Posted: March 29, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks opened Patriot League play with a doubleheader against Holy Cross on Saturday, and despite receiving a couple of great pitching performances they could not walk away with any wins, losing 1-0 in the first game, and 5-4 in 11 innings in the second game. Senior Joe Matteo (3-2) had one of his strongest outings of the year, pitching a complete game, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out nine. Kevin Mihalik was equally as impressive in the second game, pitching 7.1 shutout innings of relief, allowing only five hits. The Mountain Hawks fall to 12-13 (0-2) with the losses, while Holy Cross improves to 6-13 (2-0).
“We had a couple of great pitching performances on the mound today, but our offense just couldn’t produce,” said head coach Sean Leary. “Matteo was outstanding in the first game, and Mihalik and [Geoff] Campbell were just as great in the second game combining to throw nine innings of scoreless relief.”
In the first game Matteo was out-dueled on the mound by Matt Shapiro. Both pitchers kept the game scoreless through the first three innings, before Holy Cross struck with the game’s only run in the top of the fourth. Gil Gomez led the inning off with a double in the right field gap. Lehigh seemed like it would escape from the jam as Matteo struck out the next two batters, but a triple down the right field line by John Sills scored Gomez to put the Crusaders up 1-0.
Lehigh picked up its first hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth on a base hit to the shortstop by Liam O’Connor. The Mountain Hawks could not take advantage of the hit however, as O’Connor was thrown out trying to steal to end the inning.
Shapiro kept the Lehigh batters at bay until the bottom of the seventh, when Andy Russell led the inning off with a single to right field. Austin Borden moved him over to second a sac bunt, and he then advanced to third on a groundout by Logan Marshall. That brought up Billy Swenson with two outs and Russell on third, but Swenson was unable come through in the clutch striking out to end the game.
Shapiro (2-1) pitched a complete game shutout, giving up just two hits and struck out five.
The second game got off to a slow start for Lehigh, as starter Andrew Berger gave up four runs in the first 1.2 innings before getting relieved by Mihalik. The Mountain Hawks got their offense going in the bottom of the fourth when Logan Marshall led the inning off with a double then scored on a single to right field by Billy Swenson.
Later in the inning, Billy Goldman came through with a two-out double to right field that moved Swenson up to third. The next batter, Joe Ercolano, hit a fast moving line drive down the right field line that allowed Swenson and Goldman to score. Ercolano was caught in a rundown and tagged out trying to take an extra base on the play to put an end to the inning.
The Mountain Hawks tied the game in the next inning on another two-out hit, this time by Marshall, who hit a single up the middle to score Brendan McGaheran. The score remained tied at 4-4 through the end of nine, and the teams went into extra innings.
Holy Cross caught a break in the top of the 11th when the leadoff batter, Sills, reached on a fielding error by Matt Reitz. Sills moved up to second a sac bunt, and then stole third on a called third strike to the next batter, putting him 90 feet from home with two away. Matt Perry came through with the game-winning hit, a single through the left-side of the infield to score Sills.
Dmitri Seredenko (1-0) picked up his first win of the year, pitching 1.2 innings of one-hit relief. Campbell (1-1) was credited with the loss, pitching the final two innings of the game, allowing one unearned run on two hits.
The teams finish up the last two games of their four-game series Sunday afternoon from the Goodman Campus. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled to start at noon.