LEWISBURG, PA - Alex Robinett struck out seven batters over eight strong innings to lead Army to a 3-2 victory in the first game, but Bucknell’s Andrew Andreychik fanned eight in nine scoreless frames to help the Bison win a 5-0 decision in the nightcap as the Patriot League rivals split a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Depew Field.
With the split, Army (19-18, 10-6 PL) has clinched a spot in next month’s Patriot League Tournament. The Black Knights maintain sole possession of second place in the conference standings, two games behind league-leading Holy Cross (12-4 PL) and one game in front of third-place Navy (9-7 PL).
The Black Knights and Crusaders will lock horns next weekend with the Patriot League regular-season title up for grabs. Army can win its second straight regular-season crown by taking three of four games from Holy Cross, provided Navy does not sweep Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa.
Bucknell (14-27, 8-8 PL) slips into fourth place in the league standings, three games in front of fifth-place Lehigh (5-11 PL) and four games clear of sixth-place Lafayette (4-12 PL).
Harold Earls went 2-for-3 with an RBI and one run scored in the first game, and his leadoff double in the top of the eighth ignited Army’s extra-inning rally. Jacob Page and Andrew Johnson also recorded two hits apiece in the opening contest to help spark the Black Knights’ 10-hit attack.
Robinett (6-2) earned his third consecutive win on the mound for Army, allowing just six base hits en route to his second complete-game victory.
Army took an early lead in the opening game, scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the second inning to establish a 2-0 advantage. Page began the uprising with a leadoff single, advanced to second base on Michael Sands’ sacrifice bunt, took third on Johnson’s base hit and scored when Justin Reece reached on a fielder’s choice. Reece later advanced to second base when Jon Crucitti was hit by a pitch and scored on Earls’ single.
Bucknell trimmed the Army lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning on Carter Bumgardner’s run-scoring single. Robinett was able to minimize the damage, however, striking out Rob Krentzman with the bases loaded to end the threat.
The Bison knotted the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth on Bumgardner’s RBI groundout. Matt Busch led off the inning with an infield single, advanced to second base on Travis Clark’s base hit, took third on a passed ball and scored when Bumgardner bounced out to shortstop.
Army moved back in front, 3-2, in the top of the eighth inning on Mark McCants’ RBI single. Earls doubled to right field leading off the frame, moved to third base on Alex Jensen’s sacrifice bunt and scored when McCants dumped a single into left field.
Dan Goldstein (4-5) took the loss for the Bison in the opener after yielding three runs on 10 hits across eight innings. Along the way he struck out four batters and walked one.
Bumgardner finished 2-for-4 with two RBI to pace the Bucknell offense. Clark also collected a pair of hits.
Bucknell grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap, scoring an unearned run without the aid of a hit. The Bison then added to their lead in the third, scoring four runs on three hits to establish a 5-0 advantage.
The early run support was more than enough for Andreychik (4-2), who was dominant. The freshman right-hander retired the first nine Army batters he faced and did not allow a base hit until the fifth inning. He permitted just four hits en route to his first career shutout.
Army’s best scoring opportunity came in the top of the fifth inning as the Black Knights loaded the bases with one out. Justin Reece lined into a double play, however, to halt the rally. Army also stranded runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Black Knights were unable to push anything across.
Army starter Jack Verrill (0-2) took the loss in the nightcap after being touched for five runs (four earned) on three hits and one walk in 2.2 innings. Julian Larimer pitched well for the Black Knights out of the bullpen, retiring 16 of 18 batters he faced.