May 9, 2014
Patriot League Softball Tournament Central
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Boston University slugged its way into the 2014 Patriot League Softball Championship game on Friday and will meet Bucknell, who fought off two elimination games to reach the final day of the double-elimination tournament.
The Terriers came out swinging Friday morning with an 8-0 win over Army in the first game of the day. Senior first baseman Chelsea Kehr slugged a three-run home run in the first inning and added an RBI double in the third as Boston University chased Black Knights starter Caroline Smith after 2-1/3 innings.
Gabi Martinez added a pair of doubles and drove in two runs and pitcher Melanie Russell struck out six over six scoreless innings to earn her second complete-game victory of the tournament.
With their second win of the tournament, the Terriers enjoyed the rest of Friday afternoon off as they waited to see which of the three remaining teams would join them in Saturday's final.
Bucknell vanquished tournament host and top seed Lehigh with a 3-1 win in the middle game on Friday. The Mountain Hawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the Bison in the first inning on an RBI double by Patriot League Player of the Year Morgan Decker. Bucknell struck back with an RBI single by Kristen Zahn in the bottom of the frame.
The game remained knotted at 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth inning when Cydnee Sanders delivered an RBI single for the go-ahead run. The Bison added an unearned run that inning when pinch runner Carolyn Wan scored on a throwing error.
Amanda Fazio, who relieved starter Lara Bean after only two batters, pitched seven innings of three-hit ball to earn the victory. Sanders, Zahn, Fazio and Jacee Almond all had two hits for Bucknell.
In the final elimination game of the day, the Bison rallied from a 2-0 deficit to post a 3-2 win over Army. The Black Knights started quickly with three hits and two runs off of Fazio in the first inning, but Dana Nielsen and Cindy Cherness came in to hold Army down over the final six innings.
Bucknell scratched out a pair of unearned runs in the fifth inning and took the lead on a two-out triple by Almond in the seventh. Cherness retired the Black Knights in order in the bottom half of the inning to earn the victory and send the Bison in to the final.
The Bison will need to defeat Boston University twice on Saturday to win the Patriot League title. The teams will play the sixth game of the event at 12:05 p.m. on Friday at Lehigh's Kaufman Field. The seventh and final game will be played at approximately 2:35 p.m., if necessary.
The winner of the Patriot League Championship receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Division I Softball Tournament. Boston University is participating in its first softball postseason as a member of the Patriot League and Bucknell won its last Patriot League softball title in 2010.
All of Saturday's action will be streamed live on www.patriotleague.tv. For up-to-date information on the three-day double elimination event, visit Patriot League Softball Tournament Central.