GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Lehigh hung tough with Texas A&M all game long but a two-out first inning home run from Erin Glasco proved to be the only run of the game as the Aggies held off the Mountain Hawks 1-0 in the opening game of the NCAA Gainesville regional Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Each team mustered four hits on the day but Glasco’s blast over the centerfield fence proved to be the deciding blow as the Aggies move to 32-20 overall and into the winner’s bracket while Lehigh falls to 36-17-1 and will play in an elimination game against Florida A&M Saturday afternoon.
“I thought that we honestly played toe-to-toe with them the entire time,” said Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan. “We had told the team beforehand that we felt the two teams were very evenly well-matched. Our team played very well; very solid defense. Lisa (Sweeney) pitched well and we had a couple opportunities against a team like Texas A&M and that’s all you can ask for. Hopefully we’ll take care of business tomorrow and maybe we’ll get another chance at Texas A&M or somebody else.”
Things started well for the Mountain Hawks as freshman Audra Wood led off the game with a single off the glove of third baseman Alex Reynolds and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Whitney Lowe. Texas A&M starter Rebecca Arbino was able to bear down however, as she struck out freshman Julie Fernandez looking on the 13th pitch of a lengthy at-bat, and then induced senior Lisa Sweeney to ground to second base to end the threat.
In the bottom of the first, Sweeney retired the first two batters on a mere five pitches but Glasco drilled Sweeney’s 3-2 offering to straight away centerfield and the ball just cleared the top of the fence for her fifth home run of the season.
Arbino and Sweeney matched zeroes in the circle for the rest of the game. Sweeney was aided by a nifty 4-6-3 double play, initiated by Lowe to end the second inning.
Lehigh picked up its second hit of the day on a single up the middle by sophomore Carly Potock in the third, and Sweeney helped herself with a sharp single to center in the fourth but on both occasions Lehigh’s rally was stymied.
Texas A&M threatened in the fourth and the fifth, with the initial rally thwarted when junior Lauren Eichblatt threw out Andrea Tovar trying to steal third, and the second rally ended when Sweeney got Natalie Villarreal to ground out to second base with runners on first and second.
After five innings the game was halted by lightning and eventually an accompanying thunderstorm. Following a delay of an hour and 16 minutes, the team’s returned to the field. Lehigh threatened in the top of the seventh as senior Alisha Gonzales singled down the right field line, but freshman Jen Colquhoun struck out for the second out and sophomore Alex Cueva flied out to left to end the game.
“We just need to be able to string our hits together and hopefully that will happen,” said Gonzales. “Things will go our way eventually. A lot of people really stepped up and that’s what we needed, and hopefully next time it will mean a ‘W’ for us.”
Arbino picked up her 12th win of the season in the circle allowing just four Lehigh singles while striking out six and walking none. Sweeney pitched well, but took the loss allowing a run on four hits. Sweeney walked one and struck out one as she falls to 22-9.
The Mountain Hawks will next face the loser of Friday’s second game between Florida and Florida A&M in an elimination game Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Audio coverage on WLVR-FM and Lehighsports.com begins at 3:15 with the pregame show, featuring the Fran Troyan Report.