Softball opens their season with a bang

Tallulah Fuhs, Contributing Writer

Bucknell softball began their 2023 season in South Carolina on Feb. 10 through 12 in tournament play. 

The first opponent of the day was George Washington University. Right off the bat in the first inning, Chase Knapp ’23 reached third base, Zoie Smith ’24 walked and Savannah Jones ’25 had her first career hit with an RBI single. The Bison were in the lead. 

Starting pitcher Madison Roukey ’25 had a great game, throwing five scoreless innings. The bottom of the first inning was a bit scary with a leadoff single and two-out walk from George Washington, but Roukey was able to stay on her game, continuing to strikeout the ladies of George Washington for the next four innings. 

Sadly, the Bison ladies were not able to finish with this lead. Smith started the sixth inning with a single at-bat, but the Bison could not capitalize. 

Jones entered the pitching circle, but the Colonials of George Washington were pushing hard, coming up with a single. 

Then, in the top of the seventh, the Colonials were able to get off with a home run, a single, a walk and a third base steal. This allowed George Washington to walk away with a 2-1 win. 

USC Upstate was Bucknell’s next opponent. Kaiya Burton ’23 started in the circle for Bucknell. USC Upstate was able to score in the bottom of the first inning and the bottom of the second inning. Burton was able to hold off the Spartans and rallied three straight outs in a row. 

Angelina Seropian ’26 led the top of the third inning with her first collegiate career hit: a double to right field. The Bison were not able to exploit this opportunity, though. 

The bottom of the third allowed the Spartans to gain a bigger lead. Olivia Marinelli ’23 stepped into the circle, but the Spartans were able to steal bases and hit singles, making the score 8-0. 

Hunter Vestal ’24 entered the game pitching for the Bison and obtained two more outs to end the inning. She also did not allow the Spartans to score in the fourth inning. 

Marissa Rapino ’26 had her first collegiate career hit with a single to left field in the fifth inning, but another struck out, and the game ended 8-0.

The Bison came out the next day ready to compete. Facing the Maine Black Bears, the Bison started the first two innings with two home runs from Kenzie Hilling ’25 and Knapp. 

In addition, Bison Softball scored two more runs in the first inning and four more in the second, leading the game at 7-0. 

Maine scored their first run in the bottom of the fourth inning, but that did not stop the Bison from scoring a single run in the bottom of the sixth. 

Maine scored one more run in the bottom of the seventh, but pitcher Roukey was able to hold Maine off and clinch Bucknell’s first win in 2023. The final score was 8-2. 

The last game was against one of the Bison’s previous competitors: USC Upstate. 

The Spartans started with their first run in the second inning. Bucknell, in the third inning, immediately countered on an RBI single by Smith.

Over the next two innings, USC Upstate was able to lead over the Bison with three runs, but that did not stop the Bison. Sophomore Hilling bombed an RBI double in the top of the fifth. 

USC was able to land one more run during the bottom of the fifth. The Bison girls almost made a comeback at the top of the seventh. Knapp was able to knock in one run, sending her teammate Elena Horn ’25 home. 

The Bucknell Bison, though, were not able to clinch the lead, making the score 5-4. 

This attempted comeback, compared to their first game, showed that the Bison softball team is ready to compete at a high level and make their presence known in their upcoming games.

“I think this weekend showed a lot of potential for our team this year,” Juliette Basso ’25 said. “We had three really competitive games, and it will only go up from here. Our defense was very good, and we found a lot of ways to score runs. Having tough games like this early in the season will help us win competitive conference games later in our season. I am really excited to see what this team is going to accomplish!”

Sadly, the Bison did not compete against George Washington again the next day due to a rainstorm, but they will be back on Feb. 17 at the NSU-Hampton Classic.

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