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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Baseball splits doubleheader and drops matinee, Bloss named Pitcher of the Week

Junior Jake Bloss fires a strike against Bucknell. Bloss was named Patriot League pitcher of the week last week due in part to his performance against the Bison. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The men’s baseball team (11-24 overall, 6-5 Patriot League) traveled to Lewisburg, P.A. last weekend to face off against Bucknell in a three-game series. The Leopards split the doubleheader with the Bison Saturday but dropped the final meeting Sunday. 

“We’ve been working hard, practicing hard. [Bucknell] is one of the top teams in the conference. We’re grinding on stuff that we struggled with early and it’s paid off on the field,” junior right-handed starting pitcher Jake Bloss said.

Bucknell took the lead quickly, scoring three in the first three innings of game one. Junior outfielder Pete Ciuffreda responded in the fourth inning with a double to left field, and was able to advance to third on a flyout by senior catcher Dylan Minghini.

Junior infielder Seif Ingram was able to reach base due to a throwing error from Bucknell’s third baseman, bringing Ciuffreda across the plate and the Bison within just two runs.

“[Ciuffreda] has been absolutely tearing the cover off the ball. As a pitcher, you want as many runs as you can get on your team, so he’s been helping us a lot. He’s really solid,” Bloss said. 

Ciuffreda hit a home run in the top of the sixth to bring Lafayette up one, but the Bison ended the game without allowing another run. 

The team was led by Ciuffreda, who went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and sophomore pitcher Luke Benneche, who went 5 innings striking out five batters.

“[Benneche] has been pitching really well,” Bloss said.

The team was determined to win in part two of their doubleheader. Ciuffreda helped lead Lafayette to victory, going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs (runs batted in). Sophomore outfielder Justin Grech went 2-for-5 with two runs.

Junior left-handed pitcher Jacob Ciccone struck out four and earned his third save of the season during his three innings of play. Bloss secured seven strikeouts within 6 innings. 

Bloss was recently named Patriot League Pitcher of the week for his performance in another Bucknell game on April 2, when the Leopards defeated the Bison 3-1. Bloss struck out a career and league-high 15 batters, allowing only one walk, one run and four hits. 

“After a tough start to the season, it was nice to settle in, especially in a conference game, to get a nice start under our belt,” Bloss said.

Bloss’s other accolades include Patriot League academic honor roll both his freshman and sophomore years in addition to receiving the league’s Pitcher of the week last season as well. 

In the second game on Saturday, it was Lafayette jumping in front early as infielder Carter Dorighi doubled down the left field line to bring Ciuffreda home to score one for the Leopards. Ingram then singled to right field to plate two runners, putting Lafayette up 3-0. 

Bucknell was able to score in the bottom of the third, but the Maroon and White responded by adding two more runs in the top of the fifth, propelling their lead to 5-1. The Bison answered with one more run in the bottom of the sixth to lessen the Leopard’s lead.

“We’re fighting a lot better in the box. At the beginning of the year, we were going down way too easy. Now if we get two strikes, we’re still working hard,” Bloss said.

Ciuffreda hit an RBI single to score Grech and bring Lafayette’s lead to four. Minghini doubled to bring Ciuffreda home and take a 7-2 lead. Ciccone slammed the door to seal Lafayette’s victory.

Same with pitchers, if we get three ball counts, we’re grinding much better, not giving up free bases,” Bloss continued.

The Maroon and White fell to Bucknell Sunday afternoon in their final game of the weekend. Bucknell scored four runs in the bottom of the first and another three in the bottom of the third to take a seven-point lead going into the fourth inning. 

In the top of the sixth, Minghini hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring Brenner home and secure Lafayette’s first run. Then two innings later, Dorighi hit into a fielder’s choice to bring Brenner across the plate. 

But Lafayette was unable to mount the comeback, and Bucknell hung on to win the game 7-2.

“We’re still giving out a few too many free bags as a staff, but we’re getting better at that every weekend,” Bloss said.

Despite the loss, the team still saw successful plays and standout players. Both Minghini and Dorighi notched RBIs while Ciuffreda led the Leopards in hits with three.

The Leopards have another three-game series at home against Army this weekend, with a doubleheader Saturday and a matinee on Sunday. Game one will start at noon.

“We can hang with pretty much anyone, so I think we’re gonna come in and play a good game,” Bloss said. “We’re throwing really solid guys. We’re gonna ask some freshmen to be put in big spots again, they’ve been good so far this year. If our bats do what they can do, then we’ll win for sure.”

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Issy Bongiovanni
Issy Bongiovanni, Staff Sports Writer

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