EASTON, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team (17-13, 2-4) earned a split with the Lafayette Leopards on Saturday afternoon on the Lafayette campus. The Mountain Hawks took a game one victory by a score of 8-6, followed by a game two loss with a score of 7-4 in favor of Lafayette.
In game one, Mike Lebo made the start for the Mountain Hawks and went five innings of giving up three runs and striking out three batters. Brendan McGaheran, Billy Goldman and Casey Turner each had two hits for Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks also smacked three homeruns coming off the bats of Goldman, Andy Russell and Brendan Pifer.
Lehigh was off to a strong start immediately in the first inning. McGaheran led off with a single off Lafayette starter Zach Fritz to start the game. Goldman, who was back returning from a minor injury belted a two-run shot to give the Mountain Hawks a 2-0 lead. The homerun for Goldman was his first of the season. In the bottom half of the inning, Lebo shut down the Leopards in order, including striking out two of the batters.
In the second inning, Lehigh had runners on second and third base thanks to two Lafayette errors. McGaheran then drove in the runner at third, Turner, on a sacrifice fly to give the Brown and White a 3-0 lead. In the bottom half, Lafayette had a single and double to give runners on second and third with one out. A sac-fly scored a Lafayette runner, making the score 3-1 in favor of Lehigh.
After a scoreless third, Lehigh was back on the board in the fourth, when Turner led off with a base hit to centerfield. Chad Warga then sac bunted Turner over to second base. Turner then scored on an RBI single by McGaheran to give Lehigh a 4-1 lead. The Mountain Hawks upped the score to 5-1 when Russell belted his first homerun of the season. Lafayette added a run in the bottom of the fifth to make to shrink the Mountain Hawk lead to 5-2.
Pifer continued the Lehigh homerun onslaught as he drilled a homer in the top half of the sixth inning. However, the Leopards clawed back into the game with a four-run sixth inning to tie the game up at six.
Heading into the last inning of game one, Goldman led off with a double and Russell and Logan Winchester walked to load the bases with one out. Turner delivered the big game-winning single to score two runners to give the Mountain Hawks an 8-6 lead. Cory Kent shut the door in the bottom half of the inning to pick up the win.
In game two, Lafayette got on the board first in the on an RBI double by Alex Bechta. A.J. Miller added another RBI double for the Leopards to give them a 2-0 lead in the early stages. The Leopards added two runs in the second and another two in the third. Jumping to the fifth inning, Lafayette put up another run and had a 7-0 advantage on the Mountain Hawks.
Lehigh put itself on the board in the sixth inning. McGaheran led off with a double, which set up a Russell sac-fly to close the gap to 7-1. The Mountain Hawk rally continued in the eighth inning. With two outs and no runners on base, McGaheran and Goldman worked out walks. Russell then delivered an RBI single to cut the lead to 7-2 for Lafayette. Kevin Mihlaik then delivered a crushing two-run double to right centerfield to make the score 7-4 in favor of the Leopards. The Mountain Hawk rally would fall short however, as Lafayette took the second game.
Lehigh will be back in action on Sunday beginning at noon for a doubleheader with the Leopards in Easton.