BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh welcomes the Fordham Rams to Kaufman Field on Wednesday as the teams will square off in a pair of afternoon games. The Mountain Hawks are coming off a weekend split with Harvard and are looking to gain some momentum heading into its first Patriot League series this weekend against rival Lafayette.
Lehigh (13-13) played four tightly contested games with Harvard last weekend as no team scored more than three runs in a single game. The team received strong pitching efforts from junior Rebecca Bliss and freshman Emily Bausher with both earning Patriot League weekly honors. Bliss, who was named the Patriot League Pitcher of the Week, pitched a three-hitter in Sunday’s opener against Harvard, her third shutout of the week. She went 3-0 on the week while lowering her ERA to 2.30 in the process.
Bausher, who received the league’s Rookie of the Week honor, pitched her third shutout of the season last week against Penn. The right-hander has been the team’s strongest pitcher this season with a team-best 1.46 ERA and team-leading nine complete games on her resume. The pitching staff as a whole has been strong this season. Bausher and Bliss, along with sophomores Ashley Quigley and Kelsey Lee, have combined to post a stellar 1.96 ERA while holding opponents to a .220 batting average.
The Mountain Hawks will look to get their bats rolling again after scoring only four runs in four games against Harvard. While it wasn’t their best effort, the team is still batting .275 overall with five players hitting over .300. Senior Julie Fernandez led the Mountain Hawks last week batting .421 in six games with her school record-tying 49th career double.
Fordham (16-14) comes into Wednesday riding high on the heels of a nine-game winning streak. The Rams also boast an impressive 7-1 road record and have won their first four Atlantic-10 games. The Rams have already played three top-25 teams this season and nearly pulled off an upset of then #16-ranked Arizona. Fordham has reached the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons. The Rams went 1-2 at the University Park (Pa.) Regional last May, splitting games with host Penn State and losing to Oregon.
Freshman Paige Ortiz has enjoyed a solid start to her collegiate career as she is one of two Rams batting over .300, along with Lindsey Kay Bright. Ortiz also leads the team in home runs (seven) and hits (32), and was recently named the Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Week.
Senior pitcher Jen Mineau has been instrumental in Fordham’s success. Considered one of the best pitchers in the country, Mineau has posted a 13-8 record this season with a solid 1.92 ERA. Mineau is depended on heavily as evidenced in pitching in 23 of the team’s 30 games. After going 4-0 last week, Mineau was named the league’s Pitcher of the Week, her second award of the season.
Lehigh will be looking for revenge after dropping two games to the Rams last season in the Bronx. The Mountain Hawks struggled to score runs as Fordham had strong pitching performances in both games, including Mineau’s two-hit shutout in the second meeting.
Wednesday’s action will take place at Kaufman Field with the first game’s opening pitch set for 3 p.m. The doubleheader will be broadcast online at Lehighsports.com.