BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Powered by a pair of outstanding pitching performances and some timely hitting, Lehigh opened its home schedule by sweeping a doubleheader from Penn Wednesday at Kaufman Field. Freshman Emily Bausher pitched her second consecutive one-hitter as the Mountain Hawks took game one 3-0, then junior Becca Bliss fired a four-hit shutout as Lehigh captured the nightcap 2-0.
Senior Julie Fernandez and junior Liz Lucas each had three hits in the doubleheader, with Fernandez driving in three runs and Lucas bringing home two as the Mountain Hawks evened their season record at 11-11.
“We played very well today,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “We had great pitching, great defense and timely hitting. We had seen Penn when we were down in Florida. They’re a pretty good opponent, so to take two against quality opponent is a good home start for us.”
The only scoring in game one came on four consecutive Lehigh hits in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, senior Audra Wood singled. Senior Jen Colquhoun moved Wood to third with a single to right, before Fernandez singled to center to score Wood and put Lehigh up 1-0. Lucas then doubled into the gap in left center plating two more runs to put Lehigh up by three.
Bausher (6-5) took care of the rest en route to her third shutout of the season. She retired the first eight Quakers she faced before issuing a two-out walk in the third inning. Penn’s Elysse Gorney led off the fourth with a single through the left side for the Quakers’ lone hit of game one. Bausher finished with three walks, and hit a batter but struck out eight to earn the victory.
Fernandez and Lucas each had two hits in the opener with Lehigh finishing with seven for the game. Alexis Borden took the loss for Penn, despite allowing just two hits over the final five innings.
Game two became a pitcher’s duel between Bliss and Penn’s Mikenzie Voves. Bliss worked around Quaker base runners in three of the first four innings. Karina Rios led off the fifth with a double for Penn and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Bliss got Laura Placentra to hit into a fielder’s choice where Fernandez threw Rios out at the plate to keep the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the fifth Lehigh put its first two batters on as junior Rosie Roessel singled and Wood was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Colquhoun moved runners to second and third before Fernandez singled up the middle to plate the only two runs of the nightcap.
Penn (10-9) put the leadoff batter on base in the seventh inning, but after a fielder’s choice, Rios grounded back to Bliss, who started her second 1-6-3 double play of the game to record the final outs.
Bliss struck out two and did not walk a batter as she moves to 2-5 on the season, while Voves struck out five and walked four while allowing just four hits.
“Those were two very close games,” Troyan said. “They felt very much like Patriot League games and that’s what we want. We wanted a feeling of pressure being on. In the first game we made the most of our first opportunity and sometimes the first opportunity is the best opportunity. In game two the little guys got on. Jen did a great job bunting them over and Julie got a clutch hit.”
The Mountain Hawks will return to action on Saturday when they host Harvard in the first two games of a four-game series. First pitch for game one is set for noon from Kaufman Field.