BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh completed a four-game sweep of arch rival Lafayette with two dominating victories as their series finally concluded Thursday at Kaufman Field. Senior Carly Potock had six RBI including a grand slam as Lehigh won the opener 13-0, while the Mountain Hawks built an early 7-0 lead and took the nightcap 9-0. Both games ended in five innings due to the eight-run rule.
With the wins, Lehigh improves to 21-15 overall and 7-1 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks outscored the Leopards 33-0 in sweeping the four-game series. Lafayette is now 2-29 overall and 0-8 in the Patriot League.
“We have a lot of respect for Lafayette,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “They played a 1-0 game against us in the first game of this series, a game that could have gone either way. Our players learned from that and came with a great mental focus today and really put a lot of pressure on Lafayette. We made them make some errors and we hit the ball well and played great defense with no errors and our pitchers pitched well.”
Game one was scoreless for two innings before the Mountain Hawks, the designated visiting team for Thursday’s doubleheader, erupted for seven runs in the top of the third inning. Sophomore Rosie Roessel opened the inning by reaching on an error as Jordan Parsons’ throw pulled Kerry Griffin off the bag. A double by junior Audra Wood and a walk to senior Alex Cueva loaded the bases for junior Julie Fernandez, who cleared them with a three-run double to left center to put the Mountain Hawks up 3-0.
Lafayette recorded two outs, but an infield single by junior Jen Colquhoun and a walk to junior Tenley Halaquist loaded the bases for Potock, who drilled a Lauren Hasson offering over the fence in left for a grand slam, her second home run of the season.
Needing one run to invoke the eight-run rule Lehigh’s offense scored six more times in the top of the fifth. With one out, Potock found herself up with the bases loaded once again. This time, she singled through the left side, scoring two runs to give Lehigh a 9-0 lead. A sacrifice fly by Wood scored Lehigh’s tenth run, while Cueva and Fernandez followed with back-to-back doubles, scoring three more runs to put Lehigh up by 13.
Fernandez’ set a new career high with four RBI in one game, while Potock became the first Mountain Hawk to drive in six runs in a game since Lauren Haney did so in a win over Princeton in 2007.
Sophomore Rebecca Bliss picked up her tenth win of the season allowing no runs on four hits in four innings. Bliss struck out one and did not walk a batter, while freshman Kelsey Lee closed the game out by pitching a scoreless fifth. Hasson took the loss for Lafayette allowing seven runs (two earned) on five hits in four innings of work.
Lehigh picked up right where it left off in game two, capitalizing on a Lafayette error to score three runs in the top of the first inning. Fernandez came to the plate looking to sacrifice with runners on first and second and nobody out. Her bunt was fielded by Lafayette third baseman Kristin Garganio, but the throw went up the right field line, allowing Wood, Cueva and eventually Fernandez to come all the way around to score on the play.
Potock led off the second with a triple and scored on a fielder’s choice when sophomore Rosie Roessel reached base and put herself in a rundown. Roessel eventually moved to third and came in to score on a single through the left side by Cueva. Three batters later, Colquhoun tripled for the second time in as many innings to extend Lehigh’s lead to 7-0.
Lehigh tacked on two more runs in the seventh when freshman Jess Long scored on a wild pitch and Halaquist came in when Cody Kugler dropped freshman Kristin Taft’s fly ball to left.
Freshman Ashley Quigley benefitted from the run support with her second straight shutout. Quigley allowed four hits and two walks in five innings while striking out three to improve to 9-8 on the season. Melissa Robinson went the first 1.2 innings for Lafayette and suffered the loss.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action this weekend when they head to Hamilton, N.Y. for four games against first place Colgate. The Raiders are 8-0 through two weekends of league play, one game ahead of Lehigh. The teams will play doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday at Eaton Street Field with first pitch both days set for noon.
“Our pitchers are doing a great job,” Troyan said. “We can’t expect to throw four shutouts up at Colgate, but it’s poised to be a great matchup. We’re 7-1, they’re 8-0 and they’ve got a lot of really good players, but I think we do as well.”