The Lehigh softball team lines up to shake hands with the Rider team after the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. Lehigh won the fist game 11-3 and the second game 5-4. (Eddie Fuhrer/ B&W Staff)

Lehigh softball sweeps Rider doubleheader


Lehigh softball won both games in a non-conference doubleheader against Rider University on Sunday. The Mountain Hawks picked up game one 11-3 in six innings, and game two 5-4 in the full seven frames.

Entering the series, Lehigh had only lost two of its first nine home games.

One of senior Karsen O’Rourke’s favorite parts of playing at home is being able to come together with her teammates before the game.

“We always get in a circle before each game,” O’Rourke said. “We say ‘protect this house,’ which just feels good.”

On the mound for Lehigh in the first game was senior Gabriella Nori, who entered the game with a 7-7 record and a Patriot League fifth-best 81 strikeouts. Nori got started quickly, striking out the side in the top of the first and not allowing a hit in the top of the second. 

Sophomore Brooke Cannon got the first hit of the doubleheader, dropping a hit into shallow left field to put a runner on first. After sophomore Amanda Greaney singled to put runners on first and second, senior Addie Kittel launched a ball over the left field wall to give Lehigh a 3-0 lead.

Lehigh did not look back, as O’Rourke drove home two runs on an RBI single in the third inning, which allowed the Mountain Hawks to take a 5-0 lead.

“The offense was great,” O’Rourke said. “It takes a lot of pressure off the individual players when everyone’s just hitting through the lineup.”

Rider would begin fighting back in the top of the fourth, as an error on a throw to first base would begin an inning in which the Broncs would put up three runs. 

Then, after a Rider single to center field, which would have brought in its fourth run, Cannon launched a throw from deep in the outfield, getting the out at the plate and ending the Broncs’ burgeoning comeback.

“The confidence to make that play comes from just doing reps in practice,” Cannon said. “We do that play over and over again.”

Lehigh would add onto their lead with a double from junior Emily Cimino, driving home senior Carley Barjaktarovich and putting the Mountain Hawks up 6-3.

Lehigh would continue to add onto its offensive performance, picking up five more runs and building an 11-3 advantage, ending the game after six innings due to the eight run rule.

In game two, Lehigh started the scoring with a Cimino sacrifice fly, bringing home Barjaktarovich in the bottom of the first. Rider would add on a run of its own in the top of the second inning to tie the game up at one.

Lehigh scored two runs in both the third and fifth innings, with senior Jaelynn Chesson driving home two of the four, bringing her total to a team-leading 27 on the season. 

O’Rourke and freshman Rory Dudley would also drive in runs, putting Lehigh up 5-1 heading into the sixth inning.

Sophomore Katelyn Young only allowed three hits in her first five innings, before giving up a three-run home run in the sixth inning. Head Coach Fran Troyan made the decision to keep Young in the game after the home run, and Young would end up completing the game and picking up the win.

“She’s doing a great job,” Troyan said. “The more that she can pitch, the better that she’s going to become and she’s really starting to come into her own.”

Lehigh picks up Patriot League play again on Tuesday on the road against Army, and plays at home next against Saint Joseph’s on April 27.

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