BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh softball team capped off a four-game sweep of Bucknell Sunday in dominant fashion, topping the Bison, 8-0 and 9-0 in two more five-inning games shortened by the eight-run rule. Junior Becca Bliss and freshman Emily Bausher led the way in the circle while senior Jen Colquhoun highlighted game two with a pair of homers to pull within one of the Lehigh single-season record.
“The thing I’m most pleased about is despite the fact that Bucknell was struggling a bit, our kids came to play every single inning,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “Our players did a great job of playing to their ability level. Sometimes, when you get into a weekend like this, it’s easy to sink down a little bit, but they certainly played at a high level the entire weekend.”
The Mountain Hawks (24-14, 8-0 Patriot League) outscored Bucknell (6-22, 0-8) 34-0 for the weekend to sweep their first two weekends of league action. Lehigh got off to a slow start in game one until scoring seven runs between the third and fifth innings to earn its third straight five-inning victory. The Mountain Hawks then wasted little time in the nightcap, scoring six over the first two innings.
Junior Rosie Roessel and senior Julie Fernandez were both a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate in game one, which included a game-high three RBI for Fernandez. Junior Kristen Mitchell added a pair of hits while junior Liz Lucas drove in two with a big two-run double. Bliss was stellar in the circle, allowing only four hits while striking out three.
Lehigh got on the board in the first via a Fernandez double, which scored Roessel. Bucknell rallied in the second, but after two straight singles to open the frame, Bliss struck out Tori Robinson then Lucas picked off Erin Cox with a snap throw to first. Fernandez eventually ran down Collie Escobar (the lead runner) to record the second out. Bliss got out of the frame unscathed after educing a Courtney Conover pop out.
The Mountain Hawks took that momentum to the plate where they broke out for four third-inning runs via a Fernandez single, Lucas two-run double and Emma Capetz single. Four hits turned into four Lehigh runs and a 5-0 lead after three innings.
Lehigh tacked on two more in the fourth behind a run-scoring double from Colquhoun and a single from Fernandez, her third hit (and RBI) of game one. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, with freshman Cassie Waggy on second and two outs, Mitchell hit a grounder to shortstop Cydnee Sanders for an infield hit. Sanders’ throw got by Conover, allowing Waggy to score which ended the game at 8-0.
The Mountain Hawks got off to a quick start in game two, using three hits and two walks to take a 3-0 lead after an inning. Fernandez hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Roessel to make it 1-0. After an intentional walk to Lucas, Bausher and Capetz followed with RBI singles for Lehigh’s second and third runs, respectively.
In the second, one-out singles from Roessel and senior Audra Wood set up Colquhoun, who followed with a three-run homer to right-center field to make it 6-0.
After a scoreless third inning, Lehigh tacked on three more in the fourth. Two came from Colquhoun’s second home run in as many at-bats, to almost the exact same spot in right-center. She now has 12 for the season, one shy of tying Lisa Sweeney’s school record.
“We’ve had some tremendous players in the program and some tremendous shortstops,” said Troyan. “Right now, Jen is playing the shortstop position as well as anyone we’ve ever had and that’s a tremendous compliment.”
Bausher pitched four near spotless innings, allowing only hit, before sophomore Kelsey Lee tossed a scoreless fifth to wrap up the 9-0 victory.
“Right now, we’re in a great situation with Becca and Emily pitching so well,” said Troyan. “They’re both very different from each other. Ashley [Quigley] came in and pitched a little bit yesterday and did great. Kelsey looked great too. Steph Covelle, our pitching coach, is doing a great job with our pitchers.”
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Hofstra for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.