Posted: February 22, 2009
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Golden Eagles made it three straight against the Mountain Hawks, pulling out a 12-2 victory in Pete Taylor Park to sweep the weekend series. Jordan Warncke got the loss in his first start of the season, pitching two innings and giving up seven runs as Lehigh dropped to 0-3 on the season.
Scott Copeland earned the win for the Golden Eagles, who move to 3-0 on the year. Copeland threw six innings, giving up two runs to the Brown and White and striking out four.
"I think we learned a lot about our team," Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said. "There are some things we can take from these games to learn from by the time we play again. We played a great team out there this weekend."
The Mountain Hawks offense showed signs of life on Sunday, piling up eight hits and scoring two runs. Senior shortstop Geoff Campbell led the team offensively, going 3-for-4. Five other Lehigh players registered a hit, including Andy Russell, who’s RBI triple in the sixth put Lehigh on the board. Ryan Gajdos’ single in the seventh cut the deficit to just 7-2, but a five-run eighth inning by Southern Miss. put the game away.
"We swung the bats better than the stats looked today," Leary said. "I think we competed better today than we did in the first two games."
The Golden Eagles wasted no time with their potent offense on Sunday, scoring the game’s first run in the opening frame. Warncke settled down in the second, holding Southern Miss. scoreless, but the home club’s offense exploded for six in the third.
Warncke left the game in the third after being charged with seven runs. The junior righty struck out one and walked six in two-plus innings. Rob Russell came out of the bullpen to give Lehigh three shutout innings of relief, momentarily slowing the momentum. Russell allowed just one hit over those three innings, striking out five and walking five.
"He competed really well out there," Leary said. "He had good stuff today, but like a lot of our pitchers, he walked a few too many batters. He figured his way out of it though, and that's what good pitchers do."
The RBIs by Russell and Gajdos in the sixth and seventh drew Lehigh back within five runs heading into the eighth inning. Kyle Maxie bumped the lead back up to six with an RBI single in the eighth, and a three-run homer by Corey Stevens proved to be the backbreaker for Lehigh. The Golden Eagles scored five runs in the eighth to take a 10-run lead into the ninth inning.
Kevin Mihalik was on the hill for the final three innings for Lehigh, giving up the five eighth-inning runs. Mihalik allowed eight hits and walked three batters, while striking out one.
"We put ourselves in a few more opportunities offensively today," Leary said. "But we have to give their pitchers credit because they made all the pitches they needed to."
Lehigh returns to action on Wedneday when the Mountain Hawks head to Maryland to take on the University of Maryland - Eastern Shore.