April 21, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Christian McKone's "walk-off" triple drove in Alex Gaff for the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning, and Morgan Lashley went the distance on a two-hit shutout and struck out a career-high 11 batters in Army's 1-0 blanking of Bucknell in the first game of a Patriot League softball doubleheader Sunday afternoon.
Kristen Zahn went 3-for-4 with two RBI with Dana Nielsen (6-13) recording the win throwing a five-hit shutout and Cindy Cherness the save as the Bison took a 4-0 nightcap decision in denying the Black Knights from sweeping the four-game series on Senior Day.
With one weekend of Patriot League competition remaining, the Black Knights (24-20, 8-8 PL), who posted a 3-1 series mark against Bucknell, remain in third place in the Patriot League standings. The Bison (15-28, 7-9) are tied with Holy Cross (7-9) for fourth place with defending champion Lehigh (13-5) in first place followed by Colgate (9-7).
Lehigh swept its four-game series with Holy Cross over the weekend to remain in first place along with securing a berth to the league tournament. Colgate split its series with Lafayette (4-12 and in sixth place) to remain in second place and just one game ahead of Army.
In the first game, Army threatened in seven of the first 10 innings, stranding 14 runners - twice with bases loaded and three times with two runners on base, before breaking loose in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Gaff ignited the rally when she reached on an error by the second baseman to lead off the inning. Following an out, McKone, who was 3-for-6, took a 3-1 offering from reliever Cherness (1-2) and ripped a triple to the left field fence delivering Gaff for the lone run of the game in lifting Army to its second shutout win over the Bison this weekend and sixth of the season.
In the ninth inning, Army came up short with bases loaded with no outs after opening with three straight base hits by Rae Anne Payleitner, Gaff and Amanda Nguyen. Following a flyout, pinch runner Savanna Aversa, taking over from Payleitner at third base, was thrown out on a force play at home plate followed by an unassisted play by the first baseman.
Cherness (1-2), tagged with the loss, took over from starter Amanda Fazio in the eighth inning with bases loaded and two outs, and worked out of that jam with a strikeout. Army collected 13 hits off the two pitchers with McKone smacking three hits with Nguyen, Payleitner and Gaff each collecting two.
Lashley (19-1), posting both shutouts against Bucknell, was touched for her first hit a bunt single in the third inning and her second a leadoff single in the top of the sixth inning. Following the second hit, she went on to retire the final 18 batters she faced, six by strikeout. Lashley issued just three walk to the 37 batters she faced and just twice allowed the Bison to reach second base.
Bucknell jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the nightcap on Zahn's two-out single scoring Cassie Greenhawk, who drew a walk off starter Braetana Roy (5-8). The Bison tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the third inning with the first scoring on an error and the second on Zahn's triple in pulling ahead 3-0.
In the fourth inning, Colie Escobar's leadoff solo home run put Bucknell up 4-0 and knocked out Roy. Lashley, playing in her third game of the weekend, threw a three-hit shutout over the four innings she pitched. The Bison only reached scoring position once as she struck out three and walked two.
Army threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Bernadette Cardon smacked a one-out single to left field and beat out the throw to second on Payleitner's fielder's choice. With one out and runners at first and second, Cherness took over from Nielsen and ended the threat by getting the next batter to ground into a double play.
Over the weekend, Lashley did not allow a run over 22 innings pitched, yielding just six hits, striking out 17 and issuing eight walks posting a 2-0 mark and limiting the Bison to a stingy .090 batting average.
Army celebrated Senior Day honoring Alex Reynolds and head manager Trevor Hodges prior to the start of the twinbill.
The Black Knights return to action Wednesday hosting Yale in a non-league doubleheader before heading to Lafayette for their final weekend of Patriot League competition.