BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Sophomore Becca Bliss and freshman Ashley Quigley combined on a seven-hit shutout as Lehigh blanked Rider 6-0 in the first game of a non-league doubleheader Thursday at Kaufman Field. Junior Julie Fernandez went 4-for-4 with a home run in the nightcap, but the Broncs pounded out 13 hits to take game two 8-4. The split leaves Lehigh’s record at 27-20, while Rider is now 8-32.
In game one, Lehigh capitalized on a pair of Rider defensive miscues to go up 3-0 after two innings of play. An error by Lisa Blanton on a ground ball hit by Kristin Taft allowed sophomore Liz Lucas to score the game’s first run. Senior Sam Miller made her first start of the season as the Mountain Hawks’ designated player and drove in a run with a ground out to shortstop. Junior Tenley Halaquist then followed with a fly ball to shallow right center. Blanton and Samantha Mayer came together but neither could make the catch. Taft came around to score on the play as Lehigh went up by three.
The Mountain Hawks added single runs in the fourth, fifth and six innings to pad their lead. Senior Alex Cueva brought home freshman Lizzy Odren with an infield single in the fourth, while in the fifth Miller’s second RBI groundout of the game put Lehigh up 5-0. Fernandez capped the game-one scoring with an RBI single that scored junior Audra Wood.
Bliss picked up her team-leading 12th win of the season, allowing five hits in five innings, while striking out four. Quigley came in to record the last six outs, allowing just two hits in the process.
Quigley stayed in the circle to start game two but gave up two first inning runs on double by Lucy Higgins. The Broncs tacked on a run with three consecutive hits in the third, before freshman Kelsey Lee relieved Quigley and promptly induced a 4-6-3 double play.
Fernandez’ second hit of the nightcap was a sharp single up the middle that scored Wood and sophomore Rosie Roessel.
The Broncs added two more runs in the top of the fourth to go up 5-2, before Fernandez came up to the plate again in the fifth and drilled a solo home run to straightaway center field, her fourth homer of the season, to bring Lehigh within 5-3.
Rider expanded its cushion with three runs in the sixth inning, keyed by a two-run triple by Alyssa Paul,
In the seventh, Fernandez singled to left with one out for her fourth hit of the game, and came around to score two batters later on a RBI double to right by junior Jen Colquhoun. The Broncs’ Krysti Maronski buckled down however and retired sophomore Jacqi Kennelly and Cueva to end the game.
Maronski earned the win with four innings of two-run relief for rider. Quigley took the loss allowing three runs in two-plus innings.
The Mountain Hawks will continue their homestand when they wrap-up the regular season with four games against Holy Cross beginning with a doubleheader Saturday at Kaufman Field. First pitch for game one is set for noon, with audio coverage online at Lehighsports.com.