Posted: May 16, 2008
AMHERST, Mass. – Stanford’s Missy Penna struck out 14 batters to pick up her 35th win of the season as the Cardinal blanked Lehigh 4-0 in the opening game of the NCAA Amherst Regional Friday at the UMass Softball Complex. The Mountain Hawks hung tough with the No. 12 national seed all day but managed just four hits off Penna as they fall to 38-16-1 on the season. Lehigh will play an elimination game against either UMass or Princeton on Saturday.
Senior Kate Marvel started things off with an infield single off Penna, but the Stanford junior retired the next nine batters she faced, including eight via strikeout. The Cardinal got on the scoreboard with two outs in the bottom of the first when Maddy Coon drove a pitch from junior Lisa Sweeney over the centerfield wall, just over the outstretched glove of Marvel.
“Softball is a funny game,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “Whether they scored a run in the first or the fifth or the seventh, it doesn’t really matter. I had confidence that we could score some runs, so at that time I didn’t think the game was in jeopardy of getting away for us.”
The Cardinal (47-12) tacked on a second run in the third inning when Alissa Haber tripled down the left field line, and then Shannon Koplitz followed with a bloop single to left.
Lehigh had its best threat in the fourth inning, as freshman Carly Potock led off with an infield single. A one-out walk to Sweeney placed runners at first and second, but Penna responded by striking out juniors Alisha Gonzales and Whitney Lowe to end the threat.
In the sixth, Stanford tacked on a pair of insurance runs on RBI singles from Melissa Koutz and Anna Beardman.
Stanford out-hit Lehigh 8-4 for the game, led by Haber, who was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. Lowe and sophomore Brooke Lewis had the other two hits for the Mountain Hawks.
In the circle, Sweeney struck out five, including her 300th of the season and allowed four runs on eight hits, while walking two, as she falls to 25-5 on the season.
“As a team we’re frustrated because we’re a pretty competitive group,” said Sweeney. “We played hard and had fun out there today and as a team we’re pretty optimistic going into to the rest of the weekend.”
Penna continued to be one of the most dominant pitchers in college softball, allowing just four singles, while walking two and fanning 14 as she improves to 35-10.
The Mountain Hawks will meet the loser of the UMass-Princeton game in an elimination game currently scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on WLVR-FM and Lehighsports.com with the pregame show 15 minutes prior to first pitch.
Photos © 2008, Mark Covelle