March 30, 2013
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Amanda Fazio took a one-run lead and a shutout bid into the seventh inning, but Morgan Decker hit a 3-run home run off the scoreboard to give Lehigh a 3-1 win over Bucknell softball at Becker Field on Saturday afternoon. With a 5-2 loss in game one, the Bison are now 7-20 overall and 1-3 after the first round of Patriot League play.
Fazio had one of the best starts in her young pitching career as she attempted to help Bucknell bounce back from its first loss of the day. The freshman had four strikeouts in the first two innings and allowed just three hits through the first four frames.
During that stretch, Bucknell was able to take a 1-0 lead after Kristen Zahn led off the third inning with a double. She scored on a throwing error by the Mountain Hawks' third baseman. The infielder overthrew first base on Mary's Horton's sacrifice bunt, giving Zahn time to come all the way home.
Fazio enjoyed the one-run lead for nearly four innings. Although Lehigh (14-12-1, 3-1 PL) got more and more base runners as the game wore on, the Bison pitcher avoided any real trouble each time she was threatened. The Mountain Hawks put runners on second and third base in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Fazio forced ground outs each time to avoid any real damage.
Fazio's day ended in the seventh when Lehigh's Rosie Roessel and Alexis Watanabe led off with back-to-back singles. That brought Decker to the plate, who put her home run into right field and gave the Mountain Hawks the two-run lead.
Roessel finished the game 3-for-3, while Watanabe was 3-for-4 at the plate. Including the day's first game, Watanabe was 4-for-6 with three runs scored, including a lead off inside-the-park home run to start the day.
Through 6.0 innings of work in the nightcap, Fazio (4-10) allowed nine hits and struck out five. She gave up just one walk, which came in the first inning. Dana Nielsen recorded the final three outs for Bucknell, giving up one hit and holding Lehigh without another run.
Lehigh had seven hits in the final three innings, while Bucknell was held to zero. Much of the Bison's offense had come earlier when they registered four hits in the first four frames. Three of those batters ended up in scoring position.
Emily Bausher (6-4) took the win in the finale, allowing the one run on four hits. She also struck out six and walked one.
Nielsen's relief appearance was her second time facing Lehigh on Saturday. The freshman also earned the start in game one when she went 6.0 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits. Nielsen (3-9) gave way to Cindy Cherness, who allowed one hit and no runs in 1.0 innings.
As was the case later in the day, Bucknell's offense in game one was strongest early in play. The Bison showed some of its best hitting in the first two innings, finding gaps in the Mountain Hawk defense and turning that into runs. Horton led off the game with a double and came home on an RBI single from Mariah Midyette. After the first frame, Bucknell had three hits and a sacrifice bunt from Cydnee Sanders that evened the game at 1-1 after Watanabe's home run.
Bucknell's second-inning performance gave the Bison the lead for the first time of the day. Another leadoff hit, this one from Cheyanna Young, led to a run as Zahn connected for a long single to right field.
The 2-1 advantage was short-lived unfortunately with Lehigh scoring two more runs on three hits in the top of the third. Insurance runs in the fifth and seventh sealed the deal and gave the Mountain Hawks the first win of the day.
Rebecca Bliss collected the win in the pitchers' circle with two runs on six hits in the complete game.
Bucknell will return to non-conference play briefly for a doubleheader at La Salle on April 2. Play in Philadelphia begins at 3 p.m.