First week proves difficult for Bison baseball

Alex Bolinger, Contributing Writer

On Friday, Feb. 14, the Bison baseball team opened up its 2020 season with a clash against Penn State in North Carolina. This is the third straight season that the Bison have opened up against a power-five opponent, losing this contest by a score of nine to six.

Penn State scored the game’s first runs in the bottom of the second inning after a Bison error. The Lions were able to send a runner home on a sac fly, but it did not take long for the Bison to respond. At the top of the third, Chris Cannizzaro ’22 hit a fly ball and Brendan Lowery ’22 was able to tag up and score the Orange and Blue’s first run of the 2020 season.

The Nittany Lions used a strong sixth inning to separate themselves from the Bison, scoring three runs to make the score 5-2. The Bison were able to tack on a run in the top of the seventh. Penn State then added three more in the bottom of the eighth. Despite a valiant top of the ninth rally that saw the Bison score three runs, they were unable to keep up with Penn State’s hitting.

On the mound, Nate Grisus ’20 started the contest. He had a solid day through five innings of work. Grisus allowed three hits and also had three strikeouts, and four pitchers took the mound in the form of relief after him.

On Saturday the Bison split a doubleheader against Monmouth; they dropped the first game but were able to bounce back in the second. The second game against Monmouth turned into the Bison’s first win of the 2020 season.

The first game of the doubleheader proved difficult for the Bison’s hitting. With only two hits in the first contest, the Bison did not get their first run in until the top of the eighth inning. On the mound, Jack Simpson ’20 struck out three in five innings before being relieved of his duties.

In the second game, the Bison found their groove and scored three runs in the first inning to jump out to an early lead. The first inning was marked by Eunsang Yu’s ’23 two-run double, which brought in Peter Marren ’21 and Evan Madigan ’20. Marren had an impressive day when he singled home Madigan at the top of the fifth. A run batted in from Madigan in the sixth proved to be an insurance run that would push the Bison over the edge. Starting pitcher Brenden Tuttle ’21, along with Will Greer ’23 and Chris DiFiore ’23 relieving, were able to secure the Bison’s first win in the second game of the doubleheader.

The Bison finished up the weekend with a tough loss following an intense bout of extra innings to NJIT on Sunday. The bats were active on Sunday driving in five runs on nine hits. However, with the game tied 5-5 after the ninth, NJIT used a three-run top of the tenth performance to propel themselves to victory. Anthony Casciola ’23 pitched effectively but ultimately could not stop the loss for the Bison.

“It was great to get out there and compete against another team after working all fall to get ourselves ready. Everyone was really excited and a lot of guys stepped up and did their job on the field. I think we’re in a great spot moving forward for the rest of the season,” Matt Ottsen ’21 said.

Looking forward, The Bison will travel to the University of Virginia where they will face the Cavaliers on Friday, Feb. 21. This will be the Bison’s second game against a power-five opponent after their opening day performance against Penn State.

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