Posted: April 4, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Navy Midshipmen dealt two more Patriot League setbacks to the Mountain Hawks on Saturday. Navy no-hit the Mountain Hawks in a 3-1 victory to start out the afternoon, and Lehigh’s furious rally at the end of game two fell just short as the Midshipmen held on for a 4-3 win.
Lehigh falls to 6-23-1 on the season with an 0-4 mark in Patriot League play with the two losses. Navy improves to 11-15-1 overall, with a 5-1 Patriot League record.
"We're not executing very well right now," Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said. "We've got to make the routine play because we're not doing that very well at all."
Sam Long threw the eighth no-hitter in Navy history – and the first since 2006 – in the first game of the doubleheader. The sophomore lefty allowed five walks and one earned run over seven innings, striking out four Lehigh batters. Long allowed five runners to reach base, but no Mountain Hawk was able to register a hit through the entire seven frames.
"We have not been as successful as we need to be with runners in scoring position," Leary said. "When we have guys on, we just have to execute."
Lehigh scored its only run of the game after Long walked consecutive batters in the fifth. Billy Goldman bunted Billy Swenson to third, and Pat Groome grounded out to the second baseman as Swenson scored the only run of the game for the Brown and White.
Andrew Berger was nearly as dominant as Long on the mound for the Mountain Hawks, striking out seven batters in seven innings only allowing one earned run. However, Berger made three errors on defense, which helped pave the way for Navy’s three-run fifth inning.
"He pitched pretty well but he didn't help himself defensively," Leary said of Berger. "Unfortunately that's part of the job, and he dug himself a hole in that area."
In the second game of the day, the Midshipmen jumped out to a 4-0 lead through four innings. Navy scored first on a Steven Soares solo home run in the second that sparked a two-run inning, and runs in each of the third and fourth innings gave the Midshipmen a comfortable lead.
The Mountain Hawks had more success against Wes Olsen in the second game than they had against Long, racking up seven hits against the Navy starter through five, but they were still unable to put any runs across. That all changed when Logan Marshall-Winchester blasted a two-run home run well over the right field wall in the seventh to cut the lead in half. After a Geoff Campbell double in the next at bat, Andy Russell laced a single up the middle to put Lehigh behind by just one run.
Lehigh put the tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth before falling just short. Russell connected on his third hit of the game with two outs to give Lehigh life. It appeared as if Chris Murray had Russell picked off, but the sophomore outfielder ran through and stole second to keep the game going.
Representing Lehigh’s last chance, Kevin Mihalik put a charge into a ball that started at the center fielder before the strong wind (gusting up to 45 mph) pushed it into the right center field gap, where Nick Driscoll reached out and stabbed it for the game’s final out.
Mike Lebo took the loss for the Brown and White, falling to 0-5 on the season. Lebo pitched four innings and gave up four earned runs on six hits and two walks. The Lehigh bullpen combined to pitch five innings of one-hit ball to keep the Mountain Hawks in the game. Ken Longernecker threw four innings, giving up one hit and striking out five. He was replaced by Cory Kent, who pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
Lehigh racked up 13 hits in the second game, with Campbell leading the way with a 4-for-5 game two performance. Seven different players recorded a hit in the second game, with Campbell, Russell and Billy Goldman registering multi-hit games.
"I hope it stings a little bit for them tonight," Leary said. "We just have to make the big plays tomorrow."
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday when it hosts the Midshipmen in another Patriot League doubleheader, starting at noon from the baseball field on Goodman Campus.