RALEIGH, N.C. – Lehigh led North Carolina State 2-1 in its season opener but the Wolfpack scored five runs in their final two at-bats to rally for a 6-2 win Thursday at Dail Softball Stadium. Senior Jen Colquhoun had three hits to pace the Mountain Hawks, but a sacrifice fly by Scout Albertson in the fifth inning put NC State in front for good.
NC State (4-5) snaps its four game slide with the win while Lehigh drops its season opener for the second straight year.
The Wolfpack opened the scoring with an unearned run off junior Rebecca Bliss in the bottom of the second inning. Caitlin Dent reached on a Bliss error and two batters later Landon Warren drove her home with a single to right field.
Lehigh scored both of its runs in the fourth inning. Colquhoun led off with a single up the middle and moved to second when senior Julie Fernandez reached on an error. Wolfpack starter Morgan Peeler then hit junior Liz Lucas to load the bases. Colquhoun came home with the tying run on a Peeler wild pitch and then freshman Emily Bausher gave the Mountain Hawks a 2-1 lead with a single up the middle that scored pinch runner Kristin Taft from third.
In the bottom of the fifth, NC State answered with two runs to reclaim the lead. The Wolfpack tagged Bliss for three consecutive singles as Toni Ann Wilford’s base hit scored Renada Davis from second base. Albertson then followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Katie Mansilla with the go-ahead run.
NC State brought in ace Emily Weiman to pitch in the sixth inning. Lehigh advanced the tying run into scoring position with one out, but sophomore Lizzy Odren hit into a double play to end the threat.
Bausher replaced Bliss in the circle in the bottom of the frame and picked up a pair of strikeouts, but the Wolfpack scored three runs with the benefit of just one hit. NC State’s three runs in the frame came via a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch following a strikeout.
Lehigh put two runners on base in the seventh, but Weiman got Fernandez to ground out and Lucas to line out to second to end the game.
Bliss was saddled with the loss for Lehigh, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits in five-plus innings. She struck out two and did not walk a batter. Bausher came on in the sixth and allowed two runs on no hits, striking out two and walking two.
Peeler allowed two runs on three hits in five innings to earn the win for NC State to earn the win, while Weiman struck out two in two scoreless frames to record the save. NC State’s eight hits were scattered among eight players, while Bausher and junior Kristen Mitchell had Lehigh’s other two hits.
The Mountain Hawks will continue their string of six games in four days in North Carolina with two games Friday as part of the Wolfpack Challenge. Lehigh will face Kent State at 10 a.m. and Pittsburgh at noon from Dail Stadium.