BETHLEHEM, Pa. — After scouting Holy Cross a 5-0 lead after two and a half innings, the Lehigh softball team fought back, scoring three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to rally for a 6- 5 over the Crusaders in Sunday’s series finale at Leadership Park.
Junior Emilie Cimino went 3-for-4 at home plate and homered to start the fifth inning. Lehigh capitalized on three of Holy Cross’ four errors that day to drive home the equalizer and move forward.
Sunday’s victory gives Lehigh a three-game series sweep as the Mountain Hawks improve to 16-12 overall and a perfect 7-0 in Patriot League play. Holy Cross drops to 11-23 overall and 3-6 in the league.
The Crusaders scored their five runs in the top of the third inning. Senior Gabrielle Nori retired the first two batters from the frame, but then gave up back-to-back singles. Holy Cross took a 1-0 lead when junior Josie Charles was unable to retain Erin Bengston’s line drive. The error was followed by three straight hits, including a two-run double by Jessie Nagel, as Holy Cross took a 5-0 lead.
Lehigh struck out three runs late in the fourth inning. Senior Jaelynn Chesson started with a home run to left center, his 10th of the season and 30th of his career. The Mountain Hawks loaded the bases with two outs and senior Melissa Fedorka delivered a two-out double to left center to put Lehigh up 5-3 after four.
Cimino started the fifth with his third homer of the season at left center. Chesson followed with a single and found himself at third base with one out. She came home with the tying run and Cannon reached it on a throwing error by Callie Thibault of Holy Cross. Cannon was caught stealing for second out of the inning, but senior Karsen O’Rourke reached on an error to keep the round alive. A walk put O’Rourke in scoring position and the senior ran to score the go-ahead from second after Thibault was unable to field a grounder off the senior’s bat. Addie Kittel.
Bailey Chavez went 3 for 4 for Holy Cross and led the seventh with a single, but as a sophomore Katelyn Young forced Bengston to crush the intermediates and seniors Carley Barjaktarovitch turned a 6-3 double play to erase that threat. Young then retired Megan Yurchick on a ground ball to O’Rourke in second to end the game.
Young took the win in the circle with 4.1 scoreless relief innings. She allowed two hits and struck out two. Nori was charged with five unearned runs on six hits in 2.2 innings of work. She struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
Cimino and Chesson had five of Lehigh’s nine hits. Kelly Nelson started for Holy Cross and went over four sets before giving way to Yurchick, who suffered the loss.
Lehigh will host Princeton in a non-league doubleheader on Wednesday with the first game starting at 3 p.m. from Leadership Park. The double header will air on ESPN+. The Mountain Hawks are absent from the Patriot League game next weekend and will host Rider in a non-league doubleheader on Easter Sunday to close out their 11-game homestand.