Posted: March 28, 2009
HAMILTON, N.Y. – Lisa Sweeney broke the school record for home runs and earned two wins as a pitcher on Saturday as the Mountain Hawks took a pair of games from the Colgate Raiders on the road. Sweeney’s first home run in game two started a six-run seventh inning to put Lehigh ahead, and her second home run delivered the crushing blow to the Raiders in the 10th inning. The senior now has 23 career home runs for the Brown and White.
Sweeney pitched a complete game victory in game one, going seven innings and giving up four runs. In game two, Sweeney came in as a reliever in the third inning, proceeding to go 7.1 innings and giving up two runs to earn her second win of the afternoon.
Lehigh improves to 15-14-1 win the win, including a 3-1 mark in Patriot League play. The Raiders fall to 11-10, with a 1-3 league record.
“Today she had a game where they had a couple of good swings off her, but by in large she was back to hitting her spots and pitching very effectively,” Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan said. “Honestly we felt a need to go to her again to get a win in the second game and that’s exactly what she did.”
In game one, the Mountain Hawks took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Julie Fernandez got things going with an RBI single and the freshman finished with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, driving in three of Lehigh’s runs in a 9-4 victory. Mickey LaValley also had a big day at the plate in game one, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored in the win.
The Mountain Hawks trailed 7-3 heading into the seventh inning in game two, before Sweeney’s home run ignited a late Lehigh rally. Lehigh took an early 3-0 lead, but Tiffany Curtis gave up five runs in the second inning as the Raiders jumped on top for the first time all day.
Briana Gaumer came in as a reliever to stem the tide, but Colgate added two more runs in the third to increase the lead to four runs. Lehigh pitchers combined to walk six batters, allowing the Raiders to score nine times on just five hits.
Sweeney came in to bail out the Mountain Hawks in the third, and the senior shut down the Raiders over the next three innings.
After Fernandez reached on an error, Sweeney belted a two-run home run in the seventh to cut the deficit to just 7-5 with nobody out. Alisha Gonzales followed up Sweeney’s homer with one of her own and the back-to-back shots put Lehigh down just one run. The Mountain Hawks scored three more runs in the seventh to take a 9-7 lead.
“We just never gave up,” Troyan said. “They misplayed a couple of balls and we took advantage of it. We were relentless in that inning. The team showed incredible heart to come back.”
But the Raiders simply would not go away in the seventh. Needing just two more outs to seal the victory, Sweeney gave up a two-run blast to Erin Gomez to tie the score at 9-9 in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the team’s headed for extra frames.
“At that point you just have to give them credit for coming back and doing to us what we had just done to them,” Troyan said. “It was just amazing resiliency that the players showed.”
But once again it was Sweeney at the plate when the Mountain Hawks needed a big hit. The senior went yard for the second time of the day, and the 23rd time in her career, for a two-run blast in the 10th that gave Lehigh the lead for good.
“It was just such a great team win, we haven’t even mentioned it,” Troyan said of the record after the game. “The individual accolades are always very nice, but the team success always comes first.”
Lehigh returns to action on April 1, when it takes on Towson on the road in a double-headers starting at 3 p.m.