Softball Suffers Three Late-Inning Losses to Lehigh; Wins One Game

Softball Suffers Three Late-Inning Losses to Lehigh; Wins One Game

Colgate opened its Patriot League campaign in mixed fashion this past weekend against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Lehigh, on the heels of their 2008 Patriot League title, is the strongest conference competition Colgate will see this season, and the two teams more likely than not will meet again in the conference finals.

The series opened on Friday with a 2 p.m. start. After a scoreless top of the first for Lehigh, Colgate exploded for four runs in the bottom half, highlighted by junior designated hitter Amanda Eccleston’s three-run double. Lehigh responded quickly, however, scoring one run in the second and two in the third to close the gap to one. A wild pitch by Lehigh in the fourth allowed Colgate to score, making the game 5-3, and both teams plated one runner in the fifth to make it 6-4, Colgate. Then, unfortunately, the floodgates opened. Poor Colgate fielding, combined with fantastic hitting by Lehigh allowed the Mountain Hawks to score a combined 10 runs in the final two innings, giving them a 14-6 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. Colgate appeared to be rallying after scoring a run, but Eccleston lined into an unlucky double play with the bases loaded, killing the rally and ending the game, 14-7.

The second game of the day was a much different affair with a lot less scoring. Lehigh took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, but in the bottom half, sophomore catcher Nicole Siedhof hit her first home run of the season, a solo shot, giving the Raiders some momentum heading into the third. In the top half of the third, junior pitcher Jesse McCarrick sat the Mountain Hawks down, 1-2-3. Colgate’s offense continued the momentum, with senior outfielder Calla Yee driving home a run on an RBI single, and power hitter Eccleston knocking home two with a double to give Colgate a 4-2 lead. Four runs were enough for the Raiders on the afternoon, but after giving up a run in the top of the sixth, Colgate decided to put the game away in style. Solo home runs by Siedhof, giving her two on the day, and senior infielder Erin Gomez gave the Raiders a 6-3 lead, and that would be the final.

Saturday’s noon opener ended as a 9-4 Lehigh win, but the final score was definitely flattering to the Mountain Hawks. The game was a close affair the whole way through, but a four-run seventh inning rally put Colgate away, and certainly made the game seem like much more of a blowout than it was. Colgate’s first-year shortstop Jennifer Ortega hit her second home run of the season for the Raiders, a two-run shot, and Gomez drove in another two runs to provide the Colgate offense for the game.

The 2 p.m. contest was a thriller that ended in heartbreak for Colgate. Colgate took a 7-3 lead after three innings, and carried that advantage all the way to the seventh, where Lehigh capitalized on poor Colgate fielding, scoring six runs on just three hits with the help of two Raiders errors. Colgate would not be denied just yet though, as Gomez smacked a two-out, two-run home run to right-center, sending the game to extras, tied at nine. Lehigh’s Lisa Sweeney was the star in the bonus softball, hitting a 2-run home run in the top of the 10th, her 7th on the season, giving Lehigh an 11-9 lead. Another Colgate rally was simply not to be, and Lehigh ended up on top, 11-9.

Colgate heads to Holy Cross this weekend, who come off of a weekend series against Bucknell. Holy Cross was predicted to finish last in the Patriot League in its pre-season poll.