March 28, 2006
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - In its final tune-up before Patriot League play gets underway this weekend, Lehigh suffered a pair of heartbreaking losses to Penn Tuesday afternoon at Kaufman Field. After rallying in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings in game one, the Mountain Hawks ultimately fell 6-3 in nine innings; then in game two Lehigh fell 3-1 in a game shortened to five innings because of darkness. The losses drop the Mountain Hawks to 15-8 on the season, while Penn improves to 11-14 with the sweep.
The Mountain Hawks fell behind 2-0 in game one as Penn scored runs in the first and fourth innings. Lehigh would pull even in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases before freshman Kristyn Kubiak scored on a wild pitch to get the Brown and White on the board. A fielder's choice plated Mary Wieder to tie the game at two.
The Quakers took the lead in the top of the seventh before Lehigh mounted a furious rally to force extra innings. Heather Hamasaki got things started with a two out single, then Lauren Haney followed with a single to centerfield, which Penn centerfielder Kaelin Ainley misplayed allowing pinch runner Ali Torborg to score the tying run.
The game remained scoreless into the ninth, when Penn added three-runs on back-to-back doubles and a single off losing pitcher Stefanie Forlenza (2-2). The Mountain Hawks loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but were unable to push across the necessary runs.
Hamasaki was 3-for-5 in game one, while junior Julie Sterrett added three of Lehigh's 11 hits in a losing effort.
In game two, Penn jumped on Lehigh starter Kate Arico early, plating three runs in the first. The Mountain Hawks got one back in the bottom of the first as Wieder singled to drive in sophomore Taryn Hanley. Lehigh would have numerous chances over the next four innings, but were unsuccessful and after five innings the game was called due to darkness.
Arico started both games for Lehigh and was saddled with the loss in game two as she falls to 3-3 on the season. Hamasaki added two more hits to finish the twinbill 5-for-8. Freshman Whitney Lowe also had two hits in game two.
Penn was powered by designated player Stephanie Reichert, who combined to go 5-for-8 with two doubles, a triple and three runs scored. Emily Denstendt got the save in game one and then picked up a win in game two.
The Mountain Hawks will look to get back on the winning track this weekend when they open up Patriot League play on the road with a four game series at archrival Lafayette. Lehigh and Lafayette will play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday with action getting underway Saturday at noon from Metzgar Field in Easton.