Posted: April 26, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh clinched a spot in the Patriot League tournament with a doubleheader sweep of Colgate Saturday at Kaufman Field. Junior Lisa Sweeney homered and picked up her league record 66th career victory as the Mountain Hawks took game one 10-2 in six innings. Sweeney was also a major factor in the nightcap as her two-out two-run single capped off a seventh inning comeback as Lehigh earned the sweep with a 5-4 triumph. With the wins Lehigh moves to 34-13-1 on the season, 13-5 in the Patriot League.
The Mountain Hawks will enter their final day of the regular season tied atop the league standings with Lafayette, since the Leopards split a doubleheader at Army.
Sweeney did not have her best stuff in the circle in game one, but pitched well enough to notch her 21st win of the season. She allowed two runs on seven hits, while striking out seven and walking one. Sweeney also helped herself at the plate, where she led off the second inning with a long home run to left field, her 12th of the season, to put Lehigh up 1-0.
Following a double by junior Alisha Gonzales and a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Brooke Lewis, Junior Whitney Lowe laced a single to left field, which scored pinch runner Kristyn Kubiak to give Lehigh a two-run advantage.
Colgate climbed within one when LaPorscha Albert singled home Melissa Babb-Renta in the fourth, but the Mountain Hawks broke the game open with four unearned runs off of Lacy Ver Steeg in the bottom of the fifth.
Ver Steeg relieved eventual losing pitcher Jesse McCarrick (3-10) with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning and retired the first eight batters she faced, but a costly throwing error on a bunt attempt by senior Kate Marvel opened the floodgates for a four-run inning. After a groundout by freshman Carly Potock, Alex Cueva doubled home Marvel to make it 3-1 Lehigh. Sweeney drew a walk, and then Gonzales singled to left to plate Cueva. Colgate then brought in its third pitcher of the day, Ashley Rowe, who walked Lewis before Lowe put Lehigh up by five with a two-run single to right center.
The Raiders climbed within four with a single run in the top of the sixth, but Lehigh answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning, capped-off by a game-ending two-run single by Lewis.
McCarrick took the loss in the opener, allowing two runs on five hits in an inning and two-thirds of work.
In game two, Colgate raced to a quick 1-0 lead without the benefit of a hit as Kortney Hannah was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a fielder’s choice, stole third and scored on a throwing error by Lewis,
Lehigh answered with a single run in the bottom of the second as Lowe drilled a one-out double and then scored on a single by senior Taryn Hanley.
The Raiders went back in front with three runs in the fifth, as a walk, a sacrifice and an error put runners on the corners with one out. Hannah put Colgate ahead with a sacrifice fly to left and Tiana Tyeskey followed with a two-run homer to left center to put the visitors up 4-1.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Cueva scored Marvel to make it 4-2 after five innings.
In the seventh, Hanley and senior Megan Conrad reached on back-to-back errors to open the inning. Marvel followed with a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. A sacrifice fly by Potock brought Lehigh within one, Cueva followed with a ground ball to third that could not plate the tying run and became the second out. With two outs and runners on second and third, the Raiders opted to pitch to Sweeney, who made them pay by lacing a single up the middle as Conrad and Marvel scored standing up to give Lehigh the come-from-behind win.
Ver Steeg was saddled with the loss in game two, allowing five runs (one earned) on nine hits. She walked two and struck out one as she falls to 4-8. Of the nine runs allowed by Ver Steeg on the day, eight were unearned.
Sophomore Tiffany Curtis bounced back from a couple of rough outings to earn the win for Lehigh in game two. Curtis allowed just two hits and one earned run while striking out five and walking three as she improves to 12-8 on the season.
“Lisa (Sweeney) had to battle a bit in game one, but did a great job,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “Tiffany Curtis pitched much better than she had been in the second game. We’re improving on some things but still need to do the little things well. We had several chances earlier in the games that we didn’t capitalize on, but we’re getting better and our new lineup is adjusting very well.”
With the losses, Colgate falls to 7-20 overall, 4-10 in the league.
Lehigh and Colgate will wrap up their four game series with a doubleheader on Sunday at Kaufman Field. First pitch for game one is set for noon. The Mountain Hawks can clinch a tenth-straight Patriot League regular season title and the right to host the Patriot League tournament with two wins on Sunday.