Posted: May 7, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh mustered just one hit off Lafayette starter Kasey Karr, but a fourth-inning infield single from senior Alisha Gonzales brought home freshman Audra Wood with the only run of the game in the Mountain Hawks’ 1-0 win over the rival Leopards in the opening game of the Patriot League Tournament Thursday at Kaufman Field. Senior Lisa Sweeney fired a two-hitter for her eighth shutout of the season as Lehigh improves to 34-16-1 and moves on to face Bucknell Friday morning in the winner’s bracket.
“What I’ve learned throughout the years is that there are no surprises in the Patriot League Tournament,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “The layoff did hurt as we were a little rusty but hopefully we got a little of the rust off going into tomorrow.”
The visiting Leopards picked up the game’s first hit on a second-inning single by Kristin Garganio and placed runners on first and second with one out in the third, before Sweeney induced Karr to foul out to third base and then got Patriot League Player of the Year Christina Giambrone to fly out to left field to end the threat.
Karr kept up her end of the pitcher’s duel, retiring the first nine Lehigh batters she faced before Wood reached first base on a Giambrone error leading off the bottom of the fourth. Senior Whitney Lowe sacrificed Wood to second and freshman Julie Fernandez grounded out for the second out. A walk to Sweeney put runners on first and second, and a wild pitch by Karr moved both runners into scoring position.
Gonzales delivered the only run of the game with a slow ground ball up the middle. Lafayette second baseman Stacey Kushner made a diving backhand play to field the ball, but was unable to make a play at first and Wood scored to put Lehigh in front.
“She (Karr) pitched very well,” explained Troyan. “She moved the ball in and out and up and down. She threw a very good game. We were able to get that run across though. It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.”
Sweeney took care of the rest, retiring nine of the last 10 batters she faced, including the final two outs, Garganio and Stacey Dorn on called third strikes. The Patriot League Pitcher of the Year struck out five and did not walk a batter as she picked up the win, improving to 20-8 on the season.
Despite allowing one hit and striking out one, Karr took the loss, allowing just the one unearned run as she falls to 8-14. Lafayette falls to 15-28 overall and will face Colgate in an elimination game on Friday. The Raiders lost to Bucknell 7-3 on Thursday’s second contest.
Friday’s winner’s bracket game between No. 1 seed Lehigh and No. 3 seed Bucknell gets underway at 11 a.m. from Kaufman Field. The game can be heard on WLVR-FM (91.3) as well as online at Lehighsports.com with streaming powered by Yahoo! Sports College Broadcast. Coverage begins at 10:45 with the pregame show, featuring the Fran Troyan Report.
Watch the Lehigh - Lafayette Post-Game Extra