BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team (6-5) picked up two wins on Saturday afternoon in 4-2 and 9-2 victories over the Coppin State Eagles. With the win in game one, Lehigh baseball coach Sean Leary earned his 300th career victory with the Mountain Hawks. Leary joins Bucknell's Gene Depew and Army's Joe Sottolano as active Patriot League coaches with at least 300 wins with their respective schools.
With both games being scheduled as seven-inning contests, it took Lehigh 10 innings to pick up the first victory. The Mountain Hawks were dominant in the second game, taking a lead early and never looking back.
Lehigh had solid pitching performances in both games, as Cory Kent was given the ball in the first game and went a strong six innings giving up five hits, one earned run and striking out five batters. Thomas O’Malley and Dan Ciccone pitched solid relief innings for Kent in game one, as Ciccone picked up the victory in extra innings. In the second game, Cameron Phillips gave up just two runs and Jayme Edwards pitched 3.2 scoreless innings to earn the win.
In game one, the Eagles, who were designated as the home team, were the first ones to get on the board, as Coppin State scored on an RBI single in the second inning. The Mountain Hawks would follow with a strong response in the fifth inning. Kevin Mihalik led off the inning with a walk and then stole second base. Sean Killeen would then walk, giving Lehigh runners on first and second with one out. Leary called a successful double steal, giving Lehigh runners on second and third with two gone. Chad Warga came up big in the clutch, singling and scoring Mihalik to tie the game at one.
Extra innings were forced after seven innings of regulation were in the book. Ryan Gajdos, who entered the game as a pinch hitter, reached first base in the eighth inning on an error. Gajdos then stole second and scored on a Billy Goldman single to centerfield. Lehigh had a 2-1 lead at the top of the eighth inning. Coppin State scored an unearned run however in the bottom half of the inning to keep the game alive.
Casey Turner, who singled earlier in the inning, put Lehigh back in front when Brendan McGaheran singled him in. Andy Russell then drove in McGaheran on an RBI single to give the Mountain Hawks a 4-2 lead. Ciccone put the Eagles down in order to wrap up a game one victory for Lehigh.
In the second game, Lehigh was dominant in all aspects, as it cracked out 14 hits and allowed just three. Mihalik and Austin Borden started the second inning by getting on base. Killeen then singled to right field to score Mihalik and give the Mountain Hawks a 1-0 lead. A second run came in the inning when Killeen scored on an unearned run. Lehigh then took a 3-0 lead in the third inning on a Billy Goldman RBI double.
Coppin State added a run in the third and the fourth inning to cut the score to 3-2, but Lehigh delivered the big blow in the fifth inning. Chad Warga started the five-run inning with an RBI single that scored Goldman, who had belted his second double of the game earlier in the inning. Later in the frame, McGaheran singled, which then led to a Logan Winchester two-run homerun over the right centerfield wall to make the score 7-2 in favor of Lehigh. Lehigh left the inning with an 8-2 lead after scoring another run off an error.
The Mountain Hawks earned an insurance run in top of the seventh, when Warga singled to score Jeff Wiand.
Lehigh will be back in action against the Eagles on Sunday with a noon start time.