Lehigh softball sophomore Crysta Duenas slides into third base during the game against Princeton on April 30, 2023, at Leadership Park. The Lehigh softball team partnered with Lehigh's Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity to host the Pride Game. (Holly Fasching/B&W Staff)

Lehigh softball earns decisive, 5-0, victory over Princeton


The Lehigh softball team defeated Princeton, 5-0, in a non-conference matchup at Leadership Park on Tuesday, April 30. The game was the program’s first ever Pride Game celebration. 

Lehigh (30-15, 14-1 Patriot) had their program record 17-game win streak snapped on April 27 against Army, but has since responded with three straight victories. 

Princeton (24-14) holds the top spot in the Ivy League standings and defeated Lehigh 10-4 in their last matchup in 2023

Junior starting pitcher Maria Urban continued her stellar season on the mound in the victory. Urban’s record improved to 7-1 while her ERA dropped to 2.31 after Tuesday’s win. 

Urban only allowed two hits in four shutout innings. After striking out the side in the first inning, seven of the final nine outs Urban recorded were by way of groundouts. She said being able to locate her dropball and screwball is the biggest reason she was able to keep the ball on the ground. 

Urban passed the baton to sophomore Chloe Hess and she did not miss a beat. Hess only allowed one hit in her three innings of relief. 

Offensively, the Mountain Hawks relied on a familiar strategy to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning; walks and doubles. 

Despite entering the game against Princeton second in the Patriot League with a .412 slugging percentage, Lehigh had only hit 14 home runs in league play, which is 18 less than conference-leading Boston University. 

First-year second baseman Maddy Clark and Senior catcher Amanda Greaney each drove in a run with RBI doubles to left field to propel Lehigh to a 2-0 lead. Shortly after, graduate student designated player Emily Cimino walked with the bases loaded to register her team leading 36th RBI of the season. 

Clark and Greaney batted seventh and eighth in the lineup, but provided a huge spark according to coach Fran Troyan.

(Clark) doesn’t get to play a whole lot ’cause she’s a first year and she’s got some players that are older that are good too.” Troyan said. “The fact of the matter is that we’ve got a lot of depth and we’re not afraid to call upon anybody at any point in time.”

The next two innings were scoreless, but Princeton threatened in the top of the fourth. Urban smoothly turned aside the first two Tiger batters, but then approached her first road bump. 

Junior leftfielder Allison Ha recorded Princeton’s first hit of the day. After walking the next batter, Urban allowed her second hit against first-year designated player Karis Ford. 

But with the bases loaded, Urban unsurprisingly forced another ground out to wipe away the Tiger’s best scoring opportunity. 

In 13 appearances last year, Urban recorded a 5.27 ERA. This season she is one of the Mountain Hawks’ go-to starters, dropping her ERA by almost three.

I’m just more confident in myself and my abilities.” Urban said. “Coach Dani (Gonzales) has really helped me to sequence my pitches in a more effective way and I have a great defense behind me.” 

Lehigh was in full control of the game, but they put the nail in the coffin in the bottom of the fifth. 

Lehigh junior Rory Dudley, who started the game at first base and finished at catcher, smashed a towering two-run home run to left field to make it a 5-0 game. It was Dudley’s fourth homer of the season, tying her with Cimino for the team lead. 

I mean, it was pretty nice.” Dudley said. “ I’ll admit I don’t really think I was thinking I was gonna hit a home run, but for some reason I really like days that are connected to me because I hit a home run every single St. Patrick’s day and then now in our Pride Game.”

Dudley shined at the plate and in the field all afternoon. She finished 2-2 with a walk while switching positions around the diamond on defense. Troyan said her incredible athleticism allows her to be so versatile. 

I’ve been playing multiple positions my entire life.” Dudley said. “I used to play outfield when I was younger too, and I’ll just do anything to be on the field. If playing more than one position allows me to get on the field and in the lineup, then I’m gonna do it every time.”

As Hess, Dudley, and the Mountain Hawks cruised to the finish line against Princeton, their focus now shifts to perhaps the most important series of the regular season against Boston University. 

Lehigh trails the Terriers by just one game in the Patriot League standings, which means winning at least two of the three-game weekend set will push the Mountain Hawks into first place.

Despite the high stakes, Troyan is preaching a calm message to the team.

“Before the game we talked about preparing the same for a midweek game as a preseason game, as any Patriot League game.” Troyan said. So we’re going into it confident, but we’re not going to make it any bigger than it really is. We need to just play Lehigh softball and that’s all we’re gonna really try to do.”

First pitch of Saturday’s doubleheader at Boston University is at 12.

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