Softball Stifled at Lehigh

Lehigh 3, Penn 0 (Game 1 Box)

Penn, Lehigh (Game 2 Box)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Making the trip to Lehigh to take on an NCAA qualifying team from a season ago, softball could not get anything going offensively Wednesday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks (11-11) would not surrender a run in either game as Penn fell 3-0 and 2-0 in the non-conference doubleheader. The Quakers (10-9) got a pair of strong pitching performances in the circle, but Lehigh conceded just one hit in the first game, while allowing just four in the second game.

Lehigh 3, Penn 0 (Game 1)

Despite some good at-bats in the top of the first, Lehigh starter Emily Bausher retired the Quakers' side in order. The Mountain Hawks would then take the early lead in the bottom half of the inning. After a strikeout looking, Lehigh would string together three straight singles to take the early 1-0 lead. A double by the next batter would bring home two more runs with just one out. Penn starter Alexis Borden would settle down after that, getting a groundout and her second strikeout of the inning to escape the first.

In Penn's second, Bausher would go right back to work and set the Quakers down in order for the second straight inning. Borden would answer back in the bottom of the second. After striking out the leadoff, Lehigh would single, but a sacrifice bunt and a line out to third would end the inning.

Stephanie Caso would give Penn its first runner of the game with a two-out walk in the third; however, a line out to left would leave her stranded. In the bottom half of the frame, Borden again blanked Lehigh as the Mountain Hawks carried their 3-0 lead to the fourth.

Elysse Gorney would try to get things going with Penn's first hit to lead off the fourth as she singled through the left side. She would move into scoring position on a foul out down the left field line. Jessica Melendez would then walk to put two runners on, but a fly out to left would strand both runners. In the bottom half, Borden would retire the side in order for the first time as no balls left the infield, including another strikeout.

Heading to the fifth, pitching continued to dominate. Bausher set the Penn side down in succession as Borden worked around a two-out error and single to strand the two Mountain Hawk runners on base. The sixth inning would be more of the same as both hurlers set down the respective sides in order. In the process, Borden added two more strikeouts to her total.

Down to its final outs, Penn flied out to deep left to start the inning. Melendez would work the one-out walk to try and get things going. After a liner was caught just off the grass in centerfield, Samantha Erosa was hit by pitch to put two aboard. However, a grounder in the hole would retire the Penn side. This gave Lehigh the 3-0 victory as no runs were scored after the first inning.

Lehigh's Bausher went the full seven innings, allowing just one hit and three walks on her way to picking up her sixth win of the season. For Borden, she threw her sixth consecutive complete game. After settling in after the first inning, she allowed just three hits from the second inning on. She finished the game with eight strikeouts in her six innings of work.

Lehigh 2, Penn 0 (Game 2)

To start off the second game, Sydney Turchin reached after a wild pitch on a third strike. She would eventually steal second, but would be stranded there. In the bottom of the first, Penn's game two starter, Mikenzie Voves, would make sure Lehigh did not get out to the early lead again as she started off with three straight swinging strikeouts to retire the side.

Lehigh's game two started, Rebecca Bliss, set down all three batters that she faced in the second. Voves would eventually start the game with four straight swinging strikeouts after another to start her second. A single that dropped into right center followed by a walk would end that streak. However, she would get two straight groundouts to leave those runners stranded.

Penn would be the first to threaten in the top of third. Vanessa Weaver reached on a hit by pitch. She moved into scoring position on groundout. Turchin then singled into left, putting runners on the corners with two outs. A sacrifice bunt by Gorney would put runners on second and third with two outs, but a groundout to second would end the Quakers' threat. In the bottom half, Voves would quickly get Penn back to the plate as she allowed just a two-out slap single in the inning.

The Quakers would put another runner on with a one-out single through the right side by Georgia Guttadauro. However, she would be cut down on the next at-bat as a grounder right back to the pitcher turned into an inning-ending double play for the Mountain Hawks. In the bottom half, Voves would quickly retire the first two hitters she faced. Lehigh would work three walks to load the bases, but a grounder to first would send the game to the fifth scoreless. Through four innings, both pitchers had allowed just two hits.

To start the fifth inning, Karina Rios doubled down the left field line. She was bunted over to third by Weaver. With one out and the runner on third, Laura Placentra got the squeeze bunt down, but Lehigh reacted quickly and got Rios at the plate. A groundout back to the pitcher would end Penn's half of the fifth.

Lehigh would then break the scoreless game in the bottom half. After an infield single and hit by pitch, a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. A single back through the middle would bring both those runs home as Lehigh took a 2-0 lead into the sixth.

With the lead, Bliss would retire the Penn side in order in the top of the sixth. Voves would keep the Mountain Hawks right where they were as she countered by retiring Lehigh in order, giving Penn one final chance to break through. Leading off the seventh, Guttadauro would get the inning started with a single right back through the middle. After a fielder's choice, Lehigh would turn its second double play of the game on a grounder right back to the pitcher to retire Penn and hold on for the 2-0 win and the daily sweep.

For the game, both sides finished with four hits each, but Lehigh got the timely hit when it mattered most. For Penn, Voves finished with her fourth complete game of the season. She struck out five over her seven innings of work.

The Quakers will now be back in action this weekend at the Penn Spring Invitational. This weekend, softball will play Rider, Villanova and Army, along with one of those teams a second time.