Baseball Sweeps Bucknell to Win Weekend Series
April 3, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The Lafayette baseball team made a statement in the opening weekend of the Patriot League season, sweeping a doubleheader at Bucknell on Sunday afternoon to win the season series against the defending Patriot League Tournament champions. Behind four hits from senior A.J. Miller and two RBI from four different players, the Leopards claimed 5-2 and 6-3 victories from the Bison.
Lafayette moves to 9-15 overall and 3-1 in Patriot League play with the sweep. Bucknell falls to 12-16 on the season with a 1-3 league tally.
Miller's 4-for-7 day at the plate rounded out a series in which he went 8-for-15. The co-captain of the Leopards hit his team-high seventh home run of the season, vaulting himself into a tie for seventh place all-time at Lafayette with 17 career roundtrippers (John Freeland '81).
Senior Matt Fenster and juniors Brian Davila and Bobby Fargnoli joined Miller with two RBI in the twin bill. Fenster, Davila and senior Alex Bechta all had two hits on the day, and Fargnoli's lone hit was his first home run of the season. Bechta and sophomore Brad Hopek both drove in runs.
On the mound, junior right-hander John Gentile (1-4) tossed a seven-inning complete game to earn the win the game one. He scattered eight singles and allowed two earned runs, striking out seven Bison and walking one.
Junior left-hander Michael Massa got the start in the game two and tossed 4.2 scoreless frames. He allowed five hits, struck out five batters and walked one but, despite exiting with a 2-0 lead, fell one out shy of reaching the minimum and earning the win. Junior southpaw Sean McGrath (2-2) tossed 2.2 frames of relief to take the decision and junior right-hander Jeff Snell pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his third save of 2011. In addition, junior left-hander Jack Rems inherited and stranded the potential tying runs to keep Lafayette on top in the nightcap.
In game one, the Leopards starting the scoring in the top of the second courtesy of Fargnoli's two-run shot over the left field walk. After Bucknell took one back in the bottom of the inning, Lafayette added to its cushion with three runs in the top of the third frame. Senior Rob Froio started the action with a one-out double and came home when Davila followed with a two-bagger of his own. After Bechta walked, an error scored Davila and a sacrifice fly from Fenster brought Bechta home to extend the Lafayette advantage to 5-1.
Gentile kept the Bison at bay, tossing three straight hitless innings and working around a leadoff single in the sixth inning to maintain the four-run lead entering the seventh and final stanza. Despite letting a run cross the plate in that inning, the junior right-hander finished what he started to give Lafayette a 5-2 win.
Trey Frahler (1-5) went the distance for Bucknell. He allowed six hits and five runs (three earned) in the seven-inning effort. Frahler struck out two batters and walked one.
Just as they did in the three previous games in the series, the Leopards scored first in the series finale. A Fenster double plated Miller in the second inning and Bechta singled to score sophomore Kevin Casey in the third as Lafayette claimed a quick 2-0 lead. The edge grew to 4-0 in the top of the sixth frame when, after Bechta hit a one-out single and stole second base, Miller drilled his seventh home run of the season.
Bucknell climbed within one run with three tallies in the bottom of the sixth inning, but McGrath hurled a scoreless seventh and perfect eighth to hold the 4-3 lead entering the ninth inning.
The Leopards notched a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Sophomore Andrew Ruck led off with a double, and Casey and Froio worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. After Davila earned a free pass to push one run across, the Bison induced a double play and seemed poised to escape without further damage. However, after Miller was issued an intentional pass to reload the bases, Hopek came through with a single that extended the cushion to 6-3.
Hopek's bases-loaded single was his second RBI hit with two outs and the bags full in the weekend series.
Snell would issue a walk in the ninth inning but, anchored by a pair of strikeouts, the junior stranded the baserunner to close the door on the doubleheader sweep.
Jack Boehm (2-1) started and took the loss for the Bison. He allowed seven hits and four runs over the first 5.2 frames of action. Boehm rang up five strikeouts and issued one walk.
After playing their first 24 games on the road, The Leopards will host Opening Day at Kamine Stadium on Wednesday, April 6 with a 3:30 p.m. contest against Monmouth.