Posted: April 16, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Down 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Lehigh rallied to take a one-run lead over Saint Joseph’s, but the Hawks scored three runs in the top of the eighth to come back for an 8-6 win over the Mountain Hawks Thursday afternoon at the baseball field on Goodman Campus. Sophomore Andy Russell went 3-for-5 with a long home run to right field, while classmate Kevin Mihalik drove in three runs for Lehigh, but Mihalik was also tagged for three runs in his inning of relief to take the loss, as the Mountain Hawks fall to 9-28-1 on the season.
“It’s disappointing because we’ve been in 13 or 14 one or two runs games this season where we haven’t come out on top,” explained Lehigh head coach Sean Leary. “We need to come out with more focus and better execution in the tight moments. We’ve got to get over the hump and learn how to win some of these close games.”
Saint Joseph’s scored in each of its first four at-bats to build a 5-2 lead after three and a half innings of play. Dewey Oriente went 3-for-4 for the Hawks, including a first-inning RBI single to put Saint Joseph’s on the scoreboard, while Joe Cook added a single in the second inning. In the third, Matt Barnathan doubled home the Hawks’ third run, and Mike Boyland followed with a sacrifice fly.
Lehigh tied the game at one when Mihalik drove in a run with a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the first inning. The Mountain Hawks chipped away at the deficit with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Russell blasted a long home run over the fence in right to make the score 4-2 after three innings. Lehigh capitalized on one of two Saint Joseph’s errors in the fourth, and Mihalik scored Russell with an RBI single in the fifth to bring Lehigh within a run at 5-4.
Sophomore Logan Winchester led off the seventh with a single through the right side and a walk to senior Geoff Campbell placed runners at first and second with nobody out. A wild pitch moved pinch-runner Mark Bernhard to third base and Russell pulled the Mountain Hawks even with a hit-and-run single through the right side that scored Bernhard. Lehigh then took its only lead of the day when Mihalik grounded into a fielder’s choice, in which Campbell scored from third.
The fifth of six Lehigh pitchers on the day, Mihalik was greeted rudely by Saint Joseph’s upon entering the game in the eighth inning. Ryan Kemp led off with a double down the left field line and Mike Coleman followed with a single to right, which placed runners at the corners. Mike Plakis brought home the tying run with a double to right center, and with Cook batting, Mihalik uncorked a wild pitch allowing Coleman to score the go-ahead run.
Kemp earned his first win of the season (1-1) for the Hawks, with an inning and a third of scoreless relief. Ben Wendle retired the Mountain Hawks in order in the ninth inning to record his second save for Saint Joseph’s, which improves to 14-16-1.
Mihalik suffered the loss and falls to 1-4. He allowed three runs on three hits while striking out two in an inning of work.
The two teams totaled 18 hits in the game, with Saint Joseph’s holding a 10-8 edge, and 14 pitchers, as the Hawks threw eight different pitchers, while Lehigh used six.
The Mountain Hawks return to Patriot League play this weekend when they host Army in a four game series with doubleheaders scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Action both days gets underway at noon and Sunday’s twinbill will be broadcast on Lehighsports.com with streaming audio powered by Yahoo! Sports.
Watch the Lehigh - St. Joseph's Post-Game Extra