April 18, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army baseball team continues its Patriot League slate this weekend (April 20-21) when the Black Knights travel to Lewisburg, Pa., to face conference rival Bucknell in a crucial four-game series.
The league foes will play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. Army (16-17, 7-5 PL) and Bucknell (13-24, 7-5 PL) enter this weekend's action tied for second place in the Patriot League standings.
The Black Knights swept a four-game series at Lafayette last weekend to jump from a tie for fifth place into a tie for second place in the Patriot League standings. The Bison, meanwhile, have won three of four conference games each of the past two weekends to vault into second place.
The other Patriot League matchups this weekend feature league-leading Holy Cross (8-4 PL) hosting fifth-place Lehigh (5-7 PL) and sixth-place Lafayette (3-9 PL) traveling to fourth-place Navy (6-6 PL). The jumbled conference standings include five of the six teams within three games of the top spot, which is currently occupied by the Crusaders.
Fans that are unable to make the trek to central Pennsylvania this weekend will be able to follow the action via GameTracker by logging onto Army's official athletics website (goARMYsports.com) and navigating to the baseball schedule page. Bucknell will provide live audio broadcasts of all four games via SportsJuice.com. In-game Twitter updates will also be offered throughout the weekend from the official Twitter handle of Army baseball (@Army_Baseball).
Army is coming off a 4-3 setback to Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon. The Black Knights trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth inning before rallying to score two runs on three hits. Army had the potential game-tying run on second base when the game ended.
Army ranks second in the Patriot League in team earned run average (4.41), while listing fourth in the conference in team batting average (.257). The Black Knights also rank as the second-best defensive team in the Patriot League with a .965 fielding percentage.
Patrick Mescher leads Army in batting average (.330), ranks second in on-base percentage (.430) and lists third in runs batted in (23) and slugging percentage (.349). Jacob Page, who ranks second on the team with a .309 batting average, leads the Black Knights in home runs (three), triples (two), RBI (25) and slugging percentage (.464). Alex Jensen, who is third on the club with a .306 batting average, is tied with Page for the team lead in RBI (25), while also pacing the team with eight doubles.
Chris Rowley (4-3, 3.02 ERA) and Alex Robinett (5-2, 3.38 ERA) have established themselves as two of Army's best starting pitchers this season. Rowley leads the Black Knights with 48 strikeouts and two complete games, while Robinett lists second on the team with 36 strikeouts. Brock Davidson(2-3, 4.08 ERA) has been especially effective since the start of Patriot League play, posting a 1.35 earned run average against conference foes. The freshman right-hander also lists third on the team with 24 strikeouts.
Bucknell had won seven of eight games prior to a 7-6 12-inning loss at Penn State on Wednesday night. The Bison are led by an improving pitching staff that boasts the conference's lowest team earned run average (3.54) since the beginning of Patriot League play. Bucknell has also seen increased offensive production since the conference season began as the Bison are batting .280 against league foes.
Carter Bumgardner leads Bucknell with a .322 batting average and 23 runs batted in. Corey Furman, who ranks fourth on the team with a .301 batting average, tops the Bison with 26 runs scored and lists second with 17 RBI. Travis Clark paces the squad with 13 doubles and two home runs, while ranking third in runs batted in (16) and batting average (.306).
Bryson Hough (2-4, 3.64 ERA) and Dan Goldstein (4-4, 3.40 ERA) have anchored Bucknell's starting pitching rotation this season. Goldstein leads the Bison with 48 strikeouts, while Hough paces the club with 59.1 innings pitched. Andrew Andreychik (3-2, 3.63 ERA) and Dan Weigel (2-5, 5.14 ERA) have emerged as quality weekend starters for Bucknell as well. Weigel lists second on the team with 40 strikeouts and 56.0 innings pitched.
Army and Bucknell have met 103 times since the series began in 1910. The Black Knights hold a 61-42 edge in the all-time series after sweeping four games from the Bison during last season's regular-season series at West Point. Bucknell won three of four meetings the last time the teams met in Lewisburg during the 2011 campaign.
Following this weekend's series, Army faces Marist in the eighth annual WRWD Hudson Valley Baseball Classic at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, N.Y. First pitch for the non-league contest is slated for 7 p.m.