Posted: April 9, 2006
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Holy Cross spoiled Lehigh’s home Patriot League debut, as the Crusaders took a pair of games from the hosts at the baseball field on Goodman Campus. In one of the more tightly-contested games in quite some time, the Crusaders out-lasted Lehigh 3-2 in 13 innings in the second game. Earlier, Holy Cross earned a 7-2 seven-inning win in the first game.
Following the pair of games, the Mountain Hawks are now 13-19 overall and 3-3 in league play. Holy Cross stands at 11-11-1 on the season, and 2-4 in the league.
After rolling to a 7-2 win in the opener, the visitors wasted little time jumping out in front in game two. Left fielder Jamie Aldrich walked, stole a base, and later scored on a wild pitch to give Holy Cross a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Lehigh managed to tie the game in the third, when an Andrew Smith groundout plated Joe Ercolano to knot the score at 1-1.
Meanwhile, the two starting pitchers were locked in quite a battle on the hill. Holy Cross’ Mike Miller scattered three hits over five innings, and Lehigh’s Jed Davitt allowed only one earned run in six and a third innings.
Holy Cross forged ahead in the top of the seventh when shortstop Andrew Sweeney singled home pinch hitter Steve Soldi, who had reached on an error, to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead.
However, this was a nine-inning game, and Lehigh made the most of its extra at-bats. Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth, designated hitter Mark Bernhard drew a leadoff walk, and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Mike Sandonato. Pinch hitter Jeff Benfield then ripped a single to right field, tying the score.
The game remained tied at 2-2, until the Crusaders broke through with the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 13th. Lehigh freshman Geoff Campbell was terrific in relief, allowing just that one run in 6.2 innings. Campbell was saddled with the tough-luck loss, dropping to 0-2 on the season.
In 13 innings, the teams combined for just five runs and 13 hits. Holy Cross left ten runners on base, and Lehigh stranded eleven. Also noteworthy in the game was a terrific defensive play by Lehigh in the top of the sixth. With the score tied at 1-1, designated hitter Kyle Lister smacked a single to center field. Tucker Frawley tried to score from second on the play, but he was gunned down thanks to a perfect throw from Ercolano and a nice job of blocking the plate by Matt McBride.
In the day’s first game, Holy Cross picked up five unearned runs in the top of the first off Lehigh starter Kyle Collina in a 7-2 win. Collina (4-4) pitched a complete game for the Mountain Hawks.
Lehigh and Holy Cross will meet for another Patriot League doubleheader at noon Monday at the baseball field on Goodman Campus. Both games will be broadcast live on the Lehigh web site at Lehighsports.com, with streaming provided by Yahoo! Sports. Jeff Tourial and Steve Lomangino will call the action.