Bison baseball falls short in weekend series against Army West Point

Lucas Friedman, Contributing Writer

Bison baseball faced Army West Point for a four-game set from April 8-9. Both teams came into the series 3-1 in Patriot League play, with first place at stake for the winner of the series.

The Orange and Blue were coming off a series victory against Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa. Returning home, the team ended its weekend going 1-3 against Army West Point, who now sit atop the Patriot League standings. The Bison went winless in the first doubleheader of the weekend but split the action on Sunday.

The Orange and Blue dropped the opening game of the series 4-7 in extra innings. Despite the end result, the Bison proved they would not back down. Army scored quickly in the top of the first, but starting pitcher Connor Van Hoose ’18 buckled down, striking out nine and allowing only two earned runs in seven strong innings.

The Bison tied up the game in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy of a two-out double from JohnPaul Bell ’20, who connected for three hits in the game. Bell’s RBI sent the contest to extra innings. The Army offense exploded for six runs in the first frame of extra innings. The Bison were able to add three runs in the bottom half of the 8th, but fell short of the comeback.

The Bison were not able to improve their luck in game two of the doubleheader on April 8, losing by a final score of 1-10. Jack Grabek ’19 started the game on the mound, allowing six runs, five earned, while striking out eight. The only run for the Orange and Blue was scored by Luke Johnson ’18, who came home on an RBI double to left field from Keifer Rawlings ’18.

April 9 showcased high-powered offenses on both sides, as the Bison scored 24 runs in two games, outpacing Army’s 21.

In the third game of the series, Sam Clark ’17 started off a productive day in the bottom of the first with a two-run single to give the Orange and the Blue the early lead. Despite surrendering the lead in the second inning, the Bison plated eight runs in the third inning, which would eventually prove to be enough to pull out the 10-5 victory.

The Bison had contributions from everyone in their lineup, including an RBI single from Evan Madigan ’20 that drove in Chuckie Scales ’18, which counted for his first career hit on the college level. Pitcher Jeff Gottesman ’19 picked up the victory, with help from Tyler Wincig ’20, who finished the game with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts.

The Bison bats remained red hot in the series finale, but could not keep up with the Black Knights. The Orange and Blue lost the final game 16-14 in an 11-inning thriller. The two teams traded punches throughout the game until the Bison ran out of gas in the 11th inning. The offense was led by Clark and Johnson. Johnson hit his first career home run for a grand slam in the fifth, while Clark hit a three-run home run as part of a five-run sixth inning. Mike Castellani ’17 went 4.1 innings, allowing five earned runs.

The Bison now have a 13-17 overall record, going 4-4 in the Patriot League.

“I think we learned a lot this weekend. It hurts to lose those types of games, but it made us better as a team. We competed and showed ourselves that we can come back and win ball games. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we’re hungry for redemption,” Bell said.

The Orange and Blue will host Patriot League opponent Lafayette for a four-game series from April 15-16.

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