Posted: March 3, 2009
BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Lehigh bats got to the Florida Atlantic pitching staff early and often, but it wasn’t enough as the Owls came away with the 11-9 victory in a seesaw game Wednesday. The Mountain Hawks led by four runs in the fourth, but Florida Atlantic’s pitchers settled into a rhythm and shut the Lehigh offense down over the final five innings.
Mike Lebo was charged with the loss, throwing four innings out of the bullpen. The sophomore pitcher only gave up two runs – one earned – but it was enough for the Owls to come away with the win. Lou Morey came away with the victory for Florida Atlantic, pitching 2.2 innings in relief.
“We swung the bats pretty well today,” Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said. “Austin Borden had a couple clutch hits for us and I thought all around the guys were swinging better. Unfortunately we couldn’t hold on for the win.”
Borden led the Lehigh offense with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, driving home four of the nine Lehigh runs. Kevin Mihalik chipped in with three hits, including a solo home run in the fourth inning. The Mountain Hawks reached base 21 times in the game, including 13 hits from six different players, but it was not enough to overcome the potent Florida Atlantic offense.
“We actually threw the ball pretty well,” Leary said. “They found a lot of holes when they hit the ball. At the end of the game it didn’t seem like we gave up 11 runs the way we pitched.“
The Mountain Hawks fall to 3-6 on the season with the loss, while the Owls improve to 7-1.
Lehigh took the lead in the top of the first, scoring three runs before Florida Atlantic even grabbed a bat. But the Owls answered in the first, scoring three runs of their own to tie the score after one inning.
Florida Atlantic grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second when it got to Lehigh starter Ken Longernecker for two more runs. Longernecker pitched four innings in his second start of the season, giving up nine runs on 11 hits and three walks. The junior righty struck out three in the no-decision.
Lehigh’s offense exploded in the third for five runs. Borden got things started with an RBI single up the middle that scored Andy Russell and Mihalik. After an error brought Pifer home, Billy Goldman and Geoff Campbell each recorded RBI singles to give Lehigh an 8-5 lead.
The Mountain Hawks extended the lead to 9-5 on Mihalik’s solo shot to left to lead off the fourth, but the Lehigh offense sputtered for the rest of the game.
“They made a change and (Morey) shut us down for three innings,” Leary said. “That happens sometimes.”
The Owls cut into the lead with a run in the fourth and took the lead for good with four more in the fifth. Longernecker was chased from the game after giving up a three-run homer to David Wilson, which knotted the score at nine. Anthony Mesa gave the Owls the lead two batters later when he doubled off Lebo to drive home Troy Bubley.
Lehigh continues its Florida road trip on Wednesday with a 1:30 p.m. game against Akron in Palm Beach, Fla.