BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Behind two strong pitching performances from two freshmen and some clutch early-inning hitting, Lehigh clinched a berth in the Patriot League tournament after sweeping a doubleheader from Army Monday at Kaufman Field. The Mountain Hawks won the opener 5-2 and the nightcap 4-1 to take three of four games in the series as Lehigh improves to 26-19 overall and 11-4 in the Patriot League.
Lehigh scored all nine of its runs on the day in the first two innings of each game while freshmen Kelsey Lee and Ashley Quigley earned wins with strong outings in the circle.
In game one, the Mountain Hawks capitalized on a pair of Army errors to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. A botched force play on a ball hit to second base by junior Julie Fernandez kept the inning alive for sophomore Liz Lucas, who singled through the left side, scoring classmate Rosie Roessel to give Lehigh a 1-0 lead. Junior Jen Colquhoun followed with a double into the gap in right center scoring pinch runner Lizzy Odren and Lucas.
Army scored a run in the bottom of the first, but Lehigh answered with two runs in the top of the second to go up 5-0. With one out, junior Tenley Halaquist struck out but reached first on a wild pitch. Two batters later Roessel hit a sinking line drive to right that got past Army’s Meghan McGowan for a triple, allowing Halaquist to score. After a walk to senior Alex Cueva, Fernandez singled to right center, scoring Roessel with Lehigh’s fifth run.
The Black Knights crept back within three runs on a Marina Northup RBI single in the fourth, but Lee was solid en route to her first Patriot League win of the season. Lee allowed just two runs on nine hits, walking two and striking out five as she improves to 4-4 on the season. Army brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh but Lee was able to retire Alex Reynolds on a fly ball to left and then struck out Alexis AuBuchon to end the game.
Haley Pypes took the loss for Army in the opener, allowing five runs (two earned) on nine hits in seven innings.
Lehigh went back to work in the first inning of game two, loading the bases with one out. Pypes retired Lucas on an infield pop-up for the second out, but Colquhoun lined a hard single off the glove of the second baseman Reynolds, scoring two runs to give the Mountain Hawks the early lead. Senior Carly Potock then singled to left, bringing home Fernandez and putting Lehigh up 3-0.
Army once again scored a single run in the bottom of the first as Reynolds singled home Amanda Nguyen.
Fernandez capped the game-two scoring in the top of the second with a two-out single to center that scored Roessel. From there the pitchers matched zeroes with Pypes escaping a bases-loaded jam in the third before retiring the final 14 batters she faced and Quigley limiting the Black Knights (23-21, 6-10 PL) to a run on five singles. Quigley walked one and struck out one as she improves to 11-9. Pypes suffered her second loss of the day, falling to 11-11 with the loss.
Elsewhere in the Patriot League Colgate and Holy Cross split their doubleheader on Monday, leaving the Raiders two games ahead of Lehigh for first place with four, and possibly five games remaining for both teams. Army leads Bucknell and Lafayette by two games for the fourth and final tournament spot, with that race coming down to this weekend’s final two days of league play.
Before Lehigh wraps up the regular season against Holy Cross this weekend, the Mountain Hawks will host Rider in a non-league doubleheader that has been moved to Thursday. First pitch for game one is set for 3 p.m. from Kaufman Field.