March 29, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell softball’s Patriot League opener with Lehigh is on the horizon, but before the Bison can get to the weekend series with the Mountain Hawks, they’ll have to get past Drexel on Wednesday. The six games mark the first at the newly renovated Becker Field. The mid-week showdown with the Dragons gets underway at 3 p.m., while Bucknell and Lehigh will square off at 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Live stats on GameTracker will be available for all games, and Sunday’s doubleheader can be heard live on the radio at WVBU 90.5 FM and online at Sportsjuice.com.
ABOUT THE BISON
- Bucknell went 2-2 at the Mount St. Mary’s Tournament last weekend with both victories coming over the Mountaineers. In the two contests against the home team, the Bison hit .321 and posted an ERA of 0.50 while Mount St. Mary’s numbers came in at .146 at the plate and 4.00 in the circle. Alison Ford (Suisun City, Calif./Fairfield) and Lauren Fry (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) combined to go 6-for-10 with three doubles and five runs scored.
- In all four games at last week’s tournament, which also included Cornell, Ford hit a team-best .500 and also tied for Bucknell’s high marks in runs scored (3), doubles (2) and runs batted in (2). Pitcher Bridget Gates (Milford, Conn./Academy of Our Lady of Mercy Lauralton Hall) finished 1-1 with a 1.56 ERA. Opponents hit just .176 in two contests against the sophomore.
- Bucknell and Cornell have played each other 12 times in program history, and four of those meetings came this month. The Bison finished with a 1-3 record against the Big Red with the only win coming 4-1 at the Mason Invitational on March 13. In those four games, Ford hit .417, and four of her five hits resulted in doubles. Cornell’s ERA closed out at a miniscule 0.75, while Bucknell’s was 3.37.
- Gates pitched a 4-0 shutout against Mount St. Mary’s last Sunday. It was the second time this season she did not allow an earned run, the first coming in Bucknell’s 1-0 loss to Binghamton on March 12. Gates recorded two shutouts during all of her rookie campaign.
- Two of Bucknell’s outings will air live on the radio at WVBU 90.5 FM and at SportsJuice.com, and the first is set for this Sunday vs. Lehigh. The second date scheduled to be broadcast is April 23 vs. Lafayette. Doug Birdsong will call all the action for both doubleheaders.
- Bucknell played 14 home games last season and posted an 8-5-1 record overall. Elyse Colmenero (Fresno, Calif./Central) and Fry posted the Bison’s top two batting averages at .577 (15-26) and .439 (18-41), respectively. Ford was the only player with double-digit RBIs, finishing with 12 on her home field.
- As a unit, Bucknell’s pitchers recorded a 2.06 ERA compared to 4.79 for opponents when playing at the then-named Varsity Softball Field. Gates was 5-2 with a 1.56 ERA, and Alex MacLean (Northampton, Pa./Northampton Area) was 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA and two shutouts. She also recorded a no-hitter in a scoreless tie with La Salle that was called after five innings due to lightning.
- Bison fans will have plenty to discover at Charles and Karen Becker Field. During the summer of 2010, the field received new brick dugouts and backstop as well as a new sod playing surface. The facility will be officially renamed in a dedication ceremony prior to the April 23 game against Lafayette in honor of Dawn Becker’s parents. Becker graduated in 1985 and still ranks among the Bucknell leaders in career wins, shutouts and ERA.
ABOUT THE DRAGONS
- Drexel comes to Lewisburg with a 7-13 record overall. The Dragons are also 0-3 in the Colonia Athletic Association having started conference play last weekend and getting swept by Hofstra. Drexel has lost six of its last seven games.
- Paige Collings and Hillary Allen are both hitting better than .300 this season. Collings also leads the team in home runs this spring with six, two of which came against Hofstra in the team’s last series. Alen is 4-6 in the pitchers’ circle as well.
- Drexel suffered a major loss to graduation in Ashley Botelho. Botelho was named NFCA All-Region Second Team and All-CAA First Team last season after finishing her career as the program leader in hits, home runs, RBI, total bases, batting average and slugging percentage. Back for another turn, however, are Collings and Amanda Bachman. Collings was also a first-team all-conference selection, while Bachman was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team.
- Bucknell trails Drexel in the all-time series, 21-17. The squads split in last year’s doubleheader in Philadelphia. The Dragons won the opener 3-1 before the Bison won the nightcap in nine innings, 3-2. Alicia Wheeler
(Scottsdale, Ariz./Paradise Valley) entered the game as pinch hitter and connected for an RBI double to clinch the victory.
ABOUT THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS
- Going into the final week in March, Lehigh has a 13-11 record. Before heading to Bucknell, the Mountain Hawks will take on Fordham in a doubleheader on Wednesday, putting their five-game winning streak on the line. In its most recent series, Lehigh swept Niagara in four games.
- Some common opponents that have shown up on both Lehigh’s and Bucknell’s schedules were Binghamton and James Madison. The Mountain Hawks went 2-0 against Binghamton (4-3 and 9-5) but 0-2 against James Madison (4-0 and 10-1).
- Liz Lucas has distanced herself offensively from the rest of her team. The sophomore leads Lehigh in batting average (.391), hits (27), doubles (10), home runs (5) and RBI (28). The Mountain Hawks have a young pitching staff wit sophomore Rebecca Bliss and freshmen Kelsey Lee and Ashley Quigley. Bliss leads in victories with six, while Lee’s 2.62 ERA is tops on the squad.
- Lehigh closed out the 2010 season with an overall record of 31-19. Despite having the Patriot League Player of the Year (Julie Fernandez), the Pitcher of the Year (Tiffany Curtis) and seven all-league selections, the Mountain Hawks failed to win a league tournament game for the first time in program history. They were knocked out of contention courtesy of a 4-3 loss to Bucknell and a 4-1 loss to Army. Lehigh returns in 2011 having been voted to a second-place tie with Army in the Patriot League Preseason Poll.
- Lehigh has a large lead over Bucknell in the all-time series at 67-35. The Mountain Hawks took three of four regular-season games off the Bison, but the first game of the Patriot League Tournament went in favor of the Orange and Blue. Bucknell trailed 3-2 going into the seventh inning. The Bison came from behind at the last minute with a two-out, two-run triple from Jane Messersmith to give them the victory.
Bucknell will stay at home for its next series, this one coming against Coppin State on April 5. The doubleheader is slated for a 3:30 p.m. start at Becker Field.