Big home opener weekend for Bison Softball

Tallulah Fuhs, Contributing Writer

The weekend started with two cancellations for Bucknell Softball on Feb. 17, but the Bison returned the next day ready to compete. 

Within the top of the first inning in their game against Norfolk State, Kenzie Hilling ’25 and Zoie Smith ’24 were able to make it on the bases, but the Bison were not able to capitalize on these opportunities. 

The Spartans of Norfolk State made the most of the bottom of the first with a couple of errors by Bucknell, starting the game off with a 0-6 lead. Kaiya Burton 23 stepped in the circle, replacing Madison Roukey ’25, inducing the final out. 

The next inning saw no severe threats made by either team, but in the third inning, Noelle Gardon ’24 and Elena Horn ’25 were able to make it on the bases, but, sadly were not sent home. Norfolk State, again, made no serious threats. 

Hitting her first collegiate home run in, Kailyn Lorberter ’23 was able to put the Bison on the board in the fourth. Juliette Basso ’25 followed with a walk, as well as Gardon, but sadly Horn fouled out. 

Burton, still standing in the pitching circle, was able to obtain another scoreless inning heading into the top of the fifth, halting the Spartans. Smith hit a double and made it to third base, but she did not make any more advances.

The Spartans were able to break their scoreless streak in the bottom of the fifth, gaining two more runs, making the score 1-8. 

The Bison were not able to catch up, letting up one more run in the bottom of the sixth, ending the game 1-9. 

Senior Olivia Marinelli started in the circle for game two, facing the Georgetown Hoyas. Georgetown came out strong, but the Bison were able to hold them off.

A big play from Horn to Gardon to Angelica Seropian ‘26 was able to keep the Hoyas away from home. Marinelli then struck out the opponent, ending the inning. At the bottom of the first, Horn, Hilling and Savannah Jones ’25 worked together to send Horn home, starting the game with a 1-0 lead. 

Seropian continued her success in the second inning with a walk but was left stranded. At the bottom of the second, Georgetown found some success. Pitcher Marinelli grabbed two outs, but Sophomore Roukey subbed her out as relief. The Hoyas were able to hit a grand slam and a couple more runs, ending the inning at 1-4. 

Bucknell could not come back at the top of the third. Georgetown, with a crazy fourth inning, landed another run: 1-5. 

Hunter Vestal ’24 stepped into the pitching circle, striking out two batters, but fielding errors led to the Bison struggling, ending the inning with the Hoyas leading the game 1-9. 

The Bison counterattacked, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jones and Lorberter made it on the bases. First year Marissa Rapino ’26, continuing her success in her rookie season, hit a single. 

Gardon was able to get Jones a run while also walking to load the bases. Horn was able to send one of her teammates home, while Hilling came next, hitting a fly ball to allow for another run. This led to the Bison only being down by four. 

The next couple of innings remained scoreless. The Bison were able to slam some pitches, but the game then ended with a 5-9 Bison loss. 

Next the Bison competed against the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Feb. 18. 

Within the first two innings, the Bison were able to exploit Quinnipiac’s errors by getting on bases, but no runs were scored. 

Chase Knapp ’23, Ava Aguilar ’25, Smith, Lorberter and Gardon were able to load the bases, but no damage was done against the Bobcats. 

Roukey was able to dominate over Quinnipiac for two innings, but the Bobcats started making advances, allowing them to score one run. 

Jones subbed in for Roukey, but Quinnipiac continued their streak. Three more runs were scored, putting the Bison behind by four runs before Jones obtained the final two outs. 

The fourth and fifth innings were intense, but no more runs were scored. The pitchers started to seriously dominate the game. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Quinnipiac was able to add one more run, ending the game with a score of 0-5. 

Then facing Hampton University, Bucknell set the tone early. The first inning started with two outs, but that did not stop the Bison. Smith doubled, Jones walked and Knapp sent Smith home with an RBI double. Lorberter walked, but, sadly, Gardon lined out to end the inning. 

Marinelli started in the circle for the Bison, striking out batters until she was subbed out in the bottom of the sixth inning. 

Hilling started the third inning with a double but got caught trying to steal third base. Smith walked then stole second. Knapp followed, hitting her second RBI double of the game, thus sending herself and Smith home. 

The rest of the game showed no severe threats made by either team. 

Burton came into the pitching circle, closing the game in the bottom of the seventh, earning Bucknell its second win of the year. 

I think this weekend was a good learning opportunity for the team,” Horn said. “We took some hard losses that showed us what we need to be better at and prepare for. I think these tough games will teach us how to compete with good competition and end up helping us in the long run. I’m excited to see how the team grows from this past weekend.” 

We will see the Bison compete again next weekend in North Carolina in the Pirate Clash Tournament.

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