April 22, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. – With just two weekends of regular-season League play remaining, teams are eyeing those coveted spots in the Patriot League Tournament, which begins in three weeks. No spots have been clinched just yet, but with Colgate in first place by two games over Lehigh, the Raiders are in prime position to clinch and potentially shore up hosting responsibilities.
Weekly Release (4.20)
After losing the first game of the weekend to Lehigh, Colgate (19-17, 10-1 Patriot League) swept the Sunday doubleheader as the bats came alive against the Mountain Hawks. The Raiders lost some of that momentum when they were swept in a Wednesday twinbill at Cornell. After their pitching was so dominant in the season’s first half, the Raiders’ team ERA has been inching up the last two weeks, but sophomore Courtney O’Connell (7-8, 1.88 ERA) and freshman Rachel LeCoq (12-7, 2.04) are still 1-2 in the League in ERA, and LeCoq is striking out nearly seven batters per game. Another freshman, Tera Vaughn, is up to fifth in the League hitting .360, while senior Nicole Siedhof’s nine home runs are tied for the League best. The Raiders need just one win to clinch a spot in the Patriot League Tournament when they visit Holy Cross beginning Saturday for a four-game series. Senior Caitlin Belanger still leads the League in batting average (.426), while classmate Keely Seniuk (.371) is fourth. The Crusaders (15-20, 8-4) trail Colgate by three in the loss column, and are seeking their first berth in the League Tournament since 2003. Any combination of four wins by Holy Cross or losses by Bucknell to Lafayette this weekend could put the Crusaders in.
Second-place Lehigh (23-18, 8-3), fresh off a midweek split against Hofstra in Bethlehem, stays home to host Army (22-18, 5-7) for a four-game set starting Saturday. Like Colgate and Holy Cross, Lehigh could clinch a spot in the League Tournament as early as this weekend, depending on the results of its games against the Black Knights and how Bucknell fares against the Leopards. It’s a critical series for Army, which sits two games ahead of the Bison for fourth in the League and trails Holy Cross by three games. The Black Knights held on for a 5-4 win over Delaware Wednesday afternoon, which supplied a nice rebound for them after dropping the last game of the Lafayette series in Easton. Reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Week Amanda Nguyen is up to third in the League hitting .381 with a League-best 21 steals, placing her one shy of the Army record. Lehigh, the League’s second-best hitting team at .285, boasts a powerful punch in its lineup supplied by Julie Fernandez, Liz Lucas and Alex Cueva, who have combined for 75 RBI and are all hitting over .340. Lucas has a League-high 16 doubles.
Defending champion Bucknell (11-29, 3-9) is still in the race for a bid to the League Tournament, but is two back of fourth with eight to play. The Bison host Lafayette (4-33, 1-11) for four this weekend. The Leopards are starting play better ball, having won two of their last three contests, which was started by Melissa Robinson’s three-hit gem that shut down Army in the final contest of their four-game set on Monday. Lafayette earned a split with St. Peter’s on Wednesday. Alison Ford set a career high with seven RBI in one of last weekend’s two victories for Bucknell at Holy Cross, and she’s lifted her batting average to .412, second-best in the League. Despite her 5-14 overall record, Bridget Gates has pitched better of late, and boasts a manageable 2.91 ERA for the season while striking out nearly four batters per seven innings. Pitcher of the Week Alex MacLean leads the League in innings pitched (130.1).
With the weather forecast looking ominous for Saturday, stay tuned to the composite schedule page for any schedule changes.