Posted: April 19, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Army completed a four game series sweep of Lehigh with a pair of wins Sunday at the baseball field on Goodman Campus. The Black Knights held off the Mountain Hawks 5-2 in the opener and built a 21-0 lead in the nightcap, before Lehigh rallied for an eight- run ninth inning rally that made the final score 21-8. The losses drop the Mountain Hawks to 9-32-1 overall and 3-11 in the Patriot League, while Army moves into first place in the league standings at 10-6 and 20-16 overall.
“There’s still time this season to show what we have in the tank,” said Lehigh head coach Sean Leary. “We need our guys to be resilient and show both midweek and into the weekend that this isn’t the team we’re going to be for the rest of this year or even into next year.”
In game one, the visiting Black Knights capitalized on several two-out opportunities to build an early lead. In the first inning Joey Henshaw delivered a two-out single, scoring Clint Moore to make it 1-0. Army added a run in the second when J.P. Polchinski tripled and then scored on a David Darnell single past Lehigh’s drawn-in infield. In the fourth it was Polchinski with two-out hit, a double that scored Kevin McKague.
Lehigh crept back into the game with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as sophomore Andy Russell doubled home senior Geoff Campbell. Billy Goldman then added a two-out single up the middle that scored Russell to make it 3-2 Black Knights.
The Black Knights added to their lead with two runs in the fifth, as Andy Ernesto singled past a drawn-in infield to score Zach Price, and then McKague added a RBI single to left field to extend the Army lead to 5-2.
Ben Koenigsfeld limited Lehigh to two runs on five hits to pick up his fifth win of the season. Sophomore Kevin Mihalik was charged with all five runs for Lehigh, as he took the loss as he allowed seven hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. Mihalik struck out one as he fell to 1-5. Freshman Cory Kent finished the game for Lehigh with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.
“The biggest thing for us that we haven’t been able to overcome is the two-out hits,” explained Leary. “Opponents are coming up with them and we’re not. It’s a difficult skill because its kind of a pressure moment to see who comes through and it seems now we’re being outscored on two-out hits and those are big and really can turn the momentum.”
Army capitalized on the wildness of Lehigh junior Greg Angelo in racing to a quick lead in game one. Angelo walked three batters in the first and Army added two RBI hits and scored two more runs on a Lehigh error to take a 4-0 lead. The Black Knights continued their offensive assault, scoring four more runs in the second plus five in the third and fourth innings and two more in the fifth to lead 20-0.
The 3-4-5 hitters in the Army batting order combined to drive in 15 runs in the nightcap, as Moore went 2-for-2 with a home run and five RBI, McKague went 3-for-6 with five RBI and Henshaw went 3-for7 with a three-run homer and five RBI.
“Their 3-4-5 guys are as good as anyone we’ll see,” said Leary. “We made it a little too easy on them. We gave them too many free passes early on. We gave them too many opportunities and with a good team you’re not going to be very successful very too often.
Polchinski homered in the eighth to make it 21-0, but Lehigh finally broke through in the bottom of the ninth, plating eight runs on just three hits, while capitalizing on some poor Army defense and the wildness of McKague, who pitched the ninth inning.
Sophomore Ross Biggs drove in Lehigh’s first run with a fielder’s choice and the Mountain Hawks added runs on a bases-loaded double play and a bases-loaded walk to Russell. An error by Polchinski allowed two more runs to score, and then sophomore Austin Borden drove in a run with an RBI double to left center. Freshman Joe Conaway capped the scoring with a two-run single.
In addition to his five RBI at the plate, Henshaw threw six shutout innings in the circle to earn his first victory of the season. Angelo took the loss allowing seven runs (three earned) on one hit in 1.1 innings. He walked five and struck out one as he falls to 1-5.
The Mountain Hawks will be back in action on Tuesday when they square off against Muhlenberg at Coca-Cola Park. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Watch the Lehigh - Army Post-Game Extra