BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh ran its Patriot League regular season winning streak to 40 games with a doubleheader sweep of Bucknell in the Mountain Hawks league home opener Sunday afternoon at Kaufman Field. The Brown and White squandered a three-run lead in game one, but rallied to defeat the Bison 4-3 in eight innings. Lehigh then won game two 3-1 to complete the sweep and improve to 22-8 on the season, 6-0 in the Patriot League. Bucknell falls to 8-22, 2-4 in league games.
In game one, the Mountain Hawks took a 1-0 lead when sophomore centerfielder Kate Marvel singled to lead off the first inning, and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch. Lehigh plated what proved to be two critical insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, as sophomore Megan Conrad laid down a squeeze bunt and senior Mary Wieder raced home sliding under the tag of Lauren Litts. Conrad would then help execute a perfect double steal, taking second as Julie Sterrett stole home to give the Mountain Hawks a 3-0 advantage.
The game was seemingly in the bag, but the Bison put together four consecutive singles to score two runs in the seventh inning, then tied the game when Jen James’ groundball to shortstop was misplayed by Mendy Martin, allowing Meghan Feller to score the tying run.
The Mountain Hawks failed to score in the bottom of the seventh, and after not allowing a run in the top of the eighth inning, junior Lauren Haney led off the bottom of the eighth with a single and was pinch run for by freshman Ali Torborg. Wieder sacrificed and reached on a throwing error by Litts, putting runners on first and third with nobody out, before Julie Sterrett stepped in and delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to score Torborg with the winning run.
Freshman Lisa Sweeney went all eight innings in the circle allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out seven to improve to 14-3 on the season.
Marvel, Haney and Wieder each smacked two hits for Lehigh in game one.
In the second game, Lehigh took an early lead when Martin atoned for her earlier error with an RBI single to centerfield to score Ali Linsk in the second inning.
The Bison tied the game with a run in the third inning, and then Lehigh took the lead for good in the fifth when Conrad, pinch running for Martin, scored on a wild pitch. The Mountain Hawks tacked on an insurance run in the sixth inning, when Sterrett singled to bring home Heather Hamasaki.
Senior Kate Arico contributed with a strong outing in the circle. Arico worked around eight Bucknell hits, allowing just one run while striking out three. Arico improves to 6-3 on the year with the win.
Freshman Whitney Lowe delivered two of Lehigh’s six hits in the nightcap. The sweep also gives The Mountain Hawks seven straight victories.
Lehigh and Bucknell will wrap up their four game series with another doubleheader on Monday afternoon from Kaufman Field. First pitch for game one is set for 3:30 pm.