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Robinson Fans Nine as Leopards Move Closer to Final Tourney Spot

Melissa Robinson struck out nine and retired 16 straight batters in the Leopards' 2-1 win over Bucknell on Saturday.

April 28, 2012

Box Score (Game 1) | Box Score (Game 2) |Photo Gallery 

EASTON, Pa. - By taking game one of a Saturday doubleheader with Bucknell, Lafayette moved one game closer to earning the final spot in the Patriot League Softball Tournament. Lafayette starter Melissa Robinson struck out nine and retired 16 straight as Lafayette collected a 2-1 win before dropping the nightcap 2-0.

The Leopards (12-35, 6-12) now need to win one of two games on Sunday vs. Bucknell (10-33, 4-14) to clinch a spot in the four-team conference tournament beginning May 10.

In the second inning of game one, Lafayette loaded the bases before Kristen Berger's two-out double over the leftfielder's head brought home two runs. The Leopards tried for another score on the play, but Amy Gebhardt was thrown out at home following a solid relay throw.

After allowing the lead-off hitter to reach in the first two innings, Robinson took control of the game. She retired 16 straight batters, holding the Bison hitless in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings before the lead-off hitter in the seventh inning, Colie Escobar, reached on a bunt.

The Leopards threatened in the fifth. Berger (2-for-3) singled to lead off the inning and was cut down at the plate, trying to score on a two-out Lauren Murphy single.

The Bison loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Pinch hitter Alex Wells looped a single down the rightfield line to score a run. Robinson ended the suspense, striking out Cyndee Sanders to end the game.

Robinson finished with nine strikeouts while allowing one run on five hits. She did not walk a batter and was 2-for-3 with a double at the plate. Bridget Gates (4-8) took the loss, surrendering two runs on six hits with a pair of walks.

Game two was more of the same quality pitching performances from both starters.

Bucknell looked poised for a big rally in the third inning. Three singles by the first four batters of the inning resulted in the Bison's first run. Meredith Dickson knocked home the run, leaving runners at the corners with one out. Robinson worked her way out of the jam, getting two groundouts to end the rally.

Lafayette threatened in the home half of the fourth. Stacey Dorn's two-out walk was followed by Robinson's second double of the day to the gap. Lafayette head coach Meaghan Asselta had to hold Dorn at third. Bucknell starter Alex MacLean, a Lehigh Valley product from Northampton, struck out Carly Feiro to close the inning.

Robinson's defense helped her out of a much deeper spot in the top of the fifth. Bucknell had runners on second and third with one out. Laura Sandford hit a slow roller that Madeline Allen scooped up flipped to Dorn who tagged out the runner at home. Sandford got into a rundown to try and allow Dickson, who had advanced to third, to score but Berger threw her out at home for the 3-2-6-2 double play to end the inning with no runs across.

Bucknell's only hit of the sixth inning was a big one by Escobar who launched a Robinson offering over the wall in right center for her first home run of the season and a 2-0 Bucknell lead.

The Leopards could not muster any offense in their final two at-bats as Bucknell held on for the 2-0 final.

Robinson (11-20) threw all seven, allowing two runs on seven hits with a strikeout and a walk. MacLean (5-21) whiffed nine on three hits with four walks in the win.

The two teams will resume the series with a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 12:30 p.m. when Lafayette will honor its four seniors as part of its annual Senior Day ceremony.