Colgate's Courtney O'Connell
April 5, 2012
Center Valley, Pa. -- The first weekend of Patriot League softball produced three very decisive results, as Army, Lehigh and Colgate each began League action with a four-game sweep.
The Black Knights took four games at home against Holy Cross, while Lehigh went on the road and swept rival Lafayette and Colgate did the same at Bucknell.
Each team will try to maintain the momentum this weekend, but two of the undefeated League squads meet head-to-head as Army pays a visit to Colgate. Lehigh will host its series against Bucknell, while Lafayette goes to Holy Cross with both teams trying to get on track.
The Black Knights and Mountain Hawks have shined throughout the season, and each team is hot right now. Army has won eight consecutive games after sweeping Temple on Tuesday, while Lehigh has claimed seven of its past eight and 11 of the last 14. Each team has received great pitching, with Army's Morgan Lashley and Lehigh's Emily Bausher and Rebecca Bliss turning in great efforts throughout the season.
Lehigh received an additional piece of good news on Wednesday when senior first baseman Lisa Fernandez was named a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Fernandez came into the week leading the Patriot League with a .429 batting average, and is right at .400 for her career. She is second in Patriot League history with 53 career doubles.
Patriot League Notebook
Dominant Effort for Leading Trio
Lehigh, Colgate and Army were picked in the top three spots in the Patriot League preseason poll, and the opening weekend did nothing but justify those selections. Each team swept its four-game series, and each did it in dominant fashion. Lehigh outscored rival Lafayette by a combined 35-4, while Colgate routed Bucknell by a cumulative total of 22-4 and Army held a 24-7 edge over Holy Cross.
Lehigh's Fernandez Named Finalist for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award...
Lehigh softball senior Julie Fernandez has been named one of ten finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award, it was announced Wednesday. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help determine the winner, which will be announced at the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the award honors senior student-athletes, who excel in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. Fernandez is one of ten finalists, along with standouts from softball powers such as California, Arizona State, Stanford, Florida, Alabama and Washington. The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 20 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website through May 14.
...And Rises Up the Patriot League Record Book
Fernandez has enjoyed as much success as just about any player in Patriot League history, and she has the records to prove it. She came into the week fourth in Patriot League history with a .399 career batting average, and leading all players with a .429 mark this season. She is Lehigh's career leader and second in Patriot League history with 53 doubles, and also stands fifth in League annals with 234 hits. Fernandez is just one RBI short of entering the Patriot League career top 10.
Freshman Pitching Sensation, Part I
Lehigh freshman Emily Bausher has an incredible resume early in her career, as she already owns a 12-strikeout no-hitter against South Dakota on March 4 to go with consecutive one-hitters with a combined 23 strikeouts in the shutouts of Binghamton and Penn on March 18 and 21. Bausher had another outstanding stretch last week, going 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18 innings on the mound to earn her third consecutive Patriot League Rookie of the Week award, and fourth for the season. She entered the week leading the Patriot League with a 1.34 ERA.
Freshman Pitching Sensation, Part II
While Bausher has been spectacular, a fellow freshman is taking on an even greater workload and shining. Army freshman Morgan Lashley has started 27 and appeared in 32 of Army's 33 games, and has made the most of her work with a 17-9 record and 2.36 ERA. She has earned the decision seven times during Army's eight-game win streak, including each of the last six contests. Lashley is closing in on Patriot League single-season records for starts, appearances and innings.
Another Patriot Leaguer Takes ECAC Honors
Army senior Alexis AuBuchon was named ECAC Player of the Week on Tuesday after receiving the same honor from the Patriot League on Monday. She batted .684 while notching 12 RBIs and 10 runs scored in a perfect 6-0 week for the Black Knights. It is the third ECAC weekly honor for a Patriot Leaguer this season, as Lehigh's Jen Colquhoun (Player of the Week) and Rebecca Bliss (Pitcher of the Week) were selected by the organization earlier in the year.
Lehigh Picked First in Preseason Softball Poll
After winning its 11th Patriot League title last season, Lehigh has been selected to claim the crown again in 2012 as the Mountain Hawks were picked first in the Patriot League Softball preseason poll. Lehigh took home 48 points and eight first-place votes from coaches and sports information directors, who were not allowed to vote for their own team. Colgate, which won last year's regular-season title, placed second with 44 points and the remaining four first-place votes and was followed in the voting by Army (30) and Holy Cross (26) with Bucknell and Lafayette tying for fifth place with 16 points.
Patriot League Softball Weekly Awards (March 26-April 1)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ALEXIS AuBUCHON, ARMY Sr., 1B, Trinity, Fla.
AuBuchon batted .684 with 10 runs scored and 12 RBIs to lead Army to a perfect 6-0 week, which included a four-game sweep of Holy Cross to open Patriot League play. She went 13-for-19 with 10 runs scored, three doubles, a triple and two home runs with the 12 RBIs. AuBuchon was 8-for-12 with six runs scored, three doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs in the four-game sweep of the Crusaders. She had at least one run scored in all six games and an RBI in five of the six contests. In the lone game where she did not drive in a run, AuBuchon was 2-for-2 with a double and the game's only run scored in a 1-0 win over Holy Cross on Saturday. She was 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored in a 10-4 victory in Sunday's opener. AuBuchon has hit safely in 10 straight games and leads the Black Knights with a .411 batting average for the season. AuBuchon is named Patriot League Player of the Week for the second time this season.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
COURTNEY O'CONNELL, COLGATE Jr., P/OF, Palm Harbor, Fla.
O'Connell tossed a pair of complete-game shutouts to help lead Colgate to a four-game sweep at Bucknell to open Patriot League play over the weekend. She allowed just one hit and struck out three as the Raiders scored a 2-0 win in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader, then scattered six hits with a strikeout to lead Colgate to a 5-0 victory to complete the four-game sweep on Sunday. O'Connell gave up just one walk and seven hits in 14 innings pitched. She also went 2-for-8 at the plate with a run scored and two RBIs for the weekend. O'Connell is named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season and third in her career.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
EMILY BAUSHER, LEHIGH Fr., P/UT, New Egypt, N.J.
Bausher receives the Patriot League Rookie of the Week honor for the third straight time and fourth in the last five awardings after another outstanding run both on the mound and at the plate. She went 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in three starts last week, allowing only two earned runs in 18 innings pitched. Bausher gave up two runs in a complete-game 7-2 win over Fordham on Wednesday, then did not surrender a run in 11 innings to beat Lafayette twice over the weekend. She had eight strikeouts in a five-inning 9-0 shutout on Saturday, and tallied 10 strikeouts in six innings of a 7-0 blanking of the Leopards on Sunday. Bausher allowed just two hits in both of her starts against the Leopards. She recorded 24 strikeouts in her 18 innings pitched.
JEN COLQUHOUN, LEHIGH Sr., SS, Oak Park, Calif.
Colquhoun batted .611 with four home runs, 13 RBIs and nine runs scored as the Mountain Hawks won all six of their games last week, including a four-game sweep of rival Lafayette in Patriot League action.
MORGAN LASHLEY, ARMY Fr., P, Davidson, N.C.
Lashley posted a 5-0 record as Army won all six of its games last week, and she got the decision in all four victories in Army's four-game sweep of Holy Cross over the weekend. Lashley pitched to a 1.31 ERA while striking out 39 in 32 innings pitched for the week.
RAE ANN PAYLEITNER, ARMY Fr., DP, St. Charles, Ill.
Payleitner batted .615 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in a 6-0 week for the Black Knights.
LIZ LUCAS, LEHIGH Jr., C, Westminster, Colo.
Lucas had six doubles and 10 RBIs during a 6-0 week for the Mountain Hawks.