Posted: April 29, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh clinched its ninth straight Patriot League regular season championship on Sunday, as the Mountain Hawks swept a doubleheader from Colgate at Kaufman Field. The Mountain Hawks pounded out 14 hits, including home runs from senior Julie Sterrett and junior Kate Marvel in taking the first game 14-1 in five innings. Freshman Tiffany Curtis out dueled Colgate’s Kelsey Nordstrom as Lehigh won the nightcap 2-1. With the sweep, Lehigh improves to 33-16-1 overall and 17-1 in league games.
Sunday’s doubleheader was moved to Kaufman Field after unplayable field conditions forced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader in Hamilton, N.Y. Lehigh was the designated visiting team in both of Sunday’s contests.
The Mountain Hawks wasted little time against Colgate starter Amanda Eccleston (3-8), scoring four runs and sending nine batters to the plate in the top of the first inning. Lehigh loaded the bases with one out, and Sterrett gave the Mountain Hawks the lead with a two-run double to right field, that scored sophomore Whitney Lowe and senior Heather Hamasaki. With two outs, Raider third baseman Whitney Scott threw away a ground ball off the bat of senior Whitney Schenbeck, allowing Sterrett and senior Lauren Haney to score unearned runs.
After giving up a run in the bottom of the second inning, Lehigh put the game out of reach with nine runs in the top of the third. A hit-by-pitch and four consecutive singles gave Lehigh its first two runs of the frame. Junior Taryn Hanley drove in a third run on a fielder’s choice. With two on and one out, Marvel hit a three-run blast to right field, her second of the season, to increase the Lehigh lead to 10-0. Hamasaki then drew a two-out walk, and came around to score on an RBI double from Haney. Sterrett then followed with a two-run line drive home run over the fence in right centerfield. The long ball was Sterrett’s third of the season and capped an inning in which Lehigh sent 12 batters to the plate and extended its lead to 13-1.
Haney capped off the scoring with her third hit of the day, which drove in Marvel to make it 14-1 Mountain Hawks.
Marvel (3-for-4), Haney (3-for-3) and Sterrett (3-for-3) each collected three hits on the day for Lehigh, and the trio combined to drive in nine of Lehigh’s 14 runs.
Sophomore Lisa Sweeney was strong in the circle, allowing just a run on two hits in five innings. Sweeney fanned three Raiders as she improves to 18-5 on the year.
In game two, Lehigh had its hands full with Colgate ace Kelsey Nordstrom. The Mountain Hawks scored their only two runs of the contest in the top of the second. Nordstrom hit Haney with a pitch to open the inning, and a double from Sterrett put runners at second and third with nobody out.
After senior Mendy Martin grounded to second for the first out, Schenbeck attempted a squeeze bunt. With pinch runner Ali Torborg breaking for the plate, Colgate first baseman Jessica Sabo’s throw went off the glove of catcher Meg Mylan, allowing Torborg and eventually Sterrett to come all the way around to score.
Curtis allowed just a third inning RBI single from LaPorscha Albert in her six-plus innings of work. She allowed a run on six hits, while walking two and striking out four, as she improves to 12-7 on the year. Curtis came out to start the seventh inning, but was relieved by Sweeney after allowing a pinch-hit leadoff double to Eccleston. Sweeney got Kortney Hannah to pop-up a sacrifice bunt attempt, and then retired the final two batters on fly outs to record her third save.
Nordstrom falls to 10-7 with the loss. Colgate out -hit Lehigh 6-3 in game two, but the Raiders left eight runners on base. The Raiders fall to 17-22, 9-5 Patriot League with the two losses.
With the two victories, Lehigh clinches the number one seed for the 2007 Patriot League tournament, which the Mountain Hawks will host beginning Thursday, May 10 at Kaufman Field.
The final two games of the Lehigh-Colgate series will not be played on Monday. They will be made up at a later date and time to be determined only if they affect the final league standings.