Posted: March 6, 2009
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Mountain Hawks opened up play at the Under Armour Classic with a pair of heartbreaking one-run losses Friday afternoon. Lehigh led by two runs going into the bottom of the seventh in both of its games, but Virginia Tech rallied for three runs in its last at-bat to rally past the Mountain Hawks 4-3 in the day’s first game, while Fordham tied the second game with two runs in its half of the seventh, before winning 7-6 in eight innings. With the losses Lehigh falls to 7-5 on the season.
Lehigh opened the day against 2008 Women’s College World Series participant Virginia Tech, and things started well for the Mountain Hawks, who raced to a 3-0 lead after four and a half innings. Freshman Audra Wood led off the game by reaching on an error and later came around to score on a second Hokie miscue to put Lehigh up 1-0.
In the fourth inning, sophomore Mickey LaValley extended the Lehigh lead with a single up the middle that scored freshman Jen Colquhoun, who singled, was sacrificed to second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Lehigh used a similar formula in its next at bad as freshman Julie Fernandez led off with a single. Pinch-runner Tenley Halaquist was sacrificed to second and moved to third on a ground out before scoring on Carly Potock’s single up the middle.
Virginia Tech plated its first run on an Erin Ota sacrifice fly in the fifth, and finally got to Lehigh starter Lisa Sweeney in the seventh. Marra Hvozdovic and Jenna Rhodes opened the frame with back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt by Ota moved the tying-runs into scoring position. Charisse Mariconda then tied the game with a single through the right side and moved to second on an error by right fielder Alisha Gonzales. The next batter, Jessica Everhart singled to left field, bringing home Mariconda to give the Hokies the come-from-behind win.
Sweeney was tagged with her first loss of the season, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits in six and a third innings of work, while striking out seven and walking two. Kenzie Roark pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of Abbie Roxrode to earn the victory for Virginia Tech (6-10).
Lehigh immediately went back to work in the top of the first in its game versus Fordham as Wood led off with a walk; stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on a fielder’s choice by Fernandez.
The Rams answered back with two runs off junior Tiffany Curtis in the bottom of the first, before the Mountain Hawks pulled even again in the third as Fernandez doubled to left center to bring home Potock.
The Mountain Hawks pulled ahead in their next at-bat when Gonzales led off with a double and pinch-runner Halaquist scored on an RBI single by junior Brooke Lewis. Two batters later sophomore Sam Miller delivered a pinch hit sacrifice fly, scoring Colquhoun to make it 4-2. In the fifth, Lehigh added two more runs as Gonzales and Sweeney came home on an error by Fordham’s Samantha Pellechio.
In the bottom of the sixth Fordham began its comeback when Jo Krasnisky delivered a pinch-hit two-run double to pull the Rams within a pair. In the seventh, Fordham’s first two batters reached on bunt singles and a sacrifice bunt put the tying runs in scoring position with one out. With two outs, Jocelyn Dearborn tied the game with a ground-rule double to left to tie the game at six. Sweeney then came out of the bullpen for Lehigh and struck out Beckah Wiggins to send the game to extra innings, where the international tiebreaker rule came into effect.
Lehigh opened the eighth with sophomore Alex Cueva on second base. Potock sacrificed Cueva to third, but Wood followed with a line drive that Pellechio caught at shortstop and then threw to third to double off Cueva.
In the bottom of the frame, a base hit from Meghan Shager put runners on the corners with one out. Sweeney struck out Mary Kay Bright for the second out, but Melissa Andrews singled to center to score the winning run to give the Rams the victory.
Sweeney suffered her second loss of the day as she falls to 4-2 on the season. Curtis went the first six and two-thirds innings allowing six runs and seven hits. In her first start since her perfect game on Tuesday, Curtis struck out seven and walked six.
Wiggins came out of the bullpen to earn the win for Fordham (6-6), as she did not allow an earned run in five innings of work.
The Mountain Hawks continue play at the Under Armour Classic with two games on Saturday, beginning with a 1 p.m. matchup with tournament host USF.