Posted: March 13, 2007
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The Mountain Hawks spilt their doubleheader with the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday afternoon as Lehigh won the first game 7-4 and then fell in the second game by a score of 6-5 in seven innings. Both games were decided in the final inning of play as Lehigh scored three runs in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 tie in the first game, while UMES scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh of the second game. The Mountain Hawks now fall to 3-7-1 on the season as UMES improves to 3-14.
In the first game, UMES jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning off a pair of RBI singles to center field. Senior Nick Bet’s RBI hit to left field in the third inning allowed junior Liam O’Connor to score from second to make it a 2-1 game. However, UMES increased its lead to two runs again in the bottom of the third when Kevin Hillenburg doubled to right center to bring home Joel Gonzalez.
Lehigh would come to within one run again, this time in the top of the fourth with freshman Dan Clauson scoring on a Billy Swenson double to left field, but UMES got another two-run lead off a second Hillenburg-Gonzalez play. Hillenburg singled to third base, which allowed Gonzalez, who was on third, to score and give the Hawks a 4-2 lead.
Consecutive RBI hits allowed the Mountain Hawks to knot the game up at 4-all in the seventh inning. Junior Joe Ercolano doubled to right field, which scored O’Connor, and then senior Stephen Salemme singled to center, which drove in Ercolano.
The Mountain Hawks took the lead for the first time when Ercolano hit an RBI single through the left side. Bet then hit a two-run homer to right field as Lehigh held on for the win.
Sophomore Greg Mortka picked up his first win of the season. Mortka pitched the final three innings and allowed only two hits. Mortka also struck out two batters, both of which came in the ninth. Dustin Longchamps pitched the entire game for UMES and recorded eight strikeouts.
In the second game, Lehigh took a 1-0 lead halfway through the first inning, but UMES quickly evened the score when the Hawks’ lead-off batter, Eric Gaines, hit a home run to left center. UMES would eventually take a 4-1 lead by the end of the fifth inning.
However, Lehigh came back and took the lead away from the Hawks in the sixth inning when the Brown and White scored four runs. O’Connor’s single to left field drove in three runs to make it a 4-4 game. Salemme’s single to right field sent O’Connor home to give Lehigh a 5-4 advantage.
UMES tied the game at five when Tyler Love scored off a throwing error. Then with Derrick Baker on third, Justin Hoban hit a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Baker to score the game-winning run.
Freshman Ken Longernecker was awarded the loss and falls to 1-1 on the season. Mike Roberts earned the win.
Also on Tuesday, Ercolano earned Lehigh’s first Patriot League weekly recognition as he was awarded with an honorable mention for his performance last week. Ercolano hit .421 last week and had four RBIs vs. Duquesne on March 5.
Lehigh returns to action on Friday when the Mountain Hawks head to North Carolina to face Davidson College.