WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Lehigh baseball team (10-21-1, 2-4 PL) dropped a pair of games at Army (21-8, 6-0 PL) Saturday, falling 1-0 in game one before losing an 8-4 decision in game two. Senior Cory Kent pitched his fourth seventh-inning complete game of the season in game one while senior Joe Conaway powered the offense in game two with a three-run home run, his first of the season.
“Cory was outstanding today,” Leary said. “He gave us a tremendous effort and it was simply a hard-luck loss today. We gave a great effort today in both games and we’ll regroup and play hard tomorrow.”
Game one was a pitcher’s duel as both starting pitchers went the distance. Kent (1-3) threw 6.0 innings and allowed one run on four hits, allowing his first hit with two outs in the fourth inning. Sophomore Joe Abeln, junior Casey Turner and junior Brandon Sady each had one hit for Lehigh.
Army threatened in the bottom of the first with a runner on third but Kent got out of the jam with a strikeout and ground out. In the top of the fourth, Turner lined a two-out single to left field and then stole second but Lehigh was unable to continue the two-out rally.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Black Knights put runners on the corners with one out after consecutive singles. Army took advantage on a SAC fly to take a 1-0 lead. Lehigh brought the 4-5-6 hitters up to the plate in the seventh but were unable to get anything going.
Chris Rowley (7-0) earned the win for Army, throwing seven innings and striking out seven. Mark McCants had the game-winning RBI for the Black Knights.
In game two, Lehigh jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. With two outs, senior Brendan McGaheran singled and senior Ryan Gajdos bunted for a single to put runners on first and second. Abeln then drove in McGaheran with a single for his team-leading 19th RBI.
Army responded in the bottom of the fourth with three runs, the big blow a two-run triple. The Black Knight tacked on a run in the fifth and two in the seventh to take a 6-1 lead after seven.
The Mountain Hawks cut into the deficit to 6-4 in the top of the eighth. Gajdos and Abeln connected on consecutive singles before Conaway blasted a three-run homer to right center, his first of the season.
Army scored two insurance runs in the eighth while Lehigh went down in order in the ninth as the Mountain Hawks fell 8-4.
Sophomore Nick Stephens fell to 1-4, throwing 6.1 innings and allowed six runs on 10 hits while striking out six. Lehigh had eight hits in the game, all coming from the top five in the Mountain Hawks’ lineup, led by Abeln who was 3-for-4 while Gajdos was 2-for-4.
“Nick threw the ball very well,” said Leary. “We just didn’t string hits together and came up short on the scoreboard.”
Nick Dignacco earned the win (3-2), pitching 8.0 innings and allowing four runs on eight hits and striking out four. Army had four players with multi-hit games, led by three hits from Cody Murtle and Andew Johnson.
Army and Lehigh have now met 105 times since the series began in 1893 as the Mountain Hawks are now 35-70 all-time vs. the Black Knights. Lehigh took three out of four games during last year’s regular-season series at Goodman Campus.
Lehigh will look to rebound tomorrow with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Live stats and live video will be available via goarmysports.com while live audio will be available for both games on Lehighsports.com.