Patriot League Softball Release - 4.26.12

Army's Alexis AuBuchon

April 26, 2012

Patriot League Softball Release - 4.26.12 Get Acrobat Reader

Center Valley, Pa. -- After rolling through their schedules to this point, Lehigh and Army will square off in West Point this weekend with the right to host the Patriot League Tournament at stake.

The Mountain Hawks posted their third sweep in four Patriot League series with an impressive run against Colgate, outscoring the Raiders 32-5 and winning three of four games in five innings. Meanwhile, Army freshman pitcher Morgan Lashley did not allow a run while pitching all 28 innings in the series against Lafayette as the Black Knights remained two games back of Lehigh heading into the crucial weekend series.

Lehigh, at 15-1 in the Patriot League, can clinch the top seed and right to host the posteason tournament if it splits the series with Army. The Black Knights, 13-3 in League action, need to win the series with Lehigh to earn the hosting duties.

There is still one spot remaining to join Lehigh, Army and Colgate in the Patriot League Tournament, and it will be decided as Bucknell pays a visit to Lafayette. The Leopards are in the driver's seat, as they need to only split the series at home to claim the fourth seed in the Patriot League Tournament.

Bucknell, which got back into the mix by winning three of four against Holy Cross over the weekend, can move in position by winning the series with Lafayette. Holy Cross still has a faint hope at qualifying for the postseason, but needs to sweep its series at Colgate and have Bucknell win three games over Lafayette.

The Patriot League Tournament will be played from May 10-12, with the winner earning the League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Patriot League Notebook

Familiar Faces in Patriot League Tournament
Lehigh, Army and Colgate are into the Patriot League Tournament in 2012, which is nothing new for any of the three teams. The Mountain Hawks have made it into the field in each of the League's 22 seasons, while Colgate has only missed once (2008) and Army has been left out of the Patriot League Tournament just three times (1998, 1999, 2009). Lehigh is trying to host the League Tournament for the ninth time in 11 seasons, but first since a run of eight-straight years from 2002-09. Army, which ended Lehigh's hosting streak in 2010, is aiming to host the event for the second time. Of the teams still competing for bids, Lafayette last played in the postseason in 2009, Bucknell in 2010 and Holy Cross in 2011.

Top Teams Also Make Waves on National Leaderboards
In addition to their outstanding play in the Patriot League, Lehigh and Army are in elite company on a national level. Both teams are among the best in the nation at home, as Army has won 14 straight games at West Point entering the weekend series with Lehigh and the Mountain Hawks have claimed 12 in a row in Bethlehem following Wednesday's doubleheader sweep of Colgate. Army is 14-1 and Lehigh is at 16-2 at home for the season, so the hosting duties for the Patriot League Tournament carry great importance. Entering the week, the Mountain Hawks ranked in the top 30 nationally in batting average (.311) and ERA (1.95), with Army in the top 50 in batting average (.296). Each team had a pair of players among the top 100 nationally in batting average, including Lehigh's Jen Colquhoun (.447) and Julie Fernandez (.440) in the top 15 in Division I. Fernandez, the Patriot League career doubles leader, paces the nation in doubles per game while Army's Morgan Lashley, who set the League's single-season wins mark, is tied for the overall victories lead in Division I. Lehigh freshman pitcher Emily Bausher holds a place in the top 40 in ERA (1.59) and strikeouts per seven innings (8.0)

Army's Lashley Continues to Shatter Patriot League Records
Army freshman Morgan Lashley had a memorable week, and set yet another Patriot League single-season record in the process. The do-it-all hurler threw 35 shutout innings last week, going 5-0 with a win over Iona and four shutout victories over Lafayette. That gave Lashley the Patriot League single-season wins mark at 27, and she added two more over Yale on Saturday to boost the number to a nationally-leading 29. Lashley has also shattered Patriot League single-season records with 42 starts and 47 appearances for the year, as well as with her mark of 268.0 innings pitched. Her performance last week netted Lashley the ECAC Pitcher of the Week award, the fifth Patriot Leaguer honored by the organization this year.

Mountain Hawk Trio Moving up Patriot League Record Book
Lehigh senior first baseman Julie Fernandez, a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, already has the Patriot League career record with 61 doubles and is one of two Mountain Hawks ready to break more marks soon. Fernandez enters the weekend with 252 hits, five off the Patriot League record of 257 held by Lehigh's Stephanie Digneo (2000-03). She is also fourth all-time in batting average (.403) and sixth in RBIs (131). Her classmate, Audra Wood, enters the weekend with 166 runs, just five off the Patriot League mark of 171 held by Lehigh's Kim Miller (1993-96). She is also fourth with 65 stolen bases. Yet another Lehigh senior, Jen Colquhoun, ranks eighth in career home runs (22) and fourth in RBIs (139). Colquhoun's 13 home runs this season are just three off the Patriot League record, and she has tied a League mark with three Player of the Week awards this year.

Mountain Hawks Toss Second No-No of 2012
Lehigh's Rebecca Bliss and Kelsey Lee combined for a five-inning no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Holy Cross on April 15. It was the second no-no for the Mountain Hawks this season after Emily Bausher pulled it off against South Dakota on March 4. Bliss tossed her third no-hitter, pulling it off by herself in each of the past two seasons. Bausher has also had a number of near-misses with one-hitters this season.

Patriot League Weekly Awards (April 16-22)

Player of the Week
AMANDA NGUYEN, ARMY So., OF, Houston, Texas
Nguyen batted .625 with five runs scored and four stolen bases as Army went 5-0 last week, including a four-game sweep of Lafayette in Patriot League action. She went 10-for-16 in the five games, with a 8-of-13 clip against the Leopards. Nguyen came up huge against Lafayette in a series Army swept despite scoring eight total runs in four games. She scored four of the team's eight runs, including going 2-for-3 with the only run of the game in a 1-0 victory in Saturday's series finale. Nguyen was 3-for-3 with a run in a 2-0 win in Friday's opener, then went 3-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases in a 4-0 triumph in the nightcap. Nguyen is batting .393 in Patriot League play and leads Army with 15 runs scored in League action. Nguyen is named Patriot League Player of the Week for the first time.

Pitcher of the Week
Lashley had another brilliant week, pitching five shutouts and tossing 35 scoreless innings on the mound to lead Army to wins in low-scoring contests at home. With the five victories, Lashley has set a Patriot League single-season record with 27 wins on the year to go with her League single-season marks for appearances (45), starts (40) and innings (254.0). She allowed just 19 hits and six walks while striking out 25 in her outings. Lashley pitched the Black Knights to a weekend sweep of Lafayette by keeping the Leopards off the scoreboard for all 28 innings in the series. She pitched six-hitters in 2-0 and 4-0 victories on Friday, then tossed a one-hitter and a four-hitter as Army swept the Leopards in a pair of 1-0 decisions on Saturday. Lashley held opponents to a .162 batting average in the five games. She has won 10 consecutive games, including nine in a row in Patriot League action. Lashley has a 13-2 record with a 1.46 ERA in Patriot League play. She is named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week for the second straight time, and third this season.

Rookie of the Week
Bausher extends her Patriot League record with a sixth Rookie of the Week award after pitching Lehigh to a pair of wins last week. She did not allow an earned run in 10 innings while giving up six hits and a walk and striking out 13 in victories over Princeton and Colgate. Bausher scattered five hits and an unearned run while striking out five in a 3-1 win over Princeton on Wednesday. She was outstanding in Lehigh's 10-0 five-inning win over Colgate on Saturday, giving up just one hit while striking out eight in the shutout victory. Bausher is 15-9 with a Patriot League-leading 1.52 ERA for the season, and has a 6-1 record and sparkling 0.39 ERA in League games. She also went 1-for-5 at the plate with a triple, RBI and two runs scored last week.

Honorable Mentions
Gates tossed 15 shutout innings, with just five hits and a walk allowed, and picked up a two wins and a save in three appearances for Bucknell against Holy Cross over the weekend.

Sandford was 8-for-15 with a run scored and two RBIs as Bucknell took three of four from Holy Cross over the weekend.