WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Lehigh baseball team (10-23-1, 2-6 PL) dropped a couple of tough games at Army (23-8, 8-0 PL) Sunday, falling 11-6 in game one and 17-8 in game two. The Mountain Hawks combined for 24 hits, led by senior Brendan McGaheran’s 5-for-8 day with three RBIs. Sophomore Joe Abeln and senior Joe Conaway each had three hits including two-run homers.
"You can’t find a negative when guys are swinging the bat tough," said head coach Sean Leary. "Brendan McGaheran had a great afternoon, playing tough for 16 innings and making plays defensively and spraying the ball around the field. There are some pluses as we build into the following week. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t compete as well as we could have today."
In game one, Lehigh loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the second after junior Casey Turner reached on a fielder’s choice, freshman John Elson singled and senior Chad Warga earned a walk. But Lehigh was unable to take advantage.
In the bottom half of the inning, Army scored a run to take a 1-0 lead. After a single, stolen base and single to put runners on first and third, sophomore Nick Cassell used a first-and-third pickoff move as the runner on first as caught stealing but stayed in a rundown long enough to allow the runner from third to score.
In the top of the third, Lehigh scored four runs on five hits to take a 4-1 lead. The Mountain Hawks loaded the bases with nobody out after McGaheran and senior Ryan Gajdos hit consecutive singles. Abeln then reached on a fielder’s choice as Army was unable to throw out the lead runner a third. Senior Joe Conaway hit a RBI SAC fly to right field while Gajdos advanced to third on the play. Turner then hit a RBI single to right field for the second run of the inning. With freshman Conor Faust batting, Turner was called out at first on interference. But the Mountain Hawks kept the rally going with two outs as Faust hit a RBI single and Elson followed him up with a RBI triple.
In the bottom half of the inning, Army responded with five runs on five hits as Lehigh trailed 6-4 after three innings. The big blow in the inning was a two-run double. Army had the bases loaded with two outs in the inning, but the Mountain Hawks were able to get out of the jam to prevent further damage.
In the top of the fourth, junior Thomas O’Malley led off with a single and McGaheran followed that up with a two-run home run to left field to tie the game 6-6. It was McGaheran’s team-leading third home run of the season.
In the bottom of the inning, Army retook the lead with three unearned runs, all coming with two outs. The Black Knights then tacked on two insurance runs in the fifth as Lehigh was unable to get anything going, falling 11-6.
Junior Brandon Sady suffered the loss (1-1), throwing 1.1 relief innings and allowing three runs – all unearned. Cassell started for Lehigh, pitching 2.1 innings and allowing five runs on six hits.
Lehigh outhit Army 13-11, with three hits coming from Elson. Nine different Mountain Hawks had a hit with McGaheran and Turner each had a pair of hits.
Logan Lee (3-1) earned the win for the Black Knights, pitching 4.1 innings while allowing six runs on 11 hits. Army’s defense helped out its staff turning double plays in four of seven innings. Army was led offensively by Alex Jensen who was 3-for-4 with four RBIs while Kevin McKague was 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
In game two, Lehigh fell behind 4-0 early as Army scored four runs in the second inning, with three runs coming off the bat of McKague who lined a three-run double to centerfield.
Army tacked on six runs in the bottom of the fourth on just three hits. The Black Knights scored two runs on consecutive bases-loaded walks and a run on a wild pitch to go along with a two-RBI single and RBI single.
The Black Knights added three runs in the fifth, scoring on a SAC fly and then on a pair of unearned runs after a couple of Lehigh errors.
Lehigh finally got on the board with three runs in the top of the sixth. McGaheran led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a RBI SAC fly by Gajdos. Abeln then doubled and Conaway blasted a two-run home run to left field, his second of the season and the series.
Army responded in the bottom half of the inning with a four two-out runs including three unearned.
The Mountain Hawks showed no quit, scoring four runs in the seventh with two outs on a RBI double by McGaheran and a RBI single by Gajdos before Abeln connected on a two-run home run to left field.
Lehigh came back in the following inning to load the bases with one out as freshman Tim McKay drove in a run on a SAC fly for his first collegiate RBI.
Lehigh scored in four straight innings after trailing 13-0 but fell 17-8.
Freshman Jordan Smith fell to 2-3 as he lasted 1.2 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and a couple of walks which came back to hurt him.
Lehigh had 11 hits, nine of which came from McGaheran, Gajdos, Abeln and Conaway. McGaheran was 3-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored while Gajdos, Abeln and Conaway each had two hits and two RBIs.
Army starter Alex Robinett earned the win (2-1), pitching 7.0 innings and allowing seven runs on nine hits and striking out six. McKague continued to hurt the Mountain Hawks as he finished 4-for-5 with three RBIs while Zach Price and Dan Cortes each had three hits.
Lehigh will look to rebound with three midweek games as the Mountain Hawks host Scranton Tuesday with a 3:45 start before traveling to face UMES for a doubleheader Wednesday.
Army and Lehigh have now met 107 times since the series began in 1893 as the Mountain Hawks are now 35-72 all-time vs. the Black Knights. Lehigh took three out of four games during last year’s regular-season series at Goodman Campus.