March 29, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army and Colgate open their respective Patriot League schedules this weekend with a critical four-game series at West Point's Softball Complex. Doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday afternoon are scheduled to start at 1 p.m., but afternoon showers expected on Easter Sunday could force an earlier start for the twinbill.
Live states for the games will be available via GameTracker by logging onto Army's official athletics website (www.goARMYsports.com). In-game Twitter updates will also be offered through the official Twitter handle (@Army_WSoftball). In addition, there will be audio coverage available through Knight Vision, the Black Knights' subscription-based multimedia platform.
Army finished second in the league's preseason poll in the vote of the conference's head coaches and sports information directors with the Black Knights collecting 45 points and five first-place votes. Colgate was picked third with 34 points. Both teams were among last year's four-team field at the Patriot League Tournament with the Black Knights finishing runner-up to Lehigh.
The Black Knights have won six of their last seven games to head into the weekend competition in first place in the Patriot League standings with a 12-11 mark in taking over that spot from Lehigh (11-11-11). Army is coming off a midweek split in its home debut against Marist with the Black Knights blanking the Red Foxes, 3-0, in the nightcap after bowing 1-0 in 11 innings in a pitcher's duel in the first game.
Freshman Braetana Roy went the distance in the second game to earn the win. Roy was staked to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning in the nightcap on freshman Christian McKone's two-out bunt single. Melanie White kept Army off the scoreboard over the next three frames retiring 11 straight batters before the Black Knights' added insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Army collected three hits off her in the sixth inning, to include a pair of doubles, for a pair of runs in pulling ahead 3-0.
With one out, freshman Kasey McCravey ripped a double to right field and moved to third on a groundout. Marina Northup drilled an RBI double to left center field for a 2-0 cushion and scored on Alex Gaff's single to left field
Roy (2-3), who had worked out of bases-loaded jam in the fifth and stranded a pair of runners in the sixth inning, protected Army's third shutout of the season as she closed the door in the top of the seventh on back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout. Roy scattered eight hits, struck out four and walked just one batter in going the distance for the fifth time this season.
RHP sophomore Morgan Lashley was tagged with the loss in the first game going the distance in 11 innings. Lashley lost out on her no-hitter in the sixth inning, but got out unharmed and was aided by double plays in the ninth and 10th innings in keeping Marist off the scoreboard. The Red Foxes snapped the scoreless tie on a two-out home run in the top of the 11th inning, then nipped Army's rally in the bottom half stranding the tying run at third base.
Army leads the league in batting (.302) and fielding percentage (.969) and ranks second in pitching (3.31 ERA). Individually, junior Amanda Nguyen, paces the league in batting (.419), hits (36) and stolen bases (15), and is second in runs scored (22). Nguyen is ranked nationally in three categories, listing 13th in stolen bases, 28th in runs scored (1.05 average) and 45th in batting.
Five Black Knights are among the league's top 10 hitters in McCravey (25), listed third, followed by senior April Reynolds (24) and juniors Northup (23) and April Ortenzo (21). McCravey also ranks third in runs scored (19) and RBI (17), with Ortenzo the leader in RBI (18). The Black Knights have outhit their opponents 194-144 and show a team 3.31 ERA in limiting opponents to a .247 batting average.
COLGATE: After starting off the year 0-13, a young Colgate squad won five of its last seven games to head into the weekend series in the midst of a three-match win streak. Alana Dyson paces Colgate's offense with a .394 batting average that ranks second in the league, along with 26 hits and 15 runs. Mariel Schlaefer is next batting .347 (ranks 10th in the league) with 10 RBI and 12 runs scored. As a team, Colgate is batting .244 and shows a 3.33 ERA with pitcher Megan Carnase third in the league with a 2.72 ERA.
SERIES: Colgate holds a 55-47 lead in the series that began in 1979. The Raiders took three of last year's four-game series from the Black Knights, but No. 2 Army defeated No. 3 Colgate, 4-3, in the opening round of the league tournament.
Patriot League play opens this weekend for the six-team field with defending champion Lehigh opening at Bucknell and Lafayette home for Holy Cross.