TOWSON, Md. – Day two of the Towson Invitational saw the Lehigh softball team split a pair of games against Iona and Columbia at the TU Softball Complex. The Mountain Hawks let leads of 4-0 and 5-4 get away Saturday as Iona rallied for an 8-5 win in game one, but in game two Lehigh defeated Columbia for the second day in a row, 3-2 in a game that was shortened to four and a half innings due to darkness.
With the split, Lehigh is now 2-1-1 on the season with two of those contests already halted due to darkness.
The designated home team in both games on Saturday, Lehigh scored three runs in the bottom of the first against Iona and added one in the fourth before the Gaels mustered a comeback.
Freshman Alexis Watanabe led off the bottom of the first with a triple down the right field line and two batters later scored on a single to center by classmate Morgan Decker. Lehigh then loaded the bases for another freshman MacKenzie Velasquez, who singled to left to score Decker. Sophomore Emma Capetz followed with a RBI single to left that scored senior Liz Lucas to give the Brown and White a 3-0 lead.
The lead grew to 4-0 in the bottom of the third on a home run to center by sophomore Cassie Waggy, her first career round-tripper.
Iona battled back with four runs in the top of the fourth, all of which came with two outs. The Gaels loaded the bases on three singles against Lehigh junior Ashley Quigley, before Brianna Schauer singled to right, plating two runs to cut Lehigh’s lead to 4-2. Brianna King then followed with a double to left that scored two more to tie the game at four.
Lehigh regained the lead at 5-4 in the bottom of the frame when Lucas doubled with two outs, and then pinch runner Carissa Zito scored when Waggy reached on an error.
Eileen McCann led off the fifth inning for Iona with a single to right field. Lehigh brought senior Becca Bliss on to relieve Quigley, but Lehigh errors on two consecutive plays allowed McCann to score the tying run on a throwing error by Lucas after a bunt single by Beth Kann. Christine Costello gave the Gaels a 6-5 lead with a RBI single, and with two outs, Schauer doubled down the left field line to score two more runs, giving Iona a three-run cushion.
Iona starter Jordan Courage retired the final ten Mountain Hawks in order to wrap-up the Gaels’ first-ever win over Lehigh in softball. Courage allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits in a complete-game effort. She struck out one and walked two as she improves to 1-1 on the season. Watanabe had two of Lehigh’s nine hits in the opener.
Quigley went four-plus innings in her first start of the season allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out three. Bliss took the loss (1-1) allowing three runs (one earned) and three hits in three innings of work.
In Saturday’s second game, the Mountain Hawks plated a run in the bottom of the first inning as senior Rosie Roessel reached on a one-out bunt single, took second on a throwing error and scored on a single by Decker. Lehigh tacked on two more runs in the third as Watanabe scored on a Decker sac fly and Roessel scored when freshman Jessica Calvini reached on an error.
Columbia scored two runs in the top of the fifth on RBI singles by Emily Snodgrass and Nicole Borchard. Lehigh appeared to have added another run in the bottom of the fifth but play was halted due to darkness and the Mountain Hawks were declared 3-2 winners.
Sophomore Emily Bausher started in the circle for Lehigh and earned her first win of the season, allowing two unearned runs on four hits in five innings. Bausher struck out six and did not walk a batter. Lehigh pitchers issued zero walks in 12 innings of work on Saturday.
The Mountain Hawks will wrap-up action at the Towson Invitational on Sunday when they take on Iona at 10:30 a.m.