May 9, 2009
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The Lafayette baseball team proved it's a resilient bunch when the squad rebounded from a game one loss to Bucknell in the Patriot League semifinals to put up 20 runs in a 20-9 game two victory. The 20 runs scored in game two matched a Patriot League Tournament single-game record and were the most scored by a Leopard team in a postseason game.
The decisive game three will take place tomorrow afternoon with first pitch scheduled for noon. The winner will take on Sunday's winner of the Army-Holy Cross series in the Patriot League Championship next weekend.
Every Lafayette starter scored at least one run and drove in at least one run in game two as the Leopards had 18 hits against the Bucknell pitchers. Matt Hall went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and Justin Shepherd drove in four runs.
The Leopards used five pitchers in the game with Jeremy Atkins picking up the win after tossing two innings of one-run ball.
Lafayette opened the must-win second game with a bang, scoring four quick runs off Bucknell starter Chris Yamaguchi. The scoring started when A.J. Pisarri came home on Daniel Bierce's hit to centerfield and Shepherd came through with a sac fly to make it 2-0. Hall then blasted the ball off the left centerfield fence to send home the third run of the inning and Matt Fenster kept the scoring going with another RBI hit to up the lead to 4-0.
The offense continued rolling for Lafayette with a five-spot in the third. Shepherd's second RBI of the game, this time a single up the middle, scored Butler for a 5-0 lead. Alex Bechta continued the clutch hitting with a two-out RBI single up the middle to make it 7-0 and force Bucknell to go to its bullpen.
Pisarri greeted pitcher Michael Dallenegra with a RBI single, and an errant throw to second by Bucknell catcher B.J. LaRosa allowed the inning's fifth run to score, making it 9-0.
The Bison broke up the shutout with a two-run fourth. Doug Shribman drove the ball down the left field line to send home with his team's first run, and Drew Constable hit a pitch to nearly the same spot to make it 9-2.
The Bison did a lot of two-out damage against starter Corey Shea in the fifth, starting with a wild pitch that sent home the first run. Andrew Brouse then hit a ball to Butler at first base and because Shea was late in covering first, the Bison were able to tack on another run. Constable's fly ball dropped into shallow right center for an RBI, forcing Joe Kinney to go to his bullpen and bring in rookie sidearmer Jeff Snell. On a double steal, Shribman scored during the rundown between first and second base and the inning ended with Bucknell closing the gap to 9-6.
Lafayette got back one of those runs on a RBI groundout from Shepherd to make it 10-6.
Bucknell responded with three runs in the seventh, two of which came off reliever Brian Mostek that cut Lafayette's lead to 10-8. With a runner on first and still no one out, Atkins relieved Mostek and walked the first batter he faced to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Atkins gave up a RBI hit to Brouse to make it a one-run game (10-9), but he worked out of the jam without giving up another run.
The Leopards put the game out of reach with a nine-run seventh. Those runs came on just three hits as Lafayette scored three runs on bases loaded walks and two more on hit batters. Bechta added a two-RBI single that made it 18-9 and Rob Froio capped off the scoring with a RBI single as Lafayette headed into the eighth with a 19-9 lead.
Shepherd scored his squad's 20th run on the Bison's third error in the game.
Atkins struck out the side in the ninth inning to end the three-and-a-half hour game and force a winner-take-all third game.
Despite out-hitting the Bison 14-8 in the opening game, Lafayette dropped the 6-4 decision. The first four batters in the Leopard lineup all had two hits and number six hitter Hall went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the loss.
Lafayette struck first in the second inning. Butler drew a leadoff walk and Shepherd followed with a double off the right field wall to put runners on second and third with no one out. Hall came through with a single up the middle to send both runners home for an early 2-0 Leopard lead.
The Bison loaded the bases in the third and with one out, Dane Grandizio's sac fly to right field cut Lafayette's lead to one. On a double steal attempt by the Bison, Bret Sokirka came home and slid under A.J. Miller's tag, tying the game at two.
The Bison went up 3-2 in the fourth before Bierce knotted the game in the fifth with a single to center that sent home Pisarri, who had reached on a one-out double to left center.
The Bison took a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning when leftfielder Bechta misplayed a hit off the bat of Shribman to allow Ben Yoder and Grandizio to score.
Bierce opened the seventh with a single to shortstop and scored all the way from first on Butler's double down the left field line, cutting the lead to 5-4.
In the seventh, Shribman got that run back for Bucknell when he belted a solo shot over the centerfield fence to make it 6-4.
The Leopards threatened in the ninth as Butler opened the inning with a single through the right side off Bucknell reliever Daniel Hart. With one out, Hall singled up the middle to put two runners, on but Hart retired the next two batters to clinch Bucknell's game one win.
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