April 27, 2013
EASTON, Pa. -
Senior Alex Reynolds scored the tie-breaker in the top of the 10th in the first game and knocked in the lone run in the second game as Army swept a Patriot League softball doubleheader from Lafayette to clinch a berth to the tournament next month. It is the fourth straight year Army earned a berth and 20th overall.
Freshman Bernadette Cardon's fielder's choice RBI and sophomore Rae Anne Payleitner's RBI groundout in the top of the 10th lifted Army to a 3-1 victory in the opener. Sophomore RHP Morgan Lashley (22-10), who went the distance in the both wins, threw a three-hit shutout in the Black Knights' 1-0 victory over the Leopards in the nightcap in yielding just one run over 17 innings in the twinbill.
Reynolds staked the Black Knights (28-20, 10-8 PL) to a 1-0 lead in the first inning in the opener with her RBI groundout scoring Christian McKone, who reached on an error and stole second base.
Lashley, who yielded eight hits, fanned six and issued just two walks, worked her way out of a jam with a strikeout in the bottom of the first before being touched for a run in the bottom of the third inning with pitcher Melissa Robinson (9-20) helping her own cause in tying the game 1-1 with a double to right field. Though touched for three hits in that frame, Lashley left two runners in scoring position.
Robinson got into a jam in the top of the fourth with bases loaded on back-to-back fielding errors along with a walk with one out, but Army came up empty as she retired the side on a line drive and groundout to the circle.
The Black Knights left runners at first and second in the fifth after collecting two of their nine hits off Robinson in that frame, and had runners n the corners in the top of the seventh as that rally, which began with two outs, was nipped by a grounder back to the circle.
After being touched for the run in the third, Lashley retired the side in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings and did not allow a Lafayette runner into scoring position in the sixth or seventh innings after yielding a hit in each.
After Army left two runners on base in the ninth, Layette challenged in the bottom half with two outs in loading the bases on a single, error and walk. Lashley worked out that jam on a flyout to right center field.
The Black Knights then forged ahead with two runs in the top the 10th. Kasey McCravey and Reynolds ignited the rally leading off with back-to-back singles. McCravey was retired at third base on Maria Northup's fielder's choice with Reynolds advancing to second base.
April Ortenzo drew a walk, the third given up by Robinson, to load the bases with Cardon coming to bat. The freshman center fielder's RBI fielder's choice delivered Reynolds with the go-ahead run, and Payleitner's RBI groundout chased home Northup for the insurance run before the rally was nipped on a groundout to the circle in stranding two Army runners.
After yielding a single to the leadoff batter, Lashley retired the side on a popup and back-to-back swinging strikeouts in earning her 21st win of the season.
In the nightcap, Army's hopes of snapping a scoreless deadlock in the top of the third came up empty as Lafayette threw out pinch runner Savanna Aversa at home plate. With runners in the corner, Bryn Gornick (2-13) got out safely on a groundout to the second baseman en route to retiring six straight batters.
The Black Knights capitalized in the top of the sixth with one out on Reynolds' single to center field scoring McKone who led off with a bunt single and moved into scoring position on McCravey's flyout. Gornick denied Army an insurance run as the Leopards turned a double play.
The 1-0 lead was all that Lashley would need in protecting the win and shutout, her fourth of the season and Army's eighth. After yielding her lone walk of the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth, she retired the side on a strikeout and flyout.
Lafayette (11-39, 4-14 PL) got new life in the bottom of the seventh when Kristen Berger reached on an error to start off the inning. With one out, Amy Gehbart ripped a double to left field as Berger moved to third base. Pinch hitter Allison Brown fouled out to the catcher and the next batter struck out swinging.
Army, which moved into second place in the league standings with the sweep, wraps up the four-game series with a doubleheader Sunday on Senior Day for the Leopards.
In other Patriot League action, Lehigh (15-3) clinched the regular-season title and tournament host with its first-game win over Colgate (9-9), 7-2, then completed the sweep with a 3-0 shutout in the second game.
Bucknell (9-9) swept Holy Cross (7-11) , 2-1 and 1-0, and can clinch the final fourth berth to the tournament with either a win Sunday against the Crusaders or a Colgate win over Lehigh.