Posted: March 20, 2010
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team was able to give its fans a treat in its home opener as it rallied to defeat Binghamton 12-9 in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks gave up seven runs in the first inning, but were able to rely on their pitching and get some timely hits to defeat the Bearcats. Binghamton rebounded in game two as it defeated the Brown and White 8-0. After both of Saturday’s games Lehigh is now 3-9 on the season and the Bearcats are now 3-8.
“We thought it was important that we put our best reliever in the game (Ken Longernecker) to show the team that we had faith they could come back,” head coach Sean Leary commented on the rally. “I’m proud of the fact that we kept our heads up and never gave up. It really was a total team effort.”
Binghamton jumped ahead 7-0 in the top of the first inning, but the Mountain Hawks responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Senior Ken Longernecker came in with two outs left in the first and he pitched a total of 4.1 scoreless innings.
The Mountain Hawks chipped away at the Bearcats’ lead with a run in the third, but it wasn’t until the fourth when the Brown and White’s offense came alive. Lehigh loaded the bases and junior Andrew Russell delivered as he hit a game tying grand slam.
After Lehigh added one more run in the fourth, junior Brendan McGaheran kept the big hits coming as he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth. Leading 10-7 after the fifth, a Brendan Pifer two-RBI single capped off the scoring for the Mountain Hawks.
Sophomore Dan Ciccone came in for the save with two outs in the seventh and was able to close it out to preserve the victory.
Russell finished with a game-high three hits and four RBIs to lead the offense. Longernecker gave up two hits and allowed zero runs during his 4.1 innings.
In game two, Lehigh struggled from the plate and Binghamton’s Jay Lynch pitched eight strong innings to pick up the win. The Bearcats got all of their runs in the middle innings and the Mountain Hawks finished with only four hits in the game.
Lynch struck out five batters and gave up only three hits in his eight innings of work.
“Binghamton outplayed us in the second game,” Leary said. “Their starter pitched well and they were efficient all game offensively. Give them credit they played a great game.”
The Mountain Hawks will have two more chances at Binghamton with another doubleheader scheduled for Sunday.
“Tomorrow is going to be very challenging,” Leary said. “We’re going to see the top of their rotation, but we’re anxious to see how (Andrew) Berger and (Greg) Angelo throw. Both pitchers are coming off injuries. Binghamton won its conference last year and this is the type of challenge we will see in the Patriot League in a few weeks.”
Sunday’s action will get underway at noon with the second game beginning at 2:30 p.m.