Posted: April 4, 2005
Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh and Army fought to earn a doubleheader split in the two team’s Patriot League opener on Monday afternoon at Lehigh’s Goodman Field. The Mountain Hawks used a complete game effort on the hill from ace Jack Muscalus to take the opener by a 2-1 score. In the nightcap, Army rallied from a 2-0 deficit late to top Lehigh 7-2 in ten innings.
Following the day’s play, Lehigh stands at 11-10-1 on the season. The Black Knights are now 12-7. Both teams are 1-1 in league play.
In the opener, both teams threw their top starter, so it was no surprise that the contest was a pitcher’s duel. Both hurlers pitched a complete game. Army’s Nick Hill (4-1) walked five, but surrendered just two runs. Lehigh’s Muscalus was just a bit better. Muscalus (3-1) struck out seven, walking only one, in the complete game victory.
After the Black Knights built a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Lehigh answered right back with a pair in the bottom of the frame. Second baseman Steve Salemme singled home Matt Geiger to tie the score at 1. Later in the inning, center fielder Joe Ercolano drew a walk with the bases full to put the Mountain Hawks on top.
Salemme and right fielder Nick Bet were each 2-for-3 at the plate in the win.
In the second contest, Lehigh again got brilliant starting pitching. This time, however, the Black Knights used some late offense to rally for the afternoon split.
Lehigh freshman pitcher Joe Matteo was brilliant over the first seven innings. He scattered three hits and allowed just one run, while striking out a career-high eleven. When Matteo’s afternoon came to a close after the top of the seventh, Lehigh held a 2-1 advantage.
The second game of all Patriot League twinbills are slated for nine innings, and the visitors took advantage of the extra at-bats to tie the score in the top of the eighth.
Still deadlocked heading to extra innings, Army took advantage of three Lehigh errors to send ten batters to the plate and put five runs on the board. The Black Knights then set down Lehigh in order in the bottom of the tenth to earn a 7-2 win.
Army’s Wade Greenlee (1-1) pitched two innings out of the bullpen to record the win. Lehigh’s John Zaszewski, who started the game at third base, pitched two and a third innings and was saddled for the loss. Zaszewski is now 1-1 on the season.
“We got great starting pitching today,” said Lehigh head coach Sean Leary after game two. “We should have put some more runs on the board late [in game two] when we had the chance.
“Tomorrow will come down to whoever’s [starting pitching] give them the best effort,” Leary predicted.
Lehigh and Army – picked to finish second and first, respectively in the preseason poll – square off in another Patriot League doubleheader on Tuesday. First pitch of game one is set for 1:00 pm from Lehigh’s Goodman Field.