-for-3 with four runs scored and three RBI. Two of her runs batted in came in the first inning to give Bucknell an early run as she connected for her first home run of the year.
Gates (5-13) earned the win in the pitchers' circle despite giving up six runs on seven hits in 5.0 innings. The Crusaders ended up using three pitchers, each of whom lasted 1.2 innings. Barrett (4-2) gave up seven runs - only two of them earned - on six hits, taking the loss. Legros gave up seven runs on six hits as well. Camille Trainor finished the game for Holy Cross, allowing no runs on two hits. None of the Crusaders' pitchers struck out a batter.
Bucknell's 14 runs came on 14 hits, both of which were season highs.
Just as it was in the first game, second-inning offense proved to be a key to Bucknell's success in the nightcap. A Caitlin Belanger home run in the first put the Crusaders ahead early, but that lead was quickly erased as the Bison scored four in the top of the second.
Sophia Geraci (East Moriches, N.Y./Westhampton Beach) singled to leftfield and scored on a two-out double from Dickson to knot things up. Horton singled up the middle and, after completing the double steal in which Dickson scored, she the sophomore scored as well as Snyder reached on an error. One more double for good measure, this time off the bat of Elyse Colmenero (Fresno, Calif./Central) capped off the scoring and put the Bison in front 4-1.
Colmenero's double was her second in as many innings. The senior now has 30 for her career, which is tied for seventh in Bison history.
Bucknell's offense slowed from the second inning on and although Holy Cross chipped away at the lead, more Bison runs were unnecessary. The Crusaders made it 4-2 on an RBI double from Nicole Ortiz in the fourth, and Alex Gustafson reduced the lead to 4-3 with a home run in the fifth. Bucknell pitcher Alex MacLean (Northampton, Pa./Northampton Area) had to work with just one more base runner in scoring position after that, allowing the Bison to earn their first Patriot League doubleheader sweep of the year.
The back-to-back wins are the first since Bucknell defeated Cornell and George Mason on the final day of the Mason Invitational on March 13. It is also the first time the Bison earned a two-game sweep over a Patriot League opponent since the league's championship Sunday in which Bucknell took two off Colgate for the title.
MacLean (6-14) gave up three runs on six hits. Her six strikeouts improved her career total to 178, moving her past Katie McDonald for fifth in program annals. Belanger took the loss for Holy Cross despite giving up just two earned runs on six hits. She struck out five and walked one batter in 7.0 innings.
Bucknell and Holy Cross will meet again tomorrow. The doubleheader is set for a noon start.