March 24, 2012
MERION STATION, Pa. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team split a doubleheader with Bucknell on the Maguire Campus on Saturday afternoon, dropping the seven-inning opener, 4-3, before taking game two, 2-1. Kevin Kratochwill drove in three runs on the day, including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth inning in game two.
Bucknell (11-9) scored four runs in the top of the second and starter Ryan Ebner made them stand up as a late Hawk rally ultimately fell short in a 4-3 defeat. Kratochwill drove in a pair of runs for SJU while Alex Pracher tossed a complete game in the loss, striking out eight.
Gerry Runyan led off the second with a double for the Bison and came around to score on a ground-rule double by Matt Lamore. Lamore and Robb Scott then crossed the plate on a double by Mark Figgie, who eventually came in on a passed ball to give Bucknell the early 4-0 lead.
Saint Joseph's (5-18) answered with a pair in the bottom half when Kratochwill's single up the middle plated Tommy Cunningham and Mike Muha. Cunningham doubled earlier in the inning while Muha and Drew Stoll worked two-out walks to load the bases for Kratochwill.
The teams traded zeroes until the bottom of the seventh. Kratochwill led off with a single to right and advanced to second on a single by Anthony Cirillo. Two batters later, Quinn Renner ripped a single to right center to score Kratochwill and cut the deficit to one. Unfortunately for the Crimson and Gray, Bucknell's Alex Cillo closed out the inning with a strikeout to preserve the win.
Ebner improved to 2-3 after allowing two runs on three hits in six innings, walking six against two strikeouts. Cillo earned his fifth save on the season.
Pracher gave up seven hits across seven innings, allowing four runs, three of them earned. He allowed just one walk and fanned eight, matching his season high.
Ryan Pater led off the game for the Hawks and was hit by a pitch. A stolen base and a Stefan Kancylarz single moved Pater to third, and he came in to score on a single by Cunningham to give SJU a quick 1-0 lead.
The Bison equalized in the fifth, scratching across a two-out unearned run after Justin Meier reached on an error and eventually scored on a single by Mark Figgie.
The score remained tied at one apiece until the bottom of the eighth. Eddie Palmer drew a leadoff walk and was replaced on the basepaths by pinch runner Tim Craig, who moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pater. Kratochwill then followed with a single to left to score Craig with what turned out to be the winning run.
Schuler retired the side in order in the ninth, his second inning of work, to close the door on the Bison. He improved to 2-0 on the year, striking out three and not allowing a hit.
Carter was outstanding in his seven innings, scattering nine hits and allowing just a single unearned run. The sophomore struck out one without walking a batter. Bryson Hough (1-3) went the distance for Bucknell, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while fanning three.
The teams will close out the series on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.