BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team (23-18, 7-9) suffered a difficult two-game sweep to the Bucknell Bison on Sunday afternoon. Bucknell takes three of four games against the Mountain Hawks this weekend and sits in a tie with Lehigh in the Patriot League Standings. Bucknell took the first game 15-5, followed by a 9-5 game two victory.
In game one, Bucknell had a big seven-run third inning and four-run seventh inning to help it build a substantial lead. Drew Constable and Doug Shribman each had four hits for Bucknell in the game. Kevin Mihalik had two hits for the Mountain Hawks and Brendan McGaheran drove in two runs.
In the first inning, four of Bucknell’s five batters reached base. Drew Constable led off the game with a double over left fielder Casey Turner’s head. Bob Donato then followed with a two-run homer over the right centerfield fence to give the Bison a 2-0 lead. Two more Bison runners reached base with an out, but Lehigh starter Brandon Sady escaped the jam to hold Bucknell to two runs.
The third inning was rough for the Mountain Hawks. Bucknell stringed together seven runs on five hits in the inning. The Bison went through 13 batters in the inning. In the bottom half, Lehigh tacked on one run as Chad Warga scored on a wild pitch, but Bucknell had a 9-1 lead.
In the fourth inning, Kevin Mihalik led off the inning with a base hit and Turner followed with an RBI double. Warga was hit by a pitch and Brendan Pifer worked a walk to set up a bases loaded chance for Lehigh to do damage. McGaheran was patient at the plate, facing a 1-2 count and squeezed out a walk to make the score 9-3 in favor of the Bison. In the top of the fifth, Doug Shribman homered for Bucknell to put the Bison up 11-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lehigh earned two doubles from Warga and Pifer. Warga scored on Pifer’s double, and then Pifer would score on a sac-fly by McGaheran. Bucknell led 11-5. However, Bucknell hit two more homeruns in the seventh and took a 15-5 lead and earning the Bison a game one victory.
In game two, Andy Russell led the way for the Mountain Hawks with four hits and two RBI. Casey Turner hit a homerun for Lehigh as well. The Bison managed two big homeruns in the game.
In the top of the first, Constable hit his second homerun of the day on a leadoff shot that just sneaked over the right field fence. Bucknell strung together three more singles in the inning and accounted for two more runs. The Bison took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the first. Lehigh responded in the first when Andy Russell drove in Brendan McGaheran to make the score 3-1.
The home run derby continued in the second inning, as Turner sent one over the right field fence for Lehigh to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Bison. Lehigh then tied the game up in the bottom of the third inning. Pifer led off the inning with a single, followed by a McGaheran single. Both runners reached second and third on a passed ball. Pifer then scored on an infield single by Russell, making the score 3-3. The Mountain Hawks took a 4-3 lead on an RBI double by Turner.
In the top of the fifth, Donato reached with a walk and Shribman hit another homerun, this one being a two-run shot off Cory Kent to make the score 5-4 in favor of Bucknell. The Bison then strung together three hits and four runs in the eighth inning to increase their lead to 9-4.
Lehigh loaded the bases with no outs on singles from Goldman, Russell and Mihalik. Bucknell brought in reliever Steve Carlin to face the jam. Turner grounded into a double play but a run scored on the play, making the count 9-5 Bucknell. Carlin successfully escaped the jam when he forced Joe Ablen to pop out to the third baseman. Bucknell added two more runs on an RBI double to make the score 11-5 in the top of the ninth.
Lehigh will next be in action on Wednesday as it takes on Coppin State before having its final Patriot League series at Holy Cross next weekend.