Posted: March 21, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks broke their winless streak with a hard-fought 7-2 win over Binghamton in the opening game of a double-header with the Bearcats. Andrew Berger gave the Brown and White its best start of the season, finishing out the complete game for his first win of the season (1-3).
The Bearcats pulled out a late comeback to take the second game of the double-header, 5-2, leaving the Mountain Hawks at 4-16-1 on the season, while Binghamton moves to 4-7.
“It was easily the best day we’ve put together all year,” Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said. “I’m very pleased with our overall performance today.”
Berger scattered just five hits and two runs in the game, pitching seven innings in the second complete game start by a Lehigh pitcher all season. The junior righty struck out four batters and walked just two.
“We needed a good start and Berger threw a complete game for us, which was terrific,” Leary said. “He just did a great job of keeping them off balance all day. I can’t say enough about how well he pitched.”
Berger gave up two runs in the second inning as Lehigh fell behind 2-0 early on. But the Mountain Hawks scored seven unanswered runs to earn the five-run win.
Billy Swenson knocked in two runs on a second-inning home run to tie the score at two. Brendan Pifer and Patrick Groome each also drove in a run in the win.
An unearned run in the fifth gave Lehigh a one-run lead, and a four-run eighth inning put the game away for good.
“It was good to see us get guys in scoring position find a way to get them in,” Leary said. “We did a much better job today of taking advantage of every scoring opportunity today.”
In the second game of the double-header, Lehigh rode Mike Lebo throughout the game until the Bearcats mounted their comeback. Lebo pitched 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball, but Binghamton got on him for four runs in the eighth inning to snatch victory out of the Mountain Hawks’ hands.
“Lebo just had a hard-luck loss today,” Leary said. “He was fantastic like Berger was. We had two unbelievable performances from our starting pitchers.”
Lebo gave up just six hits and struck out six in the loss, his fourth of the year. He pitched deeper into the game than any Lehigh pitcher has so far this season.
Geoff Campbell and Andy Russell each drove in a run for the Mountain Hawks in the second game of the day.
“Even though Lebo hasn’t gotten a win for his efforts so far, he really has pitched well,” Leary said. “It was definitely a big boost of confidence to see those guys step up and take the lead on the mound.
The Mountain Hawks return to action for two more games against the Bearcats on Sunday at noon on Goodman Campus. The four games in two days is set up to resemble a Patriot League weekend.
“They’re the preseason favorites in their league, so they’re a team that would be a top-level Patriot League team,” Leary said. “Also, the format is the same so it’s great preparation for us.”