Posted: February 25, 2009
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The Mountain Hawks earned their first win of the season in dramatic fashion Wednesday, pulling out an 8-7 victory over the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in 11 innings in game one, and following it up with a 6-3 win in seven innings during game two. Lehigh improves to 2-3 on the season after the win, while UMES drops to 0-5 on the year.
Cory Kent earned the first win of his collegiate baseball career, pitching the final two innings of game one in relief. Then the freshman righty closed out game two with one scoreless inning for his first career save.
“We probably wouldn’t have put him in there if we were a little deeper today,” said Lehigh head coach Sean Leary, whose team was missing several key players from the starting lineup Wednesday. “But his arm is resilient and he said he was feeling good. It was kind of a nice day for him overall.”
Kent did not give up a run in the 10th or 11th in game one, and only gave up one hit and one walk to the eight batters he faced. He worked his way out of a bases loaded jam in the 10th with the winning run just 90 feet away with two outs. Kent induced an inning-ending 6-2-3 double play started by senior co-captain Geoff Campbell.
“We were certainly confident enough in (Kent) to put him in that situation,” Leary said. “Fortunately it was hit to one of our seniors at shortstop and he did a really nice job on a play that’s not easy to make.”
Brendan Pifer led the way for the Brown and White with a 4-for-6 performance at the plate in game one. Pifer scored three of the eight Mountain Hawks runs in the first game, which was the sophomore’s first career start. Andrew Russell drove in three of the eight runs on a 2-for-4 day, including a two-run triple in the fourth that tied the score at four.
Greg Angelo pitched three innings in his second start of the season. The junior lefty struck out five batters, but gave up four earned runs before being relieved by Andrew Berger, trailing 4-1.
Berger steadied the ship in relief, throwing six innings on three days rest after starting the second game of the season at Southern Miss on Saturday. Berger gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out seven batters as Lehigh pulled back even with the Hawks.
The teams exchanged the lead six times in game one, with UMES tying the score at 7-7 in the seventh inning. Neither side gave up a run until the 11th inning, when Logan Marshall-Winchester sent a flare into left field that drove home the winning run.
Ken Longernecker gave the Mountain Hawks six quality innings in game two, as he earned the first win for a Lehigh starting pitcher this season. Longernecker gave up seven hits and three walks, while striking out six batters.
Geoff Campbell led the offense, going 3-for-4 in game two of the doubleheader. Campbell drove in two runs and scored one of his own in the victory. But the biggest hit of the game came on freshman catcher Joe Conaway’s only hit of the day, a two-run homer that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead for the Brown and White in the fourth.
“It was a big lift for us,” Leary said of Conaway’s blast. “We weren’t swinging the bats well, so it was big to get the lead after being down early in the game.”
Kent wrapped up the game with one more inning in relief in the seven-inning game, striking out two and picking off a runner to record the final three outs.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action on Saturday, when they travel to Washington, D.C. to take on George Washington at 2 p.m. Lehigh will also play a double-header with the Colonials on Sunday.