The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Softball drops three of four games at tournament: Team looks to turn around fortunes

Junior utility player Paige Sandidge leads off first base during Lafayette’s victory over Mount St. Mary’s. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The softball team (2-17-1 overall, 0-0 Patriot League) took one of its four matchups this past weekend at the Mount St. Mary’s tournament. In the first game against Mount St. Mary’s, the Leopards pulled out a 4-2 win but could not capitalize on their momentum in any of the following games. Lafayette lost 8-6 against Albany during the second game on Saturday, and on Sunday the team lost 16-4 to Mount St. Mary’s and 4-1 to Albany. 

In the first game, Leopard starter junior Kailee Sawai pitched into the seventh inning to collect her first win of the season. Sawai held Mount St. Mary’s to two runs on five hits over 6.1 innings. Sophomore Morrigan Gardiner came out of the bullpen in the seventh to close the game, marking her first save of the season. 

The Leopards broke open the game in the fifth inning when they got their first hits of the afternoon. Freshman Megan Coyle led off with a single. Sophomore Harlie Bickett’s one-out double scored pinch-runner senior Jasmine Nguyen for the first run of the game, and Bickett came around to score on the play after an errant throw from the outfield. With freshman Kylee Sweet on base, Sandidge smashed a 1-2 pitch over the wall for her fifth career home run and the Leopards’ first round-tripper of the season. Lafayette took the lead 4-0.

“Paige Sandidge had a great weekend, she hit a two-run home run to put us on top of Mount St Mary’s,” Nguyen said. “But it was really special because in the moment we capitalized on Mount St. Mary’s struggles and fatigue, so we were able to take the momentum away from them and roll with it through the rest of the game.”

Gardiner got the final two outs of the inning to solidify the Leopards’ 4-2 victory.

During the second game on Saturday, Albany’s seven-run second inning spoiled a 4-for-4 effort from Bickett, which included two doubles and a pair of runs scored. The Leopards couldn’t come back after Albany’s strong second inning, losing 8-6.

Gardiner took the loss, allowing eight runs – seven of which were unearned – over 4.1 innings with four strikeouts. Junior Jacqueline Cal threw the final 1.2 innings, giving up just two hits.

Lafayette closed out the Mount St. Mary’s Tournament with losses to Albany and Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday.

In the first game of the day, the Leopards gave up five runs in the top of the first. Albany cranked out five hits and benefited from four Leopard errors. Lafayette got on the scoreboard in the third inning after senior catcher Grace Harvey came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. She smacked a 3-1 offering to the wall in right-center field, clearing the bases with her first double of the season. The Leopards added one more run in the fifth on a first-and-third steal attempt that scored Harlie Bickett, but they ultimately lost 16-4.

In the tournament finale, the Leopards were able to tie the game up 1-1 during the fourth inning. Freshman Marisa Powell battled through an eight-pitch at-bat before going the opposite way with a single down the right field line to plate Coyle. The Mount re-captured the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Gardiner came on in relief to get the next two batters and to end the rally with the Leopards trailing 4-1, but the offense could not muster any more runs.

“Sandidge, Bickett, Sawai and Gardiner all had great weekends in my opinion,” Nguyen said. “I thought [Gardiner and Sawai] pitched really well this weekend. They had each other’s backs and kept our opponents off balance in addition to limiting walks and getting crucial strikeouts in pressure situations. Sandidge and Bickett were hot with their bats all weekend and made key defensive plays giving full effort, even laying their bodies on the line to get outs for our pitchers, which was huge.”

The Leopards will open the Patriot League this weekend, hosting Lehigh in a three-game series at Metzgar Field.

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