Posted: 04/25/2012 | Last updated: April 25, 2012 at 06:33 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh softball team completed a four-game sweep of Colgate with a pair of five-inning mercy rule wins over the Raiders Wednesday at Kaufman Field. The Mountain Hawks erased a 2-0 deficit with ten unanswered runs to take the opener 10-2 and then won the nightcap 8-0 behind a two-hitter from junior Becca Bliss.
With the wins Lehigh improves to 34-16 on the season and 15-1 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks need just two wins against Army this weekend to clinch the league’s regular season title and earn the right host the Patriot League Tournament May 10-12.
“We played with great composure in the first game,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “We got down by a couple of runs early but we responded and came back with three right away. We played great defense and got great pitching from Emily and Becca, plus we got a lot of timely and patient hitting as well.”
Freshman Emily Bausher started game one for the Mountain Hawks and retired the first eight Raiders before Alana Dyson tripled to right center with two outs in the third. Jen Ortega then homered to left field to give Colgate a 2-0 lead.
Lehigh answered with three runs in the bottom of the third as the Mountain Hawks loaded the bases on a pair of infield singles and a walk with just one out. Senior Julie Fernandez then singled through the right side scoring Rosie Roessel and Audra Wood to tie the game at two. Junior Liz Lucas then followed with a single to left, scoring senior Jen Colquhoun with the go-ahead run.
The Mountain Hawks added to their lead with five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Emma Capetz led off with a single and then scored when senior Tenley Halaquist hit a laser over the centerfield fence for a two-run home run, her third of the season to put Lehigh up 5-0. The Mountain Hawks added three more runs on a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch and Lucas’ second RBI single of the game.
Colgate brought in Rachel LeCoq to relieve Courtney O’Connell in the fifth. LeCoq walked the first two batters she faced and after a passed ball put runners on second and third, Bausher singled to center bringing home the two game-ending runs.
Lucas led Lehigh at the plate in game one, going 3-for-3. Bausher allowed just the two runs on two hits, striking out six in five innings as she improved to 16-9 with the win.
O’Connell took the loss for Colgate eight runs on 11 hits in four innings of work.
Bliss was strong in the circle for Lehigh in game two, as she faced the minimum 15 batters in five innings for her 15th win (15-6) and seventh shutout of the season. An Ortega leadoff single was erased by a 6-3 double play started by Colquhoun, while after a single and a fielder’s choice in the third inning, Alana Dyson was called out for leaving first base early.
“We feel like we have two No. 1 pitchers in our program right now,” Troyan said. “That’s a great feeling. They’re going to keep us in every game.”
Offensively, the Mountain Hawks capitalized on the wildness of Colgate starter Rachel LeCoq, who walked six and hit two batters in 3.1 innings of work. Lehigh scored three runs in the bottom of the first as freshman Cassie Waggy was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and then Capetz singled home two runs.
A bases-loaded walk to Halaquist in the third put Lehigh up 4-0, while Fernandez helped break the game open with a two-run double off the left centerfield fence in the fourth. Lehigh closed out the game in the bottom of the fifth scoring two runs on a Colgate error and then a single to center by Wood, who teamed with Capetz to record four of Lehigh’s eight hits in the nightcap.
Lucas reached base three times in the nightcap with a single and two walks. Dating back to her grand slam in the sixth inning of Saturday’s first game, Lucas has reached base in ten straight plate appearances and has hits in her last seven official at-bats.
“Liz is doing a great job,” Troyan said. “We have a nice 3-4-5 there. It’s tough to pitch around any of those kids because they are all outstanding hitters.”
The losses drop Colgate to 16-23 on the season and 9-7 in the league. The Raiders are in the Patriot League tournament, but were eliminated from regular season title contention on Wednesday.
The Mountain Hawks will wrap-up the regular season with four games at Army Saturday and Sunday from West Point, N.Y. First pitch for doubleheaders on both days is set for 1 p.m. and Lehigh can clinch the No. 1 seed with two wins over the Black Knights.