April 28, 2013
EASTON, Pa. -
The Army softball team closed out regular season Patriot League competition by sweeping a doubleheader from Lafayette Sunday en route to completing a four-game weekend sweep of the Leopards at Metzgar Fields and posting its second straight 30-win season and third in the last four years.
The Black Knights (30-20, 12-8 PL) made excellent use of the long ball in both wins. Rae Anne Payleitner's two-run blast in the top of the seventh snapped a tied game in lifting Army to a 7-5 win in the opener, and Alex Reynolds, 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored, smacked a pair of homers in an 8-3 nightcap decision.
RHP Morgan Lashley (24-10) provided Army solid pitching in both wins Sunday and all four over the weekend posting a 1.63 ERA over 30.0 innings as the Black Knights retained their hold as the No. 2 seed for the tournament in May.
Army jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opener on Marina Northup's RBI fielder's choice and April Ortenzo's RBI groundout in the first inning chasing home Amanda Nguyen and Christian McKone, who led off with back-to-back singles. RBI singles by McKone and Kasey McCravey in the second inning boosted Army's lead to 4-0.
The Black Knights added a single run in the top of the fourth on McCravey's RBI single scoring Nguyen, who led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on McKone's groundout, to pad Army's lead to 5-0.
The Leopards (11-41, 4-16 PL) rallied with five straight runs to tie the score behind three runs in the fourth and two in the sixth inning. Amy Gebhardt's two-run double closed out a three-run fourth with Jordan Parsons' two-run single knocking in Bryn Gronick, hit by a pitch, and Victoria Vergona, who doubled, with one out in the sixth.
With the go-ahead run at second base, Lashley, who scattered seven hits, fanned four and did not walk a batter, stranded the runner on a groundout and strikeout. After Army went ahead in the top of the seventh, Lashley mowed down the side on back-to-back groundouts and a strikeout in the bottom half.
Army snapped the 5-5 tie in the top of the seventh with two outs. Jewels Steurer drew the lone walk off reliever Gornick (2-13) followed by Payleitner's home run to center field delivering the go-ahead and insurance runs. The round-tripper was her first of the season and career fifth.
The Black Knights raked two Lafayette pitchers for 14 hits with Nguyen and McCravey collecting three each along with two by McKone with six others getting a hit.
In the nightcap, Army again jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning keyed by Reynolds' home run with McCravey, who walked, aboard.
After stranding four runners over the next three frames, Army drove in a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning on Northup's RBI single scoring Reynolds, who reached on an error and stole second, for the first run and she crossed on the second error in that inning for a 4-0 advantage.
Lafayette added a run in the bottom half on Madeline Allen's two-out single to center field. After failing to get a hit in the sixth inning, Army raked Gornick (2-14) for four hits and four runs in the seventh keyed by Reynolds and Payleitner's two-run homers. Reynolds knocked in McCravey, who led off with a single, and Payleitner drove in Northup, who doubled. It was Reynolds second round-tripper of the game and Payleitner's second in the twinbill.
Lafayette scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh off reliever Braetana Roy before the freshman hurler nipped the rally on a grounder to the first baseman with runners at second and third.
The Black Knights collected 12 hits off Gornick with three each by Reynolds and Northup along with two by Ortenzo.
Army outhit Lafayette 26-14 the final day with Reynolds and McCravey each batting .571 (4-for-7). Reynolds drove in four runs and scored three times, with McCravey knocking in two and scoring twice. Nguyen scored three times and Payleitner drove in four runs.
Army batted .301 in the weekend series with Nguyen hitting .500 (8-for-16) followed by Reynolds and McCravey at .400 (6-for-15). Reynolds had six RBI and Payleitner had five in the series. Reynolds scored four runs and posted a slugging percentage of .800.
Army visit Albany on Wednesday and hosts Fairleigh Dickinson in a doubleheader Saturday.
In other league action, Lehigh (17-3) swept Colgate (9-11) and Bucknell (11-9) swept Holy Cross (7-13) to earn the final berth to Patriot League's four-team field. The Mountains Hawks are the regular-season champions and tournament hosts followed by Army, Bucknell and Colgate.