Posted: April 12, 2009
EASTON, Pa. – Lehigh had a tough time generating runs on Sunday afternoon as the Mountain Hawks were shut out in a pair of games versus archrival Lafayette at Kamine Field. Lehigh dropped the first game 4-0 and fell in the nightcap 2-0. Jeremy Atkins pitched six innings in the opener for Lafayette, striking out two and allowing just five hits before giving way to Jeff Snell who recorded the final three outs. In game two, Corey Shea pitched all nine innings for Lafayette, striking out three along the way and scattering seven hits to help the Leopards sweep Sunday’s pair of contests. Following the setbacks Lehigh falls to 3-6 in Patriot League action, while the Leopards up their league mark to 6-5.
“Lafayette’s pitchers did a nice job today, give them credit,” Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said afterwards. “They had a few timely hits and executed when they needed to; we played a pair of tight games but just couldn’t push a run across.”
Leary then commented on the pitching performance of starters Kevin Mihalik and Mike Lebo. “Kevin pitched outstanding and Mike was solid; they gave us a chance and that’s all we can ask. If our offense had been a little more consistent, those guys may have been able to come home with a pair of victories.”
Lafayette scored its four runs of the opener in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Alex Bechta led the third off with a single and then advanced to second on a passed ball. Rob Froio grounded out to second, sending Bechta to third, and he eventually came around on a Dan Bierce single. Brad Weiss led the fourth inning off for the home team, and made his way on after being hit by a pitch. He moved down to second base on a fielder’s choice and came around on a Justin Shepherd single which made the score 2-0. Shepherd then scored on an RBI single by A.J. Miller giving the Leopards a 3-0 advantage after four innings.
The Leopards added one more in the fifth when A.J. Pissari came across on a Jeff Butler single. Pissari reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning.
Lehigh had a chance to score in the second when Billy Goldman walked, stole second and moved to third on an error, but Jim McConlogue grounded out, ending the Mountain Hawks threat. In the Lehigh half of the fourth, Geoff Campbell singled to center and advanced to second on a passed ball. With one out, Kevin Mihalik was hit by a pitch, bringing up Billy Swenson who grounded into a fielder’s choice, putting Campbell at third with two outs. Goldman grounded out however and Lafayette’s lead remained intact.
The Mountain Hawks had one final attempt in the seventh as Goldman and McConlogue led off with walks. Goldman moved to third on a fielder’s choice, but was tagged out by the third baseman on the next play, giving Lehigh runners on first and second with two outs. Logan Marshall then drew a walk to load the bases, but Campbell struck out swinging, ending the game.
“It seemed as though every time we had an opportunity to score, we hit the ball hard, but right at someone,” Leary said.
Lebo got the start for Lehigh and threw six innings, surrendering just five hits and striking out two in that time before giving way to Ken Longernecker, who pitched one perfect inning. Lehigh managed just five hits in the game, with Mihalik totaling two of them.
In game two, Lafayette scored in the third inning when Pisarri singled with one out and moved to second on a single by Bierce. A Butler single to center drove in Pisarri giving the Leopards a 1-0 lead. Lafayette added an insurance run in the eighth when Bierce led off with a single and moved over to second on a Butler ground out. Bierce was moved over to third on a balk and came around when Shepherd singled to center field.
Mihalik got the start for the Brown and White and pitched into the eighth before getting lifted for Cory Kent. Mihalik struck out two and surrendered only the two runs before Kent recorded the final out of the eighth inning. Campbell and Swenson both had two hits in the game for the Mountain Hawks.
“We’re looking to get a spark offensively for tomorrow,” Leary said looking forward to Monday’s finale. “Greg Angelo will be on the mound and we’ll expect a big performance out of him.” He concluded, “We have to gain the split; we can’t afford to lose the series.”
The series finale will take place on Monday afternoon, beginning at 3:30 in Easton.