April 18, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. -
After stepping out of league play this past Wednesday against Towson, the Bucknell softball team will host Patriot League foe Army in a four-game series this weekend. The Bison and Black Knights will square off in a doubleheader on Saturday that begins at 1 p.m. and another on Sunday, when the first pitch will be 12 p.m.
With at least a split of the series, the Bison will put themselves in good position to qualify for the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2005. Since 2001, just two teams that have won at least eight league games have failed to advance to the postseason. Third-place Bucknell enters the weekend with a solid 6-6 Patriot League mark and has not lost to a conference foe by more than three runs.
Bucknell Softball Notebook (15-26, 6-6 PL)
Bucknell has won 15 games this year, equaling its win total from all of 2007. The last time the Bison posted more than 16 victories in a season was 2001.
Freshmen Elyse Colmenero, Alison Ford and Lauren Fry have been Bucknell's top three hitters against Patriot League competition this year. They have combined to go 38-for-94 (.404) with seven doubles, one triple and 16 runs batted in against Lafayette, Colgate and Lehigh. Colmenero is hitting a robust .474 against Patriot League foes, while Ford is at .417 and Fry checks in at .341. Fry leads the team in overall batting average at .318, while Colmenero has posted at least one hit in 15 of the last 17 games.
Senior pitcher Christie Wiest is on the verge of breaking Bucknell's career innings pitched and strikeouts records. She has 518.2 innings pitched in her career, 4.0 behind Sharon Nichols' record. Wiest also has 332 career strikeouts, which ties her with Nichols for the top spot on that list.
With another RBI Wednesday against Towson, senior Erin Curatola
increased her team-high total to 29. That figure ranks ninth on the Bison single-season list and places her six behind the record of 35 held by Angie Stackhouse
and Lauren Litts
. Curatola now has 67 RBIs in her career, which is three shy of joining the Bison career top-10 list.
While Bucknell has a number of players ranked among the Patriot League leaders in most offensive categories, only Ashley Carlson tops the league. She is tied for the league lead in stolen bases with nine. She is three shy of equaling her career high.
On the pitching side, Wiest leads the Patriot League in innings pitched (139.2), appearances (25), games started (22) and complete games (17). She is also among the league leaders in wins (8) and strikeouts (74), ranking fourth and third, respectively.
Bucknell has drawn 121 walks this season, which ranks tied for second on its all-time list. Only the 1991 squad that had 140 bases on balls had more. Six Bison have walked at least 10 times, led by 21 walks from Ashley Beans. Beans owns a .414 on-base percentage, which ranks second on the squad to Fry's .421.
Bucknell has outscored its three Patriot League opponents (Lafayette, Colgate, Lehigh) by a 68-52 margin in 12 games.
Junior pitcher Katie McDonald is putting together the best season of her career as the No. 2 starter for the Bison. She has a 7-12 record, which is two more wins than she had in her career entering this season. She has set career highs in nearly every pitching category and has been part of two of Bucknell's five shutouts.
Bucknell vs. Army
Bucknell is 23-35 all-time against Army, but won three of four in a series at West Point, N.Y., last April. The two teams split a four-game series in 2006, the last time they squared off in Lewisburg.
Army enters the weekend with a 9-31 record and is 4-8 in Patriot League play. The Black Knights reside in fifth place in the standings and lost three of four games at Colgate within the last week. Army is hitting .205 as a team and has a 5.26 ERA.
Laura Baranek is the only Army player hitting better than .300 and she owns a .339 average to pace the Black Knights' offense that has been outscored 230-98 this year.
Veronica Barth is Army's top pitcher with a 3.30 ERA. She has started 21 games and logged 121.0 innings. No other pitcher has started more than seven games or thrown more than 50.0 innings.
2008 Bucknell Weekly Honors
Patriot League Player of the Week:
- Alison Ford (3/24), Mary Pavlovich (4/7)
Patriot League Rookie of the Week:
- Lauren Fry (3/17, 3/31, 4/7)
ECAC Player of the Week:
- Alison Ford (3/26)
Bucknell will be idle until next weekend, April 26-27, when it hosts Holy Cross in a four-game set to close out the 2008 regular-season schedule. The Bison have won 14 of their last 16 meetings with the Crusaders.
Bucknell's Schedule this Weekend
Saturday, April 19
Army at Bucknell (DH), 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 20
Army at Bucknell (DH), 12 p.m.