Posted: May 1, 2010
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Led by seniors Andrew Berger and Ken Longernecker, the Lehigh baseball team swept Holy Cross on Saturday to clinch a spot in the Patriot League Tournament. On Senior Day at the baseball field on the Goodman Campus, the Mountain Hawks rallied in both of their games to defeat the Crusaders 4-3 in each contest. In game one Berger tossed his sixth straight complete game and junior Andrew Russell drew a walk-off walk in the bottom of the seventh to end the game. In game two, the Brown and White fell behind 3-0 in the first inning, but strong pitching from Longernecker and clutch hitting helped Lehigh complete the sweep. The Mountain Hawks improve to 21-24 (11-7) on the season, while Holy Cross drops to 22-21 (9-9) with the losses.
“It was true senior leadership today,” head coach Sean Leary said. “It’s been a goal of our seniors to make it to the playoffs and they went out and led the way today. I’m really proud of them and the effort from the entire team.”
Leary continued discussing how the team fought back in both games. “We often talk about how if you want to be a playoff team you have to be able to come from behind and we met that challenge today. I liked our effort and intensity, we just played tough today.”
The Crusaders were able to build a 3-0 lead over the first five innings of game one, but Berger and his teammates kept fighting. In the bottom of the sixth Lehigh finally got its offense going when junior Brendan McGaheran opened the inning with a double to right center. Junior Billy Goldman followed him up with a RBI single that brought him in.
Down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Mountain Hawks put on their rally caps and were able to complete the comeback. With one out in the inning, junior Jim McConlogue doubled to left field and the next two batters reached base off walks. Junior Brendan Pifer came up and tied the game with a two-run single through the right side. With only one out, Lehigh was able to load the bases once again and Goldman hit into a fielder’s choice, which resulted in the runner at third getting thrown out at the plate. Russell was the next better and he was walked to bring in Pifer to end the game.
Berger (5-1) threw seven innings, scattering eight hits and allowing only one earned run. After Nate Koneski threw 6.1 innings, his bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, as Ryan George took the loss for the Crusaders.
Holy Cross was able to get off to a fast start in game two, as it jumped out to a 3-0 lead through the first four batters of the game. Jack Laurendeau hit the first pitch of the game out of the park to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead. After John Sills walked, Matt Perry followed him up with a double to left field to give Holy Cross runners in scoring position. Steve Wadsworth was able to capitalize, as he doubled to right center to plate both runners.
After a rough first inning, Longernecker was able to settle down and get into a zone. The Bethlehem, Pa., native received some run support in the bottom of the fourth when junior Sean Killeen showed off his power and belted a two-run home run to left center to make the score 3-2.
The Mountain Hawks were able to come right back and tie the game in the bottom of the fifth off a RBI single from Russell that scored freshman Brandon Sady.
With the game still tied in the bottom of the seventh, Goldman opened up the inning with his first home run of the season to give Lehigh a 4-3 lead.
Holy Cross would not go easy, as Perry opened up the eighth with a double, which ended Longernecker’s day. Sophomore Cory Kent was called upon to preserve the win and with two runners on, he struck out the Cruaders’ four and five hitters and got a fly out to end the inning.
Kent was able to shut Holy Cross down in the ninth to pick up his seventh save of the season, which is a Lehigh single-season record.
Longernecker, who threw 103 pitches, picked up his team-leading sixth win of the season, as he went seven innings and struck out three batters.
The Mountain Hawks will close out their regular season Sunday with another doubleheader against Holy Cross beginning at noon. If Lehigh wins one of the two games on Sunday it will earn the right to host one of the two first round match-ups of the Patriot League Tournament.
Mountain Hawks Baseball Post-Game Extra