BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In its final tune-up before Patriot League play begins this weekend, Lehigh pounded out 25 hits in a doubleheader sweep of defending Atlantic 10 champion Fordham Wednesday at Kaufman Field. Lehigh won the opener 7-2 and needed a comeback to win the nightcap 4-2. With the sweep the Mountain Hawks enter Patriot League play at 15-13 overall.
“It started with Harvard over the weekend where we played pretty well,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “We had a good practice yesterday and played very well today. The pitching was strong. We played pretty good defense behind our pitchers and got some good hitting and timely hitting. I’m pleased with where we are right now.”
Senior Julie Fernandez led the charge combining to go 5-for-7 in the twinbill with three doubles. Fernandez now has 52 doubles for her career, breaking the Lehigh career record of 49 held by Stephanie Digneo ’03.
“Julie is an incredible hitter and a great leader in our program,” Troyan said. “I don’t know if there’s anyone I’d want with a bat in her hand with the game on the line more than her.”
Lehigh’s offensive outburst began in the first inning of game one as the Mountain Hawks put together five consecutive hits to lead 3-0 after one inning of play. With one out senior Audra Wood’s base hit to left was misplayed into a triple. Senior Jen Colquhoun then singled up the middle, scoring Wood to put Lehigh on the board. Fernandez followed with her first double of the day that scored Colquhoun. Fernandez was thrown out at third base on the play, but junior Liz Lucas followed with a double to left center and then scored on a single to left by freshman Cassie Waggy.
Fordham scored its first run of the day on a second inning solo home run by Gabby Luety, but the Mountain Hawks added to their lead with two more runs in the third inning on five consecutive singles, including RBI hits by freshmen Emma Capetz and Emily Bausher.
Lehigh’s lead grew to 7-1 after four innings as Colquhoun blasted a one-out home run to left, her seventh of the year. Fernandez then doubled to left field and scored on a single to left by Lucas. Fernandez and Lucas each had three hits in the opener, while Colquhoun, Waggy and freshman Brandi Hawkins recorded two apiece.
Bausher was solid in the pitcher’s circle, allowing two runs on four hits in a complete-game effort as she evened her season record at 7-7. She walked three and struck out six to earn the win.
Taylor Pirone started for Fordham and took the loss allowing seven runs on 14 hits in 3.2 innings of work.
The Rams struck first in game two, scoring a first inning run on a sacrifice fly, while Michelle Daubman, who was effective in relief in game one, kept the Mountain Hawks at bay through the first three innings of game two.
Lucas led off the bottom of the fourth with a double and moved to third on a one-out single by Capetz. Fordham brought ace Jen Mineau out of the bullpen to face senior Tenley Halaquist. Mineau’s first pitch went to the backstop allowing Lucas to score the tying run. Halaquist then hit a Mineau pitch to right field for a base hit that scooted past Daubman, allowing Halaquist to circle the bases for a two-run inside-the-park home run.
Lehigh tacked on another run in the fifth as Colquhoun led off with a bunt single off Mineau and then came around to score on a double to right center by Fernandez.
“We didn’t get many good swings against Mineau last year,” Troyan said. “We worked hard yesterday getting ready for her and in doing so we did a good job getting ready for their other pitchers as well.”
Fordham (16-16) threatened in the top of the seventh inning, plating a run and putting the tying runs on base, but junior Becca Bliss struck out Lindsey Kay Bright and got Jamie LaBovick to ground into a force play to end the game.
Bliss evened her season record at 5-5 allowing two runs on five hits, walking two and striking out three. Daubman took the loss for Fordham, allowing two runs on five hits in 3.1 innings. Mineau allowed two runs on five hits in 2.2 innings of work. Junior Rosie Roessel joined Colquhoun and Fernandez with a game-high two hits in the nightcap to lead Lehigh.
The Mountain Hawks will open up Patriot League with a four-game series at rival Lafayette. The teams will play doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday with first pitch both days set for noon.