Posted: April 25, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh received a pair of strong pitching performances on Saturday afternoon and swept Holy Cross at Kaufman Field to clinch its 11th consecutive Patriot League regular season title. Senior Lisa Sweeney threw a complete-game, four-hitter in the opener as the Mountain Hawks won 3-0, while in the nightcap, junior Tiffany Curtis went the distance, striking out five over seven innings to help lead Lehigh to a 3-2 victory. With the wins Lehigh improves to 31-16-1 overall and 14-3 in the Patriot League, while Holy Cross drops to 12-31 overall and 6-12 in league action. By winning the regular season title, Lehigh will now host the 2009 Patriot League Tournament, which gets underway on May 7.
Sweeney was nothing short of dominant in the first game on Saturday, striking out the first nine batters she faced, and retiring the first 14 that came to the plate. Dettey Audette was the first Crusader to make contact with the ball, as she attempted to bunt her way on in the fourth, but Sweeney pounced on the attempt and made a quick throw to first to set her down. Nicole Ortiz broke up Sweeney’s no-hit attempt in the fifth when she hit a double to left-center, but Sweeney struck out the next batter to retire the side.
Lehigh got on the board for the first time in the second when Sweeney helped herself with a lead-off single to left. Alisha Gonzales then bunted Sweeny over to second and a Jen Colquhoun fly out to right moved Sweeney up to third base. Alex Cueva then ripped a pitch down the third base line that Camille Trainor made a nice play on to prevent from going into left field, but Cueva beat the throw to first and Sweeney scored to make it 1-0.
The Mountain Hawks added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when Julie Fernandez singled to left to begin a two-out rally. Ali Torborg came into run for Fernandez and she moved up to second on a single by Sweeeney. A Gonzalez single to center brought Torborg home and Sweeney scored one batter later when Colquhoun drove her in with an RBI single to give the Mountain Hawks a 3-0 advantage heading into the final stanza.
The only inning in which Holy Cross threatened to score was its half of the seventh when with two outs, Keeley Seniuk singled and Erin Fleming followed with a single of her own, putting runners on first and second. Sweeney was unfazed however, as she struck out Audette to end the game.
Sweeney finished the game with 14 strikeouts in the circle, and she helped her cause with two hits and a pair of runs scored. Katie Alexander took the loss for the Crusaders after throwing all seven innings, and surrendering seven hits and three runs. Alexander struck out four Mountain Hawks and walked just one.
In game two, Lehigh took an early 1-0 lead in the second when Gonzales reached on an error and Torborg came into run. Colquhoun bunted Torborg over to second, and a wild pitch moved her up to third. A Cueva single to left brought home Torborg and Lehigh was ahead 1-0.
The Mountain Hawks went ahead 3-0 in the fourth when Colquhoun led off with a single and moved up to second on a Cueva sacrifice. Brooke Lewis then singled to left, putting runners at the corners with just one out. Mickey LaValley stepped in and grounded into a fielder’s choice in which Colquhoun was thrown out at the plate but Lewis caught Holy Cross napping and moved all the way to third. That left runners at first and third yet again, this time with two outs. A single by Wood brought Lewis home, and another single, this one from Whitney Lowe, scored LaValley and put the Brown and White up by three.
Holy Cross scored for the first time all afternoon in its half of the sixth when Mandy Correale reached on an error to start things off and Seniuk followed with a single. Seniuk’s single was misplayed in the outfield by Lehigh, allowing Correale to come all the way around and make it a 3-1 game. Fleming then stepped in and delivered an RBI single of her own that brought in Seniuk and cut Lehigh’s lead to just one. Curtis regained her composure however, and got Ortiz to line out, Trainor to ground out and she struck out Gwen Reimer looking to end it and seal another Patriot League regular season championship for the Mountain Hawks.
Curtis went the distance in the circle for Lehigh in game two, striking out five and walking just two. She scattered six hits and did not surrender any earned runs. Amanda Audette took the loss after throwing four innings and allowing three runs, two of which were earned. Audette walked just one and did not record any strikeouts, before giving way to Trainor who threw the final two innings for the Crusaders.
Four Mountain Hawks, including Wood, Lowe, Cueva and Lewis had two hits in game two with Wood and Lowe both driving in one run.
Lehigh and Holy Cross will play another doubleheader on Sunday at Kaufman Field with the first pitch set for noon.