Posted: April 11, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh closed out the first half of its Patriot League slate at 9-1 after sweeping a rain-delayed doubleheader from rival Lafayette Saturday at Kaufman Field. Senior Lisa Sweeney fired a four-hit shutout and Lehigh capitalized on a five-run third inning to take the opener 6-0; while Sweeney came out of the bullpen in a one-run game to earn the save as the Mountain Hawks won the nightcap 5-1. The Mountain Hawks have now won 10 straight games overall and are 23-14-1, while Lafayette falls to 8-18 overall and 4-6 in league games.
In game one, the Mountain Hawks manufactured a run in the bottom of the first when freshman Audra Wood walked, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on a ground out by classmate Julie Fernandez.
The Mountain Hawks broke the game open in the third inning, capitalizing on four hits, an error and some wildness from Lafayette starter Kasey Karr. With the bases loaded and one out, Karr hit senior Alisha Gonzales and then walked freshman Jen Colquhoun to force home a pair of runs to make it 3-0. Sophomore Alex Cueva then followed with a single to center field and with two outs, classmate Carly Potock reached on an RBI infield single, with a second run scoring on a throwing error by Lafayette third baseman Kristin Garganio.
In the circle, Sweeney allowed four hits, walked four and struck out ten for her fourth shutout of the season as she improves to 13-8. Karr was dealt the loss allowing five earned runs on nine hits as she falls to 4-8.
The nightcap began as a pitcher’s duel between Lehigh junior Tiffany Curtis and Lafayette sophomore Ali Henry. Lehigh finally pushed through with a run in the bottom of the fourth when Colquhoun hit a one-out double to right and then Cueva dunked a double down the right field line to score her.
Lafayette loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Curtis battled back to strike out Christina Giambrone, and with Stacey Kushner batting, Curtis tagged out Emma Kline, who was trying to score on a wild pitch.
In the sixth, the Leopards put the first two runners on with nobody out when Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan summoned Sweeney from the bullpen. Sweeney retired Karr on a pop-up to second base then struck out Kerry Griffin and Stacey Dorn to end the threat.
Lehigh added to its lead with a four-run sixth. Three of the runs came on wild pitches by Henry, as Cueva made it 2-0 when she moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a throwing error by Kushner. A RBI single by sophomore Mickey LaValley made it 3-0, and she and Wood eventually made it home on wild pitches as well.
Lafayette broke the shutout bid with a run in the top of the seventh, but Sweeney slammed the door on the Leopards for her first save this season. At the plate, Sweeney had a hit in each game to extend her hitting streak to 16 consecutive games. Fernandez had two hits in each game to raise her average to a league-best .417.
Curtis earned her tenth win with five scoreless innings in the circle. She struck out six and walked for as she moves to 10-4 on the season.
“Lisa Sweeney pitched great as did Tiffany Curtis,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “We changed things up a bit with Lisa in game two and it worked out. Lafayette played us very tough all day long and we’re happy to come away with two wins against a quality opponent.”
The Mountain Hawks and Leopards will wrap-up their series with a doubleheader Sunday at Kaufman Field. First pitch for game one is set for 1 p.m. and all the action can be heard on Lehighsports.com with streaming powered by Yahoo! Sports College Broadcast.