Posted: April 11, 2004
Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh and Holy Cross split a Patriot League doubleheader on a cold, raw, and damp Sunday afternoon at Goodman Field. The Crusaders trounced the home team 11-3 in the opener, but Lehigh rallied from three different deficits to take game two by a 5-3 score. With the split, Lehigh now stands at 18-15 overall, and the Crusaders are 6-16-1. Both teams are now 4-8 against Patriot League competition with two league series (eight total games) remaining.
In the opening contest, Holy Cross needed just one big frame to put the game out of reach, thanks to some timely pitching. Already leading 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning, the Crusaders scored eight unearned runs off Lehigh starter Joel Hockman (2-2) to blow the game open. A Hockman throwing error on a routine ground ball prolonged the inning and helped open the floodgates. Before it was over, the Crusaders had scored eight times on five hits – all coming with two outs in the inning.
Meanwhile, Lehigh had all kinds of trouble figuring out Holy Cross starter Jason Lynch. Lynch (1-3) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Lehigh finally figured him out. The right hander allowed an infield hit from Steve Salemme to start the frame. After a Jeff Baker single through the left side, designated hitter Eric Hoffman walloped his fifth homer of the season – a three-run shot to left – to get the Mountain Hawks on the board.
The Crusaders added a run in the top of the seventh to make the final score 11-3. Lynch hurled a complete game for Holy Cross, striking out four.
In game two, the Mountain Hawks were successfully able to put the tough game one defeat behind them. Holy Cross picked up an early first inning run off Lehigh starter Joe Raniszewski to take a 1-0 lead. A Matt McBride bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning tied to score at 1-1.
The Crusaders added another run in the third, but in the home half, Lehigh again answered. Eric Hoffman led off the inning with a controversial triple to right, as two Holy Cross outfielders collided. Lehigh quickly took advantage of the situation, as third baseman Mike Sandonato laced a fly ball to right that plated Hoffman with the tying run.
Holy Cross got the lead back with a run in the top of the fourth, but for the third time in the game, Lehigh showed its resiliency by answering back with a run of its own. This time, Andrew Smith singled, and after stealing second base, he came around to score on a double from David Moscow.
Still knotted up at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Lehigh finally took its first lead of the afternoon. As the rain began to come down with a little bit more bite, Eric Hoffman came through again, this time, ripping a bases-loaded two run single up the middle to put the Mountain Hawks up 5-3. Hoffman finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two driven in.
Sophomore Kyle Collina came out of the bullpen and pitched the final four innings to notch his first victory of the season. Collina (1-3) allowed only two hits, while striking out three in the game two victory.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Tuesday, when Lehigh visits Penn. First pitch is scheduled for from Philadelphia.