May 10, 2013
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -
Christian McKone drove in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run on Alex Reynolds' RBI single in the top of the seventh, and Morgan Lashley retired the side in the bottom half as Army rallied for a 4-3 win over Bucknell at Kaufman Field Friday to advance to the Patriot League Tournament championship round Saturday morning.
The second-seeded Black Knights (33-24) take on top-seed and host Lehigh Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with a second game at 12 p.m. (if necessary). Lehigh is 2-0 in the double elimination tournament and Army is 2-1 with its lone loss to the Mountain Hawks (8-0 in six) in the first game on Saturday.
Trailing 1-0 after the first inning, Army tied the game 1-1 in the top of the third on McKone's (3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored) RBI single driving in Ali Cleinmark, who led off with a single and moved to second on a fielder's choice.
Third-seed Bucknell, who lost to Army 3-2 in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament, snapped the tie with a pair of unearned runs in the third for a 3-1 advantage.
Army plated a single run in the top of the fifth when Amanda Nguyen, who broke the league's single-season record for hits (79) in that frame, scored on Kasey McCravey's sacrifice fly to center field in drawing to 3-2. Nguyen motored around on a stolen base and McKone's single, which knocked out starter Amanda Fazio, and scored on McCravey's sac fly off reliever Dana Nielsen.
The Black Knights collected three hits and both runs off Nielsen (9-13) in the top of the seventh. With one out, Nguyen beat out an infield single, stole second base and crossed on McKone's single to right center to tie the score 3-3.
Army was not done yet as McKone moved to second on the throw home, went to third on a flyout to right field and raced home on Reynolds' infield hit to the shortstop for the tie-breaking run.
After April Ortenzo was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second, Bridget Gates took over the circle and stranded them on a fielders choice groundout to deny Army insurance runs.
With Bucknell coming to bat in the home half of the seventh, Lashley (27-12) shut down the Bison on a groundout and back-to-back flyouts to preserve the win as Army advanced to the championship round for the second straight year and 12th overall.
Lashley, who tossed a nifty four-hitter, walked one and struck out two, threw hitless ball over the final four frames and only one of two Bison batters (walk and error) to get on base reached second.
After walking the leadoff batter in the bottom of the fifth, Lashley retired nine straight batters to post the win and tie the school's all-time mark with her 60th career victory.
Army collected 10 hits off three Bucknell pitchers with Ngugyen and McKone both going 3-for-4. Reynolds had two hits and Rae Anne Payleitner ripped a double.
Army and Lehigh will be meeting for the 31st time in the Patriot League Tournament Saturday morning with the Mountain Hawks leading 21-9. The Black Knights have won four league tournament titles, the last two in 2000 and 2002 as the No. 2 seed - both times they came up through the losers' bracket to defeat Lehigh.