BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Coming off of a doubleheader sweep of Penn on Wednesday, Lehigh continues its home stand with a four-game series against Harvard in a battle of last year’s Patriot League and Ivy League Champions Saturday and Sunday at Kaufman Field. First pitch for Saturday's doubleheader has been moved up to 10 a.m., while Sunday's twinbill will start at noon.
Niagara was also scheduled to participate in what would have been the three-team Lehigh Equinox, but the Purple Eagles had to withdraw due to unforeseen circumstances.
Pitching was the story Wednesday, as Lehigh (11-11) climbed back to .500 behind two complete game shutouts against Penn. Lehigh took the opener 3-0 on a second straight one-hit performance from freshman Emily Bausher and topped the Quakers 2-0 behind a four-hitter from junior Becca Bliss to close out the afternoon.
Bausher, now 6-5, continues to pace the staff with a 1.39 ERA, and recorded another eight strikeouts for a season total of 85 in her seventh complete game of the season. It was also Bausher’s third shutout of her rookie campaign. Bliss now carries a 2.91 ERA, while as a staff Lehigh enters with a combined ERA of 2.17 and has struck out 140 in 22 games.
Senior Julie Fernandez led the offense against Penn with three RBIs on three hits on the afternoon, while junior Liz Lucas drove in the other two runs. Fernandez now leads the team with 18 RBIs while her .408 batting average is second only to senior Jen Colquhoun, who is hitting .411 and has driven in 16 on the season. Colquhoun, the reigning two-time Patriot League Player of the Week, also leads the Mountain Hawks with 30 hits, 17 runs scored, five home runs, and a .443 on-base percentage.
As a team, the Mountain Hawks are batting .287, and have outscored their opponents 89-67 on the season.
Harvard enters Saturday with a 10-4 record. The Crimson have won eight of their last ten, most recently taking two-of-three in the SDSU tournament, with wins coming against San Diego State, 6-3, and Long Beach State, 3-0.
As a team, the Crimson are batting .272, with three players batting .400 or better. Senior Jane Alexander leads the way with a .455 average and 19 hits, while sophomore Kasey Lange has a team-high 12 RBIs on 18 hits while carrying a .400 average this season.
Senior pitcher Rachel Brown enters with an impressive 0.64 ERA and a record of 6-1 in 10 appearances. Harvard holds a combined staff ERA of 1.67, while defensively, the Crimson boast a .959 fielding percentage. Harvard won the Ivy League title a year ago and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in Tucson, Arizona where they went 0-2 falling to Arizona and Texas Tech.
It will be the first time the teams have met since March of 2007, when they met in Plant City, Florida. The Mountain Hawks won that matchup 9-0. Harvard won the only other meeting in 1998.
Lehigh and Harvard will play doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday with first pitch both days beginning at noon. Sunday’s doubleheader will mark the season-debut of softball audio broadcasts online at Lehighsports.com.