Posted: March 18, 2008
PHILADELPHIA – In a back and forth battle between Lehigh and Temple, the Mountain Hawks were unable to get the final say, as they lost to the Owls 8-3 Tuesday afternoon in Philadelphia. Lehigh stayed within a run of Temple all game until the bottom of the eighth when the Owls rallied for four runs. The Brown and White falls to 10-9 with the loss, while Temple improves to 7-7 with the win.
Joe Ercolano started the scoring in the first inning, leading the game off with a double to centerfield. Ercolano then proceeded to steal third base, and an error by third baseman Matt Heltz allowed him to come around to score, giving Lehigh an early 1-0 lead.
The Owls wasted no time evening the score up, as Stan Orzechowski hit a homerun to leftfield on the very first pitch thrown by Lehigh starter Rob Russell.
Temple made it a 2-1 game in the third inning on an almost identical play to the one that gave Lehigh its first run of the game. Orzechowski started the inning off by singling to left side of the infield, and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. He then proceeded to steal third, and the throw down by catcher Billy Swenson was off the mark, which allowed him to come home with the second run of the game for the Owls.
The Mountain Hawks cut their deficit to 3-2 in the top of the sixth when Ercolano came into score his second run of the game on a groundout by Andy Russell. Temple responded right back with a run in the bottom half of the inning. The Owls had a chance to put a couple more runs on the board, putting runners on second and third with just one away. However, Kevin Mihalik came into relief Russell, and he got the last two batters of the inning out, to get Lehigh out of the jam.
Swenson led the next inning off on a hit by pitch, and then moved up to third on a double by Logan Marshall, his second extra base hit of the game. Liam O’Connor brought Swenson home on a groundout to the shortstop, making it a one-run game again.
The Owls put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth, rallying for four runs, capped off by a two-run homer to left center by Mark Ortega.
Lehigh had plenty of chances to score during the game, stranding six runners on base, all of who were in scoring position.
Russell (2-1) was credited with the loss, pitching 5.1 innings, surrendering four runs on six hits, while striking out three. Mihalik pitched the final 2.2 innings and gave up four runs, all of which were unearned.
The Mountain Hawks return to action this weekend when they travel to Penn State for a three-game series against the Nittany Lions. The first game is scheduled to begin at 3:35 p.m. on Friday from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, in State College, Pa.