Posted: March 15, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh split its home opening doubleheader against George Washington on Saturday, winning the first game 2-1, but falling in the second game 10-4. Joe Matteo (3-0) led Lehigh to the victory in the first game, pitching his first complete game of the season, allowing just one run on six hits, while striking out three. In the second game, the Mountain Hawks surrendered a three-run lead heading into the seventh inning and were handed just their second loss of the year by a non-ranked opponent. The loss put an end to Lehigh’s six-game winning streak, as the Mountain Hawks are now 10-7 on the year, while the Colonials stay at .500 with a 7-7 record.
“I thought Matteo was outstanding in the first game,” said Lehigh head coach Sean Leary. “He really brought number one type stuff to the mound and was truly deserving of the win. In the second game we executed for 7.2 innings, but then made a few mistakes and [George Washington] took advantage of it.”
In the first game, the Mountain Hawks got on the board first in bottom of the second. Joe Ercolano drew a bases loaded walk with one away, bringing home Andy Russell, who started the inning off on a hit by pitch. George Washington starter Chris Neary was able to get out the jam, getting the final two batters of the inning out to put an end to Lehigh’s threat.
The Colonials tied the game up in the top of the third on a sac fly to right field by Sean Rockey. The score remained tied through five and a half innings, but George Washington had a great chance to open the game up in the top of the fifth. The Colonials had the bases loaded with just one out, but Matteo got Rockey to ground into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
That play proved to be an important one for Lehigh, because in the bottom half of the inning, Austin Borden unloaded an RBI double to right center. The hit scored Brendan McGaheran, who started the inning off with a single, then stole second during Borden’s at bat.
George Washington was threatening to score in the top of the seventh, as the Colonials started the inning off with a single by Andrew Abokhair. He advanced to second on a groundout by Tim Reeves, but Matteo got the next two batters out, including a strikeout of the game’s final batter Chris Marsicano, to earn his third win of the season.
In the second game, the Colonials struck first on an RBI groundout by Brendon Kelliher, which allowed Rockey to score. Lehigh responded back in the bottom of the third when Ercolano knocked a base hit into left field and Geoff Campbell came around to score from second base to tie the game at 1-1.
The Mountain Hawks took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth when Russell came through with a clutch two-out hit with the bases loaded. All three runners came around to score on the play and Lehigh jumped out to a 4-1 lead after five.
George Washington closed the gap to 4-2 in the seventh on a sac fly to center field by Will Cooper. The Colonials had a chance to add a couple of more in the inning, after Gavin Swanson doubled to deep left field, putting runners on second and third. However, Lehigh starter Greg Angelo got Matt Boyd to pop up to Liam O’Connor at shortstop, ending the inning.
Jordan Warncke replaced Angelo to start the next inning, and allowed the first two runners to reach base. Warncke looked as if he would get out the jam, retiring the next two batters, but pinch hitter Abokhair sent a deep fly ball to right center, scoring both runners on the play. George Washington added one more run on a single to left field by Curtis Eward, and the Colonials had a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Lehigh started the bottom half of the inning similar to the top half, as the first two runners reached base, however, the Mountain Hawks were unable to capitalize on their opportunity, leaving two runners on base to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth, the Colonials struck for five more runs, four of which were via the homerun, to put an end to Lehigh’s six game winning streak. Warncke (0-1) was credited with the loss, pitching 1.1 innings, surrendering five runs on three hits. Angelo earned a no decision, pitching seven innings, giving up just two runs on four hits, while striking out six.
Lehigh returns to the diamond tomorrow when it plays the final game of the three game series. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. from the Goodman Campus.