Posted: February 20, 2009
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Lehigh opened its 2009 season with a pair of victories at the GWU Tournament Friday at Varsity Field. Freshman Julie Fernandez homered her first college game and senior Lisa Sweeney fanned 10 in the pitcher’s circle as the Mountain Hawks downed Howard 6-2 in Friday’s opener. In the second game, Sweeney displayed her offensive prowess, clubbing a pair of home runs and driving in five runs as the Mountain Hawks blasted the host Runnin’ Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb 16-4 in six innings.
In Friday’s opening game Sweeney yielded 11 hits, but managed to go the distance allowing just two runs while walking one and striking out ten for her 72nd career win. The Bison grabbed an early lead with two runs in the top of the second inning, before the Mountain Hawks, the designated home team, battled back to take the lead with five runs in the bottom of the third.
The Mountain Hawks capitalized on four Howard errors in rallying for the season opening win. Lehigh’s rally began when junior Lauren Eichblatt drew a walk. Eichblatt advanced to third on an error as senior Kristyn Kubiak reached on a fielder’s choice. Both runners came around to score when freshman Audra Wood reached on an error by pitcher Jessica Hurston. Wood then scored the tying run on an illegal pitch.
In just her second college at-bat, Fernandez put Lehigh ahead with a two-run home run to right off Carly Martin, which made the score 5-2.
Lehigh tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth when senior Whitney Lowe doubled and came around to score on an error by Bison right fielder Courtney Young on a ball hit by freshman Jen Colquhoun.
Hurston took the loss for Howard allowing four unearned runs. She faced just four batters and did not record an out, for the Bison, who fell to 3-8 with two losses on the day. Howard did out-hit Lehigh 11-5 on the game but the Bison were done in by the four errors.
Lehigh also needed to come from behind in its second game of the day, as host Gardner-Webb scored three runs in the bottom of the first off junior Tiffany Curtis, as Christa Fullwood singled home two runs and Mandy Ward added an RBI hit of her own.
Sweeney pulled the Mountain Hawks with one swing of the bat in the top of the third inning when she drove an Alison Coffey offering over the left-centerfield fence for a three-run home run.
The Mountain Hawks took the lead for good in the next frame, as sophomore Carly Potock doubled home Colquhoun to make it 4-3 Lehigh. Two batters later, Cueva singled home two runs, and following a pitching change, Sweeney struck again, with a two-run blast to left capping off the five run inning.
In the sixth, Lehigh put the game away, capitalizing on three Gardner-Webb errors to plate eight runs in the frame.
Sweeney went 2-for-4 in game two with three runs scored and five driven in. Potock, Cueva and Eichblatt each added two RBI for the Brown and White, who out-hit the Runnin’ Bulldogs 13-6.
Curtis went the first five innings in the circle, allowing three runs on five hits, while striking out seven and walking five. Sophomore Bri Gaumer pitched the sixth allowing a run on a hit for the Mountain Hawks.
Gardner-Webb split its two games on Friday and is now 3-3 on the season.
The 16-run outburst was the most for Lehigh since the Mountain Hawks scored 17 in a win over Lafayette on April 7, 2007.
Lehigh will wrap-up action at the GWU Tournament with two games on Saturday, as the Mountain Hawks will face Gardner-Webb at 10:30 a.m. and Howard at 1 p.m. at Varsity Field.