Last Saturday, the Holy Cross baseball team squared off against Patriot League rival Bucknell at Fitton Field in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Bison (12-21 overall, 9-7 in Patriot League play) picked up two wins against the Crusaders (12-15, 6-6) to leapfrog Holy Cross into third place in the conference standings. Sunday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather.
Bucknell took Game 1 of the doubleheader behind a pair of two-out rallies and a dominant start from senior pitcher Connor Van Hoose for a 6-0 victory. The game was scoreless until the top of the third inning, when Bucknell put together a two-out rally to bring the first run of the game across home plate. Freshman starter Liam Dvorak of Holy Cross allowed a walk after retiring the first two batters of the inning. The next at-bat, Bucknell sophomore Luke Hartman connected on a double to put the Bison up 1-0. Dvorak allowed a single before coercing an inning-ending pop-up to strand two runners on base. The following inning saw Bucknell break the game open. Dvorak again retired the first two batters of the inning, but allowed two Bison to reach base with a single and a walk. Senior Luke Johnson of Bucknell then drove in one run with a single to put the Bison up 2-0. With two runners on base, freshman Crusader Garret Keough relieved Dvorak but walked the only two batters he faced, bringing the Bucknell lead to 3-0. Freshman left-hander Rob Stone relieved Keough and himself walked in another run before stopping the damage with a flyout to left to end the inning. The Bison added insurance runs in the fifth off of a wild pitch and in the sixth via a Dominic Toso solo home run. Holy Cross managed just two hits, singles from junior Alex Gionis and sophomore Chris Rinaldi. Van Hoose struck out 12 batters in seven shutout innings for his fifth win of the season, while Dvorak was credited with his second loss, allowing four runs over 3 ⅔ innings.
Game 2 of the doubleheader saw bats cool along with the temperature, and Bucknell edged Holy Cross, 2-1, in a pitcher’s duel. The Bison opened the scoring in the top of the fourth, when Toso led off with a walk and advanced to third on a single by Hartman. Senior Keifer Rawlings drove in Toso with a sacrifice fly to put Bucknell up 1-0. In the bottom of the fifth, the Crusaders’ first hit came in the form of a solo home run from sophomore Alex Volpi, his second of the year. Holy Cross junior starting pitcher Pat McGowan allowed just one baserunner in the four innings following the Bucknell sacrifice fly in the fourth. His counterpart, junior Jeff Gottesman of Bucknell, matched McGowan with eight innings of one-run ball. In the ninth, Holy Cross junior reliever Danny Barlok entered to try to blank the Bison and give the Crusaders a chance for a walk-off win. Instead, Barlok followed up a strikeout with two walks and a wild pitch to put two Bison in scoring position with one out. Rawlings took advantage for Bucknell, delivering his second sacrifice fly of the day to give Bucknell the 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, senior Cam O’Neill hit a two-out double to get in scoring position, but Volpi struck out to end the game. Barlok took his first loss of the season for the Crusaders while Gottesman earned his fourth win by striking out 11 batters over eight innings, giving up just one run.