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Leopards and Bison Split Sunday Baseball Twinbill

April 18, 2004

Box Score (Game 1)
Box Score (Game 2)

EASTON, Pa. ( - Lafayette baseball outslugged Bucknell 14-2 in the opener on Sunday and just missed completing the series sweep with Bucknell when a ninth-inning rally fell short and ended with a 9-8 loss in the nightcap.

In game one, Lafayette exploded for six runs in the first inning all of which came with two outs. The Leopards cranked out five straight hits with Adam Rosenberg getting the rally going with a two-out double. The next batter, Adam Bucci, drove in two runs with a single up the middle. Frank Cortazar and Craig Alexander each collected RBI-doubles and Jeff Rodgers, in his second at-bat of the inning, followed suit with a run-scoring single. Rodgers' single chased Bucknell starter Phil Futrick (3-3) from the game with the loss.

Bucci came through again in the second with an RBI-single to give the Leopards a 7-0 lead. Bucknell scratched out a run in the top of the third after a failed pickoff attempt put a runner in scoring position. Kyle Walter came through with an RBI-double to make the score 7-1.

The Leopards' broke the game open in the bottom of the third inning. With the bases loaded, Rosenberg battled with Bucknell reliever Jacob Moss. Rosenberg fouled off four pitches with a 3-2 count before driving the fifth offering over the wall for his third career grand slam. Rosenberg's seventh home run of the season gave Lafayette an 11-1 lead. Moss' next pitch was a purpose pitch thrown three feet behind Bucci who later grounded out to end the inning.

The two teams traded runs in the fourth inning with Bucknell scoring on a Phil Bunting RBI-single and Lafayette's run coming plateward on Rob Fioretti's RBI-single. Lafayette added two more runs in the sixth on Ian Law's two-run jack to put the final at 14-2.



Tom Soldan (4-2) threw six innings to earn the mound victory. He gave up two runs on seven hits while striking out one and walking two. Hank Fichtner threw a scoreless seventh inning for Lafayette, striking out one of the three batters he faced.

In the nightcap, Bucknell scored at least one run in every inning but the fifth, but had to stave off a Lafayette ninth-inning rally for the 9-8 win.

The Bison wasted not time getting their offense going in the first inning. Back-to-back doubles by Pete Wolf and Brian Day gave Bucknell the 2-0 lead. The Bison extended the lead to 3-0 in the top of the second on Matt Capece's sac fly.

In the bottom of the inning, the Leopards cut the lead to 3-1. Alexander led off with a stand-up triple and Matt Skellan allowed him to jog home with a sac fly to center.

Bucknell stretched its lead to 6-1 with a run in each of the third, fourth and sixth innings. Chris Mahony accounted for the Bison run in the third with his RBI-single. Walter and Phil Bunting provided the offense in the fourth and sixth frames with solo homers.

As the wind continued to blow to leftfield, the scoreboard continued to light up. Rosenberg collected his second home run of the afternoon and eighth of the season, a solo shot to left to lead off the sixth. Two batters and two outs later Skellan rocketed his second round-tripper of the year out to left field to make it 6-3.

In the visitor seventh Brian Hirschberg returned the favor, clocking a solo lead-off shot to leftfield. In the bottom of the inning, the Leopards used a three-run rally to pull within one run. A pair of one-out singles by Rodgers and Law prompted a Bucknell pitching change. Nathan Mittag took to the mound to replace starter Cory Nadler. The first batter Mittag faced, Boyd, drilled a single off his leg and allowed Rodgers to score. Rosenberg connected for a one-out single to plate Law and bring Bucci to the batter's box. The junior first baseman singled to right field to load the bases. After an Alexander strikeout, Skellan came to the plate and was hit by a pitch to put Lafayette within one, 7-6. Mittag ended the inning by enticing Fioretti to pop up to third.

Matt Skellan drove in four runs and hit his second home run of the season on Sunday vs. Bucknell.

In the eighth inning, Walter put a dent into the Leopards' chances and into the leftfield scoreboard with a one-out home run off Lafayette reliever Matt Revelle. Lafayette could have been in much worse shape were it not for two sliding catches by Boyd in the centerfield.

In the ninth, the Bison upper their lead to 9-6 when a Sam Moss liner to shortstop Ted Kramer just eluded Kramer's grasp and drove in Day who had reached on a double.

Needing three runs to tie, the Leopards put together a valiant effort in their last at-bat, sending six batters to the plate. Bucci initiated the rally with a walk and was lifted for pinch runner James Conrad. The next batter, Alexander hit a bloop single to center to leave runners on first and second with one out. Skellan's second hit of the day accounted for his fourth RBI, as he ripped a ball through the right side to put the score at 9-7. Fioretti came to the plate and hit a potential double play ball, but Skellan's hard slide at second broke up the try for two and scored Alexander. With two outs, Joe Kinney went to the bench to bring in Brian Astry to pinch hit for Kramer. Astry made the most of his at-bat, stroking a liner to second that ended the game, 9-8.

Nadler earned the win for Bucknell, throwing six and a third innings. He allowed five runs on eight hits while walking two. Paul Fischetti was hit with the loss, hurling five innings while giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits and four strikeouts. Revelle tossed three innings, surrendering three runs on six hits. Drew Moyer threw the ninth for Lafayette and allowed a run on two hits.

The Leopards return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Limeport, Pa. to play Lehigh in the semifinals of the Liberty Bell Classic at 6 p.m. The winner of the game will play in the finals on Thursday at Citizen's Bank Park.