HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The 2009 Lehigh baseball season got off to a tough start in Hattiesburg on Friday, as the Mountain Hawks dropped the opener to Southern Miss., 18-1, at Pete Taylor Park.
Greg Angelo was hit with seven runs in 1.2 innings for the Mountain Hawks, striking out one and walking five. The junior lefty gave up six hits to the deep Golden Eagles lineup, including a three-run triple by Corey Stevens in the second in the middle of a seven-run second inning for Southern Miss
“We’re a much better team than we showed today,” Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said. “We didn’t execute the small things today. We didn’t work ahead and had way too many free passes, and a high-level team like this is going to take advantage of that.”
Todd McInnis pitched six innings to earn the win for Southern Miss. He allowed five hits and three walks while striking out four.
Not only did Lehigh walk 11 batters as a team, Leary said many of the Southern Miss. hits came in fastball counts after his pitchers fell behind.
“You want to work to your strengths,” Leary said. “Our strengths are using our defense and we didn’t do that. Greg (Angelo) is going to be one of our top pitchers this year, but he didn’t do a great job of getting ahead of batters tonight.”
Geoff Campbell led the Mountain Hawks offense, going 2-for-3 at the plate. The Brown and White also got hits from Logan Marshall-Winchester, Billy Goldman and Andy Russell – who all went 1-for-4 – but were held to just five hits overall.
The Golden Eagles went on to score seven runs in the second inning to jump out to a 7-0 lead after two frames. Brian Dozier got the scoring started with a two-run double in the second that scored Bo Davis and Travis Graves. Stevens’ triple cleared the bases, and singles by Tyler Koelling and Graves put the total at seven before Angelo was lifted for Mike Lebo with two outs in the inning.
Lebo threw 4.1 innings in relief, giving up four runs on four hits and striking out one. Luke Porter and Dan Ciccone each pitched an inning in relief, each giving up two runs in the final two innings.
Southern Miss. added a run in the third off a James Ewing double that plated Taylor Walker, and two more in the fourth when Ewing hit a two-run home run off Lebo to extend the lead to 10-0.
Lehigh got on the board when Billy Swenson scored on a wild pitch by J.R. Ballinger in the seventh inning, but the Golden Eagles answered back with six more runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend the lead to 16-1. Two more insurance runs in the eighth put the final score at 18-1.
“We told them to think about it and try to learn from it,” Leary said. “But one advantage of baseball is you get to start over less than 24 hours later. Whether you lose by one run or by a lot it’s still one loss. We can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow.”
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. central in game two against the Golden Eagles. Andrew Berger will face Cody Schlagel in the second game of the series.