May 13, 2012
Patriot League Softball NCAA Regional Preview
NCAA Division I Softball Championship Bracket
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - After winning yet another Patriot League title, Lehigh hopes to make waves on a national level once again when it begins play in the NCAA Softball Regionals in Norman, Okla. on Friday.
The Mountain Hawks open up on Friday night against the host Oklahoma Sooners, the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament field. The other opener on Friday pits Tulsa against Oregon State. Subsequent games will be determined by results in the double-elimination regional.
Lehigh won its 12th Patriot League Tournament title last week with a dominant pitching performance. The Mountain Hawks became the first team to win the Patriot League Tournament without allowing a single run, as junior pitcher Rebecca Bliss was named MVP for throwing 14 scoreless innings on the mound. The Mountain Hawks won their second consecutive crown, fourth in the last five years and seventh in the past nine seasons.
Now, Lehigh will hope to achieve more success in the NCAA Regionals. The Mountain Hawks own six of the Patriot League's seven wins in the regionals, and won twice to advance to final rounds in 2006 and 2009. Their victory over Texas A & M in 2006 marked the only time a Patriot League team has won its opening game. Lehigh also won a single contest in 2001 (in Norman) and 2008. Lehigh is making its eighth NCAA Regional appearance in the last 12 years.
Lehigh has a 3-4 record against Big 12 opponents in the NCAA Softball Regionals, with two wins over the Aggies in 2006 and another in 2009. Lehigh dropped an opening-round game against Oklahoma in Norman in 2001.
Patriot League NCAA Tournament Notebook
Lehigh Heads Back to NCAA Regionals
For the eighth time in the 12 seasons, Lehigh will represent the Patriot League in the NCAA Softball Regionals after winning the League Tournament title. The Mountain Hawks have recorded six victories in their NCAA appearances, advancing to the final round of their regionals in 2006 (Amherst, Mass.) and 2009 (Gainesville, Fla.). Lehigh's two wins in 2009 were the last victories for a Patriot League team in the NCAA Softball Regionals.
Mountain Hawks with Most Success in Regional Round
Lehigh has accounted for six of the seven wins by the Patriot League in the NCAA Softball Regionals. Army also won a game when it appeared in Norman, Okla. in 2002. Lehigh has eight of the 14 appearances for the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks also have the only opening win in a regional, as they knocked off Texas A & M 4-3 in 2006.
Mountain Hawks Matched Up with Big 12 Again
Lehigh has grown accustomed to facing opponents from the Big 12 in the NCAA Softball Regionals, which it will do on Friday night when it takes on No. 4 seed Oklahoma. Lehigh lost its opening game to Baylor last season, and went 1-1 against Texas A & M in 2009 after defeating the Aggies twice in 2006. Lehigh eliminated Texas A & M on its way to the regional final in each of the seasons. Lehigh has a 3-4 record against Big 12 opponents in the NCAA Softball Regionals.
Trip to Norman Nothing New for Patriot League Representative
The Patriot League champion has been sent to Norman, Okla. for the NCAA Softball Regionals for the third time, matching Amherst, Mass. as the most-often visited venue in the Patriot League's 14 appearances. The first two trips to Norman came in 2001 and 2002. Lehigh went the first year, losing 9-2 to the host Sooners in the opening round. Army went in 2002, and both the Mountain Hawks and Black Knights won their second game in their regional in Norman. Colgate also faced Oklahoma in 2007, dropping a 5-2 final in the opener against the Sooners in Amherst.
Mountain Hawks Win Another Patriot League Title
Lehigh concluded the best pitching performance in the history of the Patriot League Softball Tournament by defeating Army 2-0 on Saturday at Kaufman Field to repeat as League champion and win its 12th tournament title overall. The Mountain Hawks became the first team in the event that did not allow a run for the entire tournament. Junior pitcher Rebecca Bliss led the way, as she shut out Army on Friday and again on Saturday to earn the Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player award. Lehigh's title is its fourth in the past five seasons, and seventh in the last nine years. For more on the Patriot League Tournament read page three of the softball release.
All-Patriot League, Major Awards Announced
The 2012 All-Patriot League Team and Academic All-Patriot League Team were announced last week. Two student-athletes won multiple major awards, with Lehigh's Jen Colquhoun as the Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Army's Morgan Lashley named Pitcher and Rookie of the Year. Lehigh's Fran Troyan won the Coach of the Year award. For the full All-Patriot League and Academic All-Patriot League lists, read page two of the release or visit www.patriotleague.org.
2012: A Record-Breaking Year in the Patriot League
Records were made to be broken, and the 2012 season proved that the Patriot League career and single-season leaderboards are always susceptible to change. Lehigh seniors Julie Fernandez and Audra Wood each hold two career records entering the NCAA Softball Regionals. Fernandez is the all-time Patriot League leader in hits (262) and doubles (64), while Wood holds the record for at-bats (685) and is tied for the top spot in runs scored (171). In addition, Fernandez is third in Patriot League history in batting average (.407) and tied for fourth with teammate Jen Colquhoun in career RBIs (141). Wood also checks in at third in Patriot League history with 66 stolen bases. Nine individual single-season records have been taken down, including six by Army freshman pitcher Morgan Lashley (wins, innings, appearances, starts, complete games, shutouts). Lehigh's Jen Colquhoun has set a record for single-season total bases (131) while Julie Fernandez has established a mark for doubles (22) entering the NCAA Regionals.
***For the Patriot League postseason history, go to page 9 of the release***