April 6, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
The Army softball team heads to Hamilton, N.Y., this weekend for an important four-game Patriot League series with Colgate. The Black Knights and Raiders will play doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday with both twinbills starting at 12 p.m. at Eaton Street Field.
Colgate, the defending regular-season league champion,was picked second in the preseason poll with Army listed third. The Black Knights, Raiders and Lehigh, the defending tournament champion and preseason favorite, opened conference play with 4-0 sweeps of their opponents last weekend. Army shut out Holy Cross the first day, 8-0 (5), and 1-0, and posted 10-4 and 5-3 decisions the next day to complete the sweep, while Colgate took four games from Bucknell on the road and Lehigh swept Lafayette.
Army ranks second in the league batting .293 and Colgate is third at .219. The Raiders list second in pitching with a team 3.29 earned run average with Army close behind with a 3.32 ERA. However, Black Knight RHP freshman Morgan Lashley tops the league in strikeouts (142), appearances (32), innings pitched (175.0) and wins (17), and is tied with Colgate's Courtney O'Connell with four shutouts. Lashley shows a stingy 2.36 ERA to trail O'Connell's mark of 2.09.
The Black Knights have four batters hitting over .300 and ranking among the league's top 10 in Alexis AuBuchon, Amanda Nguyen, April Ortenzo and Marina Northup. AuBuchon, the league's reigning Player of the Week and ECAC Player of the Week, leads the Black Knights with a .398 average to list third in the conference. Nguyen's .351 average ranks fourth with Ortenzo (.348) and Northup (.329) hitting eighth and ninth, respectively. Nguyen's 40 hits and AuBuchon's 39 also list among the league's leaders.
Alex Reynolds is the team leader in RBI with 20 to stand third in the league and her 18 runs scored is tied with Ortenzo for fourth place while Nguyen's team-high 19 stands third. Reynolds and freshman Rae Anne Payleitner are tied for second in the league with four home runs apiece.
AuBuchon batted .667 (8-for-12) with eight runs batted in and six runs scored in Army's league-opening sweep of Holy Cross. Five of her eight hits went for extra bases in ripping a pair of home runs and three doubles. Lashley pitched Army to all four wins to show a stingy 0.88 ERA over 24.0 innings in the circle in the series.
The Black Knights (21-12, 4-0 PL) stretched their win streak to eight games following a pair of wins over Atlantic 10 member Temple Tuesday at the Softball Complex. Army came from behind in both decisions with Northup's walk off two-run single lifting the Black Knights to 3-2 first-game win, then drove in the game winner in a 6-3 comeback win in the nightcap.
Colgate (9-15-1, 4-0 PL) is coming off an 8-0 five inning loss to Albany in its home debut Wednesday with the nightcap being called due to rain. The Raiders are by led Tera Vaughn with 25 hits, four doubles and a .313 batting average. Emma Dolfi leads the team with 13 RBI and lists second in hits (19) and batting (.285) with O'Connell, who is also the top pitcher, next at .282.
O'Connell has appeared in 12 games with 10 starts and tops the Raiders in innings pitched (70.1). Rachel LeCoq, the league's reigning Pitcher of the Year, is the team's leader in strikeouts (51), appearance (13) and games started (11), and is second in innings pitched (61.1).
Army and Colgate have met 97 times since the series began in 1979, the Black Knights' first year of varsity competition. The Raiders swept last year's four-game series from the Black Knights, along with beating them twice at the Patriot League Tournament they hosted as top seed to pull ahead 52-45 in the rivalry.
Army clinched the regular-season conference title in its last four-game series with Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. in 2010. After splitting the opening day series, the Black Knights clinched the title with a second-day sweep (7-3, 5-1) to host the tournament for the first time in school history.
Colgate will provide live stats of all four games and fans can access GameTracker on the Raiders' website at http://www.sidearmstats.com/colgate/softball/scoreboard.aspxy.
Twitter updates will be offered throughout the weekend via Army's official Twitter handle (@ArmyAthletics).