Softball stumbles against Lehigh, Penn State

Emily Evancho, Sports Editor

The softball team endured a rough 1-4 stretch from April 12-16, dropping two of three games at home against Lehigh on April 12 and 13 while also falling twice at Penn State on April 16.

Game one against Lehigh looked to be a pitcher’s duel early on, with Dana Nielsen ’16 and her Lehigh counterpart putting up zeros for the first three innings. Lehigh managed to score two runs in the fourth inning, but the Bison retaliated with a RBI double by Cydnee Sanders ’15 in the fifth inning to make the score 2-1. The Lehigh offense then erupted for five two-out runs in the sixth, knocking Nielsen from the game. The Orange and Blue could not muster any more offense as they fell by a final of 7-1.

The team shrugged off the game one loss and rode the arm of Lara Bean ’17 to a 2-0 victory in game two. Bean went 6.1 innings and struck out three, while Colie Escobar ’15 stroked a pinch-hit double to score two in the bottom of the third inning. The game ended in dramatic fashion, as Kristen Zahn ’15 made a two-out sliding catch with the bases loaded to preserve the win for Bean and a save for Amanda Fazio ’16.

Nielsen returned to the mound for game three, but was replaced by Bean after allowing two runs in 1.2 innings. Bean was phenomenal once again, holding the Mountain Hawks to a hit and a walk over 5.1 innings while striking out nine. However, the Bison offense was held to a walk by Escobar in the fifth and single by Jacee Almond ’17 in the sixth, and could do no more in the eventual 2-0 defeat.

The Bison turned to Bean once again for game one of the doubleheader against Penn State on April 16. Bean struggled with her command, walking three and uncorking a wild pitch as Penn State scored three runs in the first three innings. Bean was relieved by Fazio in the fourth inning, but Fazio could not stop the bleeding and allowed three runs in three innings of work. The Bison did not score their first run until a home run by Zahn in the top of the fourth inning, and despite an RBI single from Zahn in the fifth and another home run from Almond in the seventh, the Bison could not rally in the eventual 6-3 defeat.

Game two also proved difficult for the Bison, as Nielsen was rocked for nine runs in 1.2 innings of work. The Bison made things interesting as Sanders recorded three RBI and scored twice on errors, bringing the score to 10-5 after four innings. Despite a solid 4.1 innings of one-run ball by relief pitcher Cindy Cherness ’16, the Orange and Blue were unable to tack on any more runs, falling 10-5 in the nightcap.

As a result of her strong performances against Lehigh, Bean was the recipient of the Patriot League Rookie of the Week award. Bean is the second member of the softball team to receive the award this season, following Almond.

The Bison take a break from conference action this weekend, hosting Coppin State today and tomorrow before travelling to Saint Francis (Pa.) on April 22.

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