TOWSON, Md. – Freshman designated hitter Peter Bowles had two hits and drove in four runs to lead the Tigers (16-16) to a 10-8 non-conference victory over Bucknell University (16-18) at John B. Schuerholz Park on Tuesday afternoon.
In a game that was tied five times, Bowles gave the Tigers a 10-8 lead in the bottom of the seventh when he doubled home two runs with two outs.
Leading off the bottom of the seventh inning, senior centerfielder Ben Winter was hit by a pitch. After sophomore righthander Jack McLinden retired the next two hitters, he loaded the bases on back-to-back walks to sophomore leftfielder Kurt Wertz and junior first baseman Kurtis Voytell. With the bases loaded and two outs, Bowles ripped a line drive down the left field line for a two-run double, giving the Tigers a 10-8 lead. McLinden worked out of the jam by retiring junior catcher Zach Fisher on a line drive to centerfield.
Senior righthander Tyler Austin came out of the bullpen to protect the lead for the Tigers. However, there were some anxious moments before he recorded his second save of the season.
In the eighth inning, the Bison had a runner on first base and one out when Austin got pinch hitter Carter Bumgardner to ground into a double play.
In the ninth inning, the Bison had the tying runs on base with no outs. Senior centerfielder Bob Donato led off with an infield hit before rightfielder Brett Ashley was hit by a pitch. Sophomore third baseman Will Mooney moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
With two runners in scoring position and one out, junior second baseman Scott Glass hit a sharp line drive that was caught by freshman second baseman Ryne Willard. He threw to sophomore shortstop Hunter Bennett to double Ashley off second base and end the game.
Austin earned the save by pitching two shutout innings, allowing one hit with on e walk. He saved the win for sophomore lefthander Kyle Paul (right), who pitched three effective innings. In three innings of work, Paul threw 44 pitches and 38 of them were strikes. He allowed two runs on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Tigers took a 1-0 lead but squandered an opportunity for a big inning. Winter led off and reached base on an error by junior shortstop Robb Scott. However, sophomore catcher Justin Meier threw Winter out as he tried to steal second base. That proved to be costly when Willard walked and sophomore rightfielder Dominic Fratantuono doubled down the rightfield line, putting runners on second and third base. A walk to Wertz loaded the bases with one out. Voytell lined a single to left field, driving in Willard with the first run of the game. However, junior leftfielder Matt Busch threw out Fratantuono, who was trying to score from second base. Senior righthander Jack Boehm pitched out of the jam when he got Bowles to pop up.
After retiring the first six batters he faced, freshman righthander Paul Beers of Towson ran into trouble in the third inning. After issuing a leadoff walk to senior first baseman Russell Seidel, Beers walked Scott to put two runners on base. Donato, the Bison’s top hitter with a .406 batting average, came through with a two-run double to right field, putting the Bison ahead, 2-1. Beers came back to retire the next two hitters, stranding Donato at third base.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Tigers came right back to regain the lead against freshman lefthander Xavier Hammond. Fratantuono led off with a walk before Wertz reached on an error. A walk to Voytell loaded the bases. Bowles lined a single to right, scoring Fratantuono to tie the game. Hammond nearly pitched his way out of the jam as he retired Fisher on a popup before striking out Bennett. However, he walked freshman third baseman Mike Draper on a 3-2 pitch, forcing in the go-ahead run. Then, Winter lined a two-run single to left centerfield, giving the Tigers a 5-2 advantage. After the single by Winter, Hammond was relieved by junior righthander Marcus Garone. Garone ended the rally by striking out Willard.
In the fourth inning, Glass led off with a double to left field. After designated hitter Rob Krentzman reached base on an error, Beers struck out Meier for the first out. However, a walk to Seidel loaded the bases. On the first pitch from Beers, Busch belted his first home run of the season over the left field fence. His grand slam homer gave Bucknell a 6-5 lead. Beers retired the next two hitters to escape the inning with no further damage.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Tigers took advantage of some Bison fielding problems to take the lead again. With one out, Wertz reached base on an error. Voytell followed with his second hit of the game, sending Wertz to third base. A sacrifice fly by Bowles scored Wertz to tie the game at 6-6. Fisher put the Tigers ahead when he tripled to right centerfield. It appeared that the Bison would get out of the inning with no further runs when Bennett hit a ground ball to third base. However, senior David Duffett made a throwing error and Fisher scored to put the Tigers ahead, 8-6.
The Tigers’ 8-6 lead was short-lived. Paul relieved Beers to start the fifth inning and gave up a single to Ashley. Duffett followed with a double to left field and the Bison had runners on second and third with no outs. A sacrifice fly by Glass drove in Ashley to cut the Bison deficit to 8-7. When Krentzman doubled down the rightfield line, Duffett scored to tie the game at 8-8. Paul retired the next two hitters to preserve the tie.
The Tigers, who left 12 runners on base, were the beneficiaries of ten walks by Bison pitching and four errors.
Beers started for the Tigers and allowed five earned runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out five.
In addition to issuing ten walks and hitting two batters, five Bucknell pitchers allowed six unearned runs.
Each team had eight hits. Donato went two-for-five with two RBI’s for the Bison while Busch was two-for-three with four RBI’s.
Bowles led the Tigers with two hits and four RBI’s while Voytell was two-for-two with three walks, two runs scored and one RBI. Despite going 0-for-3, Wertz walked twice and scored three runs. Fisher also had two hits and drove in a run.
The Tigers, who are now 9-3 at Schuerholz Park this season, have won three of their last four games. They return to action on Wednesday afternoon when they host Delaware State at 3:00 p.m.