BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team (11-23-1, 2-6 PL) set season highs in hits (21) and runs in a dominating 17-3 win over Scranton (12-10, 5-4 Landmark) Tuesday on Goodman Campus. Senior Joe Conaway and freshman John Elson each had four hits and five RBIs while sophomore Joe Abeln was 4-for-4 with five runs scored. Freshman Josh Flyer earned the win in relief for his first collegiate victory.
“I thought we had a good approach today and to our player’s credit, they really simplified the game and took a line-drive approach,” said head coach Sean Leary. “We weren’t trying to do too much. I was pleased; we got contributions from a lot of players today.”
Lehigh’s 17 runs surpassed its previous season high of 14 which the Mountain Hawks scored at Coppin State on March 13 while Lehigh’s 21 hits surpassed its previous season high of 20 which the Mountain Hawks had on March 14 at Delaware State.
Nine different Lehigh players produced hits with six having multi-hit games. Conaway finished 4-for-5 with four runs scored and five RBIs and now has 11 RBIs in his past four games. Elson finished 4-for-6 with five RBIs. Abeln was the third player with four hits, three of which were doubles. Freshman Patrick Walshe was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, his first collegiate hits and RBIs while junior Brandon Sady and freshman Tim McKay also had two hits.
On the mound, Flyer pitched a career-high 4.0 shutout relief innings, allowing just two hits while striking out a career-high six.
“Josh has a very live arm and he’s been really working hard on being more consistent with his mechanics,” Leary said. “He really got into a groove and I am pleased with how he settled in. It’s exciting for him and it’s something to build on as we look to maybe get some weekend pitching help.”
Scranton got on the board in the top of the first without the benefit of a hit after the Royals’ leadoff man reached on an error, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball.
In the bottom half of the inning, Lehigh responded with four runs, taking advantage of a pair of Scranton errors. The big blow in the inning came off the bat of Conaway, who laced a two-run double while Sady added a RBI single.
Scranton got two runs back in the top of the second. After a leadoff walk, the runner would advance all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt and would go on to score on a double. The runner on second then scored on an error by the pitcher as Lehigh’s lead was cut to 4-3 after the first 1.5 innings.
In the bottom of the second, Lehigh scored four runs with two outs as Abeln hit a RBI double, Conaway then crushed a RBI triple, junior Casey Turner followed with a RBI double and Elson lined a RBI single.
In the bottom of the third, the Mountain Hawks tacked on two runs. After consecutive two-out singles by senior Ryan Gajdos and Abeln, Conaway drove them both in with a two-run double down the left-field line for his fourth and fifth RBIs of the game.
Lehigh continued to extend its lead, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Walshe lined a RBI to right field for his first collegiate hit and RBI. Elson followed him up with a two-run single through the left side and shortly after, sophomore Brandon Wilt blasted a solo homer, his first of the season.
Elson added a RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the eighth, Lehigh scored a pair of runs in the eighth on Walsh’s second RBI while Elson added another RBI single.
Senior Luke Porter started for the Mountain Hawks and pitched 2.0 innings, allowing three runs, but just one of them were earned. After Flyer came in, freshman Eli Facenda and junior Steven Ball combined to throw the game's final 3.0 innings and didn't allow a hit. Facenda struck out three in 2.0 IP while Ball struck out two in 1.0 IP.
Matthew Calamoneri fell to 0-2 for Scranton, throwing 1.2 innings, allowing eight runs – five earned- on six hits. The Royals finished with three hits, two coming from Michael Amaturo.