Posted: April 12, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior Lisa Sweeney fired a six-hit shutout, her second in as many days, in game one and then delivered a walk-off RBI double in game two as Lehigh completed a four game sweep of rival Lafayette with a doubleheader sweep Sunday afternoon at Kaufman Field. The Mountain Hawks captured game one 2-0 and won the nightcap 3-2 to improve to 25-14-1 overall and 11-1 in the Patriot League. Lehigh has now won its last 12 games overall.
“It was great to see Lisa (Sweeney) return to form,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “She’s now performing the way we’ve always expected her to perform. Obviously, she also did a great job, in helping us out with a game-winning hit in game two.”
Freshman Audra Wood delivered the only two runs of Sunday’s first game with a second-inning one-out single up the middle that scored sophomores Alex Cueva and Mickey LaValley.
Sweeney allowed six hits in the circle, but consistently worked her way out of trouble on the way to her fifth shutout of the season. She allowed just six hits and did not walk a batter, while striking out eight in the opener.
Kasey Karr took her second loss in as many days for the Leopards, despite allowing just eight Lehigh singles.
Lehigh needed to come from behind in game two, which like Saturday began as a pitcher’s duel between junior Tiffany Curtis and Lafayette’s Ali Henry. The Leopards put their first two batters on base in the top of the fifth, and once again Sweeney was summoned from the bullpen. Sweeney struck out Gwen Turner and got Karr to hit into a fielder’s choice for the first two outs. A walk to Christina Giambrone loaded the bases and Stacey Dorn’s fly ball to left field was mishandled by Ali Torborg, allowing two runs to score.
The Mountain Hawks clawed back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sweeney extended her hitting streak to 16 games with a single up the middle and came around to score Lehigh’s first run on a double down the right field line by senior Alisha Gonzales. With two outs, Cueva laced a double to right center, scoring pinch runner Kristyn Kubiak to tie the game at two.
In the seventh, Lehigh mustered a two-out rally with back-to-back singles by senior Whitney Lowe and freshman Julie Fernandez. Sweeney followed with a double to centerfield, bringing Lowe home with the winning run.
Lehigh out-hit Lafayette 9-2 in the nightcap, with Fernandez and Sweeney leading the way with two hits apiece.
In the circle, Curtis went the first four innings-plus, allowing two unearned runs. She did not allow a hit, but did walk four while striking out two. Sweeney pitched three scoreless innings in relief allowing two hits, walking one and striking out three for her second win of the day. She moves to 15-8 on the season, while Henry was saddled with the loss, falling to 4-11.
Lafayette is now 8-20, 4-8 in league games.
With the sweep, Lehigh remains two games ahead of second place Colgate in the Patriot League standings, with each team having eight league games remaining. The Raiders completed a four-game sweep of Bucknell in Hamilton, N.Y.
“I’ve said it all along that Lafayette is a quality team, a team that was picked to finish second in the Patriot League,” explained Troyan. “To beat a quality team like them four times is a really good feat for our team. It was very challenging, but we did a tremendous job.”
The Mountain Hawks will be back in action on Wednesday when they wrap-up a 12-game home stand with a doubleheader against Rider. First pitch for game one is set for 3 p.m. from Kaufman Field.