Posted: April 7, 2010
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team advanced to the finals of the Liberty Bell Classic after defeating Villanova 4-3 Wednesday afternoon at Villanova Ballpark. The Mountain Hawks built a 4-1 lead and relied on their bullpen to close out the Wildcats. Junior Kevin Mihalik threw six innings to pick up his first win of the season and sophomore Cory Kent pitched the ninth to earn his second save. Lehigh will take on Delaware April 20 at 7 p.m. in the finals of the classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Mountain Hawks have now won two straight to bring their record to 10-16 (2-2) on the season. With the loss Villanova drops to 18-8.
“Mihalik really had everything working today,” head coach Sean Leary said. “He was keeping the ball low in the zone and changing speeds well. He had a tremendous game.”
Leary continued with his thoughts on what these wins do to the confidence of the team. “Beating a Big East and an A-10 team really provided us with some great prep for league play. Villanova is having an outstanding season and it was a great win for our program today. These wins have allowed us to develop a lot of momentum heading into the weekend.”
Lehigh got things going offensively in the top of the second inning when junior Jim McConlogue led things off with a double. His classmate Logan Winchester followed him up with a single and an error by Villanova allowed McConglogue to come in and score. With Winchester on third because of the error, junior Sean Killeen continued his hot streak at the plate by singling him in to make it 2-0.
The Mountain Hawks picked up another run in the top of the fourth off a single from junior Austin Borden, who drove in McConglouge. The Wildcats notched their first run of the game in the bottom of the inning after David Koczirka doubled in Chris Johnson.
Junior Andrew Russell led off the sixth inning with a solo home run to right field, but Villanova was able to once again respond in the bottom of the inning. The Wildcats got two runs, as Johnson and Koczirka were able to strike again.
Heading into the seventh junior Mike Lebo replaced Mihalik and pitched two strong innings of relief for the Brown and White. After pitching a perfect seventh, Lebo was able to get out of a jam in the eighth to set up Kent for the final inning.
Kent came in and got out the first two Villanova batters out, but the next two reached base. With two outs, Kent was able to get Dain Hall to ground out to second base and end the game.
“Lebo and Kent both did a great job closing it out,” Leary said. “Collectively it’s one of the best efforts we’ve had on the mound all season.”
Lehigh finished with 11 hits and was led by McConlogue, who tied for a game-high with three. Borden and Winchester each had two hits to finish as the only other Mountain Hawks with multiple hits on the day.
The Mountain Hawks will return home and have a few days to prepare for a four-game series with their archrival Lafayette this weekend on the Goodman Campus. The action will get underway at noon on both Saturday and Sunday.