May 11, 2012
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -
Rebecca Bliss fired a four-hit shutout and Julie Fernandez, 3-for-4, drove in a pair of runs as top-seeded Lehigh defeated second-seeded Army, 4-0, in a winners' bracket game at the Patriot League Tournament Friday morning at Kaufman Field.
The Black Knights (36-20) will play the final game of the day at 4 p.m. taking on the winner of the elimination game between No. 3 Colgate and No. 4 Lafayette. The winner of that game, which is Game 5 at the double-elimination tournament, advances to Saturday's championship round against No. 1 Lehigh.
After getting off to a shaky start in the first inning when Lehigh jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Army's Morgan Lashley (32-15) scattered two of her seven hits over the next five innings in keeping the Mountain Hawks scoreless over that span. Lehigh touched her for its final run in the top of the seventh with Fernandez, who drove in the first run of the game, knocking in the final run with her third single of the game.
Bliss (18-6), who struck out four and walked one, did not allow a runner into scoring position until the bottom of the third when Clara Navarro smacked a double (her third of the season) up the middle with one out. Bliss, who recorded a pair of wins and a save in the regular-season series with Army, retired the next three batters.
The Black Knights threatened again in the fourth inning on a leadoff single by Marina Northup, but a double play and strikeout looking nixed that chance. After retiring five straight batters, Bliss was touched for her second extra base hit on a two-out triple by Rachael Duval, her first of the season and career fourth, in the fifth inning. Following a hit batsman, Bliss induced the next batter to fly out to right field.
After yielding her second hit to Army's Northup, 2-for-3, with one out in the sixth, Bliss retired five straight batters to record her ninth shutout of the year.
Audio streamed broadcasts of the softball tournament are available via ITT Exelis Knight Vision, Army's official multimedia platform with Rick Johnston providing the play-by-play. Fans can sign up for the subscription-based service by logging onto Army's official athletics website (www.goARMYsports.com).
Live stats for the Black Knights' games are ofsafered via GameTracker on Army's official athletics website with Twitter updates also provided through Army's official Twitter handle (@ArmyAthletics).