BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh closed out the regular season by sweeping a doubleheader from Holy Cross Sunday at Kaufman Field. The Mountain Hawks rallied for a 5-4 win in the opener before winning the nightcap 8-5. Sophomore Rebecca Bliss earned a win and a save in the pitcher’s circle for Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks clinched the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Patriot League tournament and improved to 30-21 overall and 14-5 in the Patriot League.
Sunday’s game two win put Lehigh at 30 victories, marking the 11th straight year that the Mountain Hawks have won at least 30 games.
“Our kids really battled and played very hard in both games,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “This was great preparation for the Patriot League tournament and we’ll see Holy Cross in the first game. They put their best foot forward today and so did we. We feel good about today’s outcome and we’re confident we can do the same thing when we meet up at Colgate as well.”
Holy Cross took the early lead in game one as Keeley Seniuk drove in Camille Trainor with an RBI double to left off freshman Kelsey Lee and then Sam Fregenti brought home Seniuk with a single to right that put the Crusaders up 2-0.
Lehigh capitalized on two Holy Cross defensive miscues to tie the game in the top of the second inning. Sophomore Liz Lucas led off with a single and junior Jen Colquhoun followed by reaching on an error. Runners moved to second and third with two outs when Tenley Halaquist’s ground ball to second base went through the legs of Caitlin Belanger, allowing two runs to score.
The Mountain Hawks went in front in the top of the fifth when junior Audra Wood led off with a single to left, stole second base, moved to third on a single to right by junior Alex Cueva. Trainor’s throw back into the infield got away, allowing Wood to score the go-ahead run on the third Crusader error of the game.
The lead was short-lived as Holy Cross plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth, once again on the power of a double to left center by Seniuk and a single to right by Fregenti.
Senior Carly Potock led off the sixth with the second of her three hits in game one and beat the throw to second on a fielder’s choice as sophomore Jacqi Kennelly reached behind her. A sacrifice bunt by junior Tenley Halaquist moved the runners into scoring position for sophomore Rosie Roessel who brought Potock home with the tying run on a single to left. Wood then hit a ground ball to shortstop, but Tiffany Medwid’s throw home was off line allowing pinch runner Kristin Taft to score the go-ahead run.
Bliss entered game one with one out in the fifth inning and after allowing the Fregenti RBI single, proceeded to shut down the Bison for 2.2 innings. She allowed just the one hit and struck out three without issuing a walk as she improves to 14-6 with the win. Lee allowed four runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Julia Barrett went the distance for Holy Cross allowing five runs (one earned) on ten hits. Barrett struck out two and did not issue a walk but falls to 5-4 with the loss.
Game two was a rematch of Saturday’s pitcher’s duel where both Belanger and Lehigh freshman Ashley Quigley both threw one-hitters in a 1-0 Crusader win.
Sunday’s game followed a similar path with both pitchers matching zeroes through the first three innings.
In the fourth Lehigh broke through with three runs off Belanger as Lucas led off with a walk. Pinch runner Kristen Mitchell was sacrificed to second by Colquhoun and then Potock doubled to right center scoring Mitchell with the nightcap’s first run. With two outs, Lehigh laced three straight singles as freshman Jess Long lined a hit to left scoring Potock, Roessel singled through the right side and then Wood picked up a base hit to right center, scoring Long to make it 3-0 Lehigh.
Holy Cross answered with three runs of its own, scoring on a fielder’s choice, a RBI double by Erin Fleming and a RBI ground out to short by Alex Gustafson.
Potock put the Mountain Hawks back in front with a single to left in the fifth that scored Taft. Lucas then came home on a passed ball to extend Lehigh’s lead to 5-3.
Lehigh added three more runs in the fifth as junior Julie Fernandez ripped a two-run double to left center. Lucas then brought home Fernandez with a double to deep center, her 19th two-base hit of the season, which sets a new Patriot League single-season record.
Fleming blasted a two-run home run to center in the bottom of the sixth to pull Holy Cross within three runs, but Bliss came out of the bullpen once again and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to earn her third save of the season.
Quigley earned her 12th win of the season, allowing five runs on five hits in six innings. She walked one and struck out five before giving way to Bliss.
Belanger took the loss for Holy Cross allowing five runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. The Crusaders are now 18-26 overall and 10-10 in the league.
“The girls did a great job today,” Troyan said. “Ashley (Quigley) really stepped it up and pitched really well on the weekend and Becca (Bliss) did a great job for us too.”
Lehigh will now be off for ten days for final exams. The Mountain Hawks earned the No. 2 seed in the Patriot League tournament and will open the tournament against No. 3 Holy Cross on Thursday, May 12 at Colgate’s Eaton Street Field in Hamilton, N.Y. Top seed Colgate and No. 4 seed Army round out the field, with game times still to be determined.