BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Behind two outstanding pitching performances from sophomore Rebecca Bliss and freshman Ashley Quigley, Lehigh swept a doubleheader from rival Lafayette Sunday at Kaufman Field. Senior Carly Potock’s RBI double provided the only run in Lehigh’s 1-0 game one win, while sophomores Jacqi Kennelly and Rosie Roessel drove in three runs apiece as the Mountain Hawks took the nightcap 10-0 in five innings.
With the sweep, Lehigh improves to 19-15 overall and 5-1 in the Patriot League, while Lafayette falls to 2-27, 0-6 in league games.
Game one began as a pitcher’s duel between Bliss and Lafayette freshman Melissa Robinson. Both teams put runners on base but both pitchers continually found ways to work out of trouble.
The Mountain Hawks recorded six hits in the opener, with Potock and junior Julie Fernandez recording two apiece. A two-out fourth-inning rally led to the only run of the game. Junior Tenley Halaquist started things with an infield single up the middle, and Kennelly followed with a single up the middle of her own. Potock then went the other way, dumping a double along the right field line that scored Halaquist for put Lehigh ahead.
Lafayette put the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the top of the sixth, but Bliss was able to retire the next three batters on a lineout, a foul out and a ground out to keep Lehigh in front by one.
Bliss then retired the Leopards in order in the seventh to complete her first shutout of the season. The sophomore right hander tossed a five-hitter walking one and striking out one as she improves to 9-3.
Robinson pitched well for Lafayette allowing just the one run on six hits in six innings of work.
“Becca pitched a great game in the first game and their pitcher did a great job keeping us off-balance,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “They have a lot of players back from a team that played for a Patriot League Championship two years ago. We didn’t take them lightly. Both pitchers pitched well and Carly came up with a big hit for us.”
In the nightcap, Lehigh capitalized on the wildness of Lafayette pitching to score four runs in the bottom of the first. Leopard starter Ali Henry retired two of the first three batters she faced, walking senior Alex Cueva in between. With two outs, Henry issued back-to-back walks to sophomore Liz Lucas and junior Jen Colquhoun to load the bases before Halaquist grounded a single through the right side, scoring two runs to put Lehigh up 2-0.
Halaquist’s base hit chased Henry from the game, but Kennelly greeted Lauren Hasson with a single to centerfield that scored Colquhoun with the third Lehigh run. Hasson then walked the next two batters, including a free pass to sophomore Rosie Roessel with the bases loaded that scored Halaquist to give the Mountain Hawks a 4-0 lead.
Lehigh’s lead grew to 5-0 when Mary Episcopo made a diving catch on Colquhoun’s line drive to right center, turning a potential extra base hit into a sacrifice fly.
The Mountain Hawks put the game out of reach with five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and two out, Kennelly laced a single to right center, scoring freshman Kristin Taft and Lucas. A walk to senior Sam Miller re-loaded the bases and with Roessel batting, Colquhoun came in to score on a wild pitch by Emily Noel. Roessel then followed with a single to right, scoring two more runs to give Lehigh a ten run cushion.
Quigley took care of the rest for Lehigh as she enjoyed one of her finest outings as a Mountain Hawk to earn the win. In five innings, Quigley struck out six Leopards and allowed just two hits, both to Episcopo, a first inning single and a fourth inning leadoff double. Quigley evens her record at 8-8 with the win. Henry, the first of three Lafayette pitchers in game two, took the loss, falling to 1-6.
“Lafayette’s pitchers had some trouble finding the strike zone in game two,” Troyan said. “Our kids were disciplined, which was fantastic and when they did groove a pitch in there we made them pay.”
The Mountain Hawks and Leopards will wrap-up their four game series with a doubleheader Wednesday at Kaufman Field with first pitch set for 1:30 p.m. Before that, Lehigh will host Columbia in a non-league doubleheader on Tuesday with first pitch for game one set for 3 p.m.