Posted: March 5, 2009
LAKE WORTH, Fla. – Lehigh ran into another hot offense on Thursday as it dropped its fourth straight game. The Mountain Hawks fell 11-1 to St. Bonaventure in its third game of the Palm Beach Challenge in Florida. Jordan Warncke (0-2) took his second loss of the season, going 0.2 innings and giving up five earned runs.
The Mountain Hawks fall to 3-8 on the season with the loss, while St. Bonaventure moves to 4-1. Jim Briton went seven innings for the Bonnies, giving up just one run on six hits and striking out nine.
“We faced a team that was playing well and they jumped on us early,” Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said. “It’s been real difficult for us all year trying to work from behind in a lot of these games.”
Andy Russell and Patrick Groome were the only two Mountain Hawks to register multi-hit games, hitting safely twice each. Brendan Pifer, Mark Bernhard and Ryan Gajdos each added a hit as well as the Lehigh offense struggled to get anything started. Groome drove in the only Lehigh run with an RBI double to left center in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Mountain Hawks gave up five runs in the first inning, with Warncke not making it out of the opening frame. Kevin Suminski got things started with a two-run home run that put the Bonnies on top. Jesse Bosnik added two runs with an RBI single and Nick Brennan singled up the middle to make it five runs in the first.
The Bonnies added a run in each of the next two innings as Cory Kent was unable to stem the tide out of the bullpen. The reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Week gave the Mountain Hawks 4.1 valuable innings, but gave up five runs – only two earned – as the lead ballooned to 10-0 through five and 11-0 through 6 1/2.
“The big advantage we have is we get to keep playing this week,” Leary said. “At this part of the season you’re trying to get better every day, and we get to go back out there tomorrow and play again.”
Dan Ciccone relieved Kent after the fifth inning, and the freshman righty pitched 3.0 strong innings, giving up just one run on two hits and striking out four. Ciccone retired nine of the 11 batters he faced on the day. Freshman Phil Gertner came in for the Brown and White and pitched a scoreless ninth. Gertner struck out one and walked one while not allowing a hit in the final inning.
“Our freshmen pitched really well at the end of the game,” Leary said. “They threw strikes and worked ahead in counts, which is something we need to do.”
Lehigh returns to action in the Palm Beach Challenge when it plays Mt. St. Mary’s at 6 p.m. on Friday.