Posted: May 8, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh opened up play at the 2008 Patriot League tournament with a convincing 8-0, five-inning shutout of Army Thursday afternoon at Kaufman Field. Junior Lisa Sweeney fired a one-hitter for her eighth shutout of the season for the top-seeded Mountain Hawks, while the offense bounced back from an eleven day layoff with eleven hits. Lehigh improves to 36-14-1 overall and the Mountain Hawks will face No. 3 seed Bucknell in the winner’s bracket on Friday morning.
“Lisa (Sweeney) pitched very well for us,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “If she pitches that well throughout the tournament we will be in every game. Offensively, I’m pleased with our production after a lengthy layoff. We swung the bats well and advanced runners. We played well despite the layoff.”
The Mountain Hawks raced to a commanding lead with five runs on six hits in the bottom of the second inning. Junior Whitney Lowe started the rally with a sharp leadoff single through the left side. Army starter Veronica Barth then hit senior Taryn Hanley, and a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Brooke Lewis moved runners to second and third with one out.
Senior Megan Conrad drove in the game’s first run with a single and classmate Kate Marvel followed with a base hit to right field, to make it 2-0 Lehigh. After a groundout moved runners to second and third, freshman Alex Cueva laced a single to left field, scoring Conrad and Marvel. Sweeney moved Cueva into scoring position with a single, and junior Alisha Gonzales capped the frame when she drove Cueva home with a single to right field.
Lowe and Hanley started another rally in the third inning with a hit and a walk respectively. Lewis’ second sacrifice of the game moved the runners into scoring position and Conrad brought Lowe home with an RBI groundout.
Lehigh added two more runs in the fourth on RBI sacrifice flies by Sweeney and Lowe, before the Patriot League pitcher shut the door on the Black Knights with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. Sweeney allowed just a third inning single from Army catcher Mary Ann Kearney and struck out nine as she improves to 23-3 on the season.
Four Mountain Hawks recorded two hits in the game with freshman Carly Potock joining Cueva, Sweeney and Lowe.
Barth was tagged with the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits in two-plus innings. She falls to 10-16. Army is now 13-38 on the season and will face No. 2 Lafayette in an elimination game Friday at 1:30 p.m. The Leopards fell to Bucknell 1-0 in ten innings in Thursday’s second game.
The Mountain Hawks will face Bucknell at 11 a.m. Friday at Kaufman Field with the winner advancing directly to the championship round on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on 91.3 FM WLVR as well as online at Lehighsports.com beginning at 10:45 with the pregame show featuring the Fran Troyan Report.