BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Behind an impressive all-around team performance Lehigh opened its first Patriot League home series by sweeping a doubleheader from Bucknell Saturday at Kaufman Field. The Mountain Hawks posted wins by 9-0 and 8-0 scores as both games ended after the top of the fifth inning due to the eight run rule.
With the wins Lehigh improves to 22-14 overall and 6-0 in the league, while Bucknell is now 6-21 and 0-6 in the league. The Mountain Hawks are tied atop the league standings with Colgate, which swept a doubleheader from Army on Saturday.
Lehigh took control of game one with eight runs in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Bucknell starter Alex MacLean issued three straight walks to load the bases before freshman Emily Bausher singled off the glove of shortstop Cyd Sanders to put the Mountain Hawks on the board. A bases loaded walk to junior Rosie Roessel and a fielder’s choice by senior Audra Wood put Lehigh up 3-0 before senior Jen Colquhoun broke the game open with a three-run triple down the right field line that put the Mountain Hawks up by six. Two batters later junior Liz Lucas blasted her third home run of the season, a two-run shot to right center, to cap the eight-run frame for Lehigh.
The Mountain Hawks tacked on one more run in the third as freshman Emma Capetz led off with a triple and then scored on a double by Bausher.
Bausher was once again impressive in the circle, retiring the first 11 Bison she faced before back-to-back singles by Meredith Dickson and Colie Escobar in the fourth. She allowed two hits and struck out six in four innings to improve to 10-8 on the season. Sophomore Kelsey Lee pitched a scoreless fifth to close out the game one win. Lehigh finished the opener with seven hits with Colquhoun and Bausher leading the way with two apiece.
In game two Lehigh took advantage of some clutch two-out hitting to build a 6-0 advantage after three innings. Lucas led off the second with a triple to right and four batters later junior Kristen Mitchell scored her with a single to right field. Roessel then drove home two more with a single to left as Lehigh led 3-0 after two innings.
In the third Lehigh loaded the bases with one out and after a fielder’s choice led to the second out, sophomore Kristin Taft delivered a two-run pinch-hit single to right center to bring home Lucas and freshman Cassie Waggy. Mitchell then followed with an infield single off the glove of first baseman Sophia Geraci to score Capetz and give the Mountain Hawks a six run lead.
Lehigh tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth and again the Mountain Hawks capitalized with two outs. With runners on second and third, Waggy hit a ground ball into the hole at shortstop and beat the throw to bring one run home. Geraci then dropped the ball allowing a second run to score, extending the lead to 8-0.
Junior Becca Bliss started in the circle, and picked up her ninth win of the season, with four shutout innings allowing just three hits while striking out three. Lehigh pitchers did not walk a batter on the day. Sophomore Ashley Quigley pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning to close out the doubleheader sweep.
MacLean took the loss in both ends of the doubleheader for Bucknell as she falls to 3-14 on the season. Roessel and Mitchell totaled four of Lehigh’s eight hits in the nightcap.
“All four pitchers pitched great today,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “We played pretty strong defense. We hit well and ran the bases well. The nice thing about today is that we played to our ability level. Bucknell had a bad day today, but they can come back and be a dangerous team, so we’ll need to the same things tomorrow that we did today and play good Lehigh softball. “
The Mountain Hawks and Bison will wrap-up their series on Sunday with a doubleheader beginning at noon from Kaufman Field.