BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Unearned runs were the undoing for the Holy Cross softball team on Sunday afternoon, as the Crusaders dropped a pair of games to Lehigh, 5-4 and 8-5, in their Patriot League regular season finale. With the two losses, Holy Cross falls to 18-26 overall and 10-10 in the Patriot League, while Lehigh improves to 30-21 overall and 14-5 in the Patriot League. With its three wins over the Crusaders, Lehigh earned the number two seed in the Patriot League Tournament, while the Crusaders will be the number three seed. Colgate secured the number one spot and regular season championship, while Army earned the last spot in the field. Game times for the Patriot League Tournament will be announced later in the week.
Holy Cross twice saw its lead disappear as the Crusaders suffered a 5-4 loss to the Mountain Hawks in the day's first game. The Crusaders led off the first inning with a pair of runs. Junior Camille Trainor (Worcester, Mass.) singled for the first hit of the game, stole second and scored on an RBI double by senior Keeley Seniuk (Phoenix, Ariz.). Seniuk then scored when sophomore Sam Fregenti (Melville, N.Y.) singled to right field. Lehigh wasted no time evening the score with two runs in the second inning. A pair of singles and a pair of errors led to two unearned runs for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh took the lead in the fifth inning, scoring its third unearned run of the game.
Holy Cross took back the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior Caitlin Belanger (Fall River, Mass.) singled to right field and scored on Seniuk's second RBI double of the game. Fregenti followed suit, hitting her second RBI single of the game to score Seniuk. The Mountain Hawks regained the lead in the sixth inning with a pair of runs on two hits and one Holy Cross error, earning the 5-4 win.
Freshman Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.) suffered the loss, pitching seven complete innings and allowing five runs, one earned, on ten hits. Lehigh's Kelsey Lee pitched the first four and one third innings and Rebecca Bliss entered the game in the fifth, picking up her 14th win of the season. Lee allowed four runs on seven hits, while Bliss allowed just one hit in two and two thirds innings pitched.
After three scoreless innings, all 13 runs in the day's second game were scored in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Lehigh broke open the stalemate in the fourth inning when it scored three runs on four hits. The Crusaders immediately evened the score in the bottom of the inning when they scored three runs on three hits and took advantage of a Lehigh error. Trainor led off the inning with a single and moved around the bases on a double by Fregenti. Trainor marked the first Holy Cross run of the game on a fielder's choice by junior Gwen Reimer (Pottsville, Pa.). Senior Erin Fleming (Townsend, Mass.) knocked in a run with a double and freshman Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) picked up the third RBI of the inning when she grounded out to the shortstop.
Lehigh put up two runs in the top of the fifth inning to regain the lead and then added three more in the top of the sixth to take an 8-3 lead. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Fleming hit a two-run home run to make the score 8-5. Lehigh held Holy Cross scoreless in the seventh inning to pick up its second win of the day.
Belanger worked the first five and one third innings for the Crusaders, allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits. Trainor entered the game for the final one and two thirds innings, allowing three runs on three hits. Lehigh's Ashley Quigley earned the win for the Mountain Hawks after pitching six complete innings and giving up five runs on five hits. Bliss earned the save after entering the game for the final inning. Lehigh scored eight runs on 11 hits and committed two errors, while Holy Cross scored five runs on five hits and didn't have any errors.
Holy Cross returns home to Freshman Field on Tuesday, May 3, for its last home games of the season. The Crusaders will take the field against Central Connecticut State for a doubleheader starting at 3:00 p.m.