Posted: April 29, 2006
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Lehigh clinched a spot in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament, and kept its regular season championship hopes alive with a doubleheader split against Army Saturday at Doubleday Field. The Mountain Hawks suffered an 8-1 loss in game one, but came back to build a 6-1 lead before holding on for a 6-5 win in a thrilling game two. With the split Lehigh is now 24-24 on the season, 12-6 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks are tied atop the league with Bucknell heading into the final day of the regular season on Sunday.
The Mountain Hawks loaded the bases in the top of the first inning in game one, but could only push across one run, as Nick Bet delivered a sacrifice fly to score Matt Geiger.
Army would claw its way back against Lehigh starter Kyle Collina. With two outs in the third, the Black Knights scored three runs, including two on a double by Chris Simmons. In the fifth inning, Simmons delivered another RBI hit, which chased Collina from the game. Lehigh’s number one starter allowed four earned runs on four hits in four and two-thirds innings of work. Collina walked four batters and struck out eight, as his record falls to 5-5.
With Black Knights’ starter Nick Hill keeping the Lehigh bats in check, Army added four runs in the bottom of the sixth, once again with two outs, with centerfielder Andrew Ernesto delivering a bases clearing double.
Offensively, Lehigh could only muster three hits off of Hill (5-4); a double by Mike Sandonato and singles by Matt McBride and Liam O’Connor.
The first inning was good to Lehigh in game two as well. With one out, Geiger was hit by a pitch. The Mountain Hawks then delivered three consecutive extra base hits: an RBI double by McBride, a triple to right center by Andrew Smith, and another RBI double from Bet to give the Brown and White a 3-0 lead.
The Black Knights put a run on the board in the bottom of the second with a sacrifice fly. Lehigh got a fourth run in the fourth inning, loading the bases before Andrew Smith drew a two-out walk to score Liam O’Connor.
The Mountain Hawks appeared to put the game out of reach in the eighth inning, with a two-run single by Geiger, but Army mounted a furious rally in the home half of the ninth.
Freshman Leland Weisband allowed an infield single, sandwiched around two quick outs in the ninth inning. After a second infield hit, Simmons singled for his fourth RBI of the day to make it 6-2. Army was down to its final strike, but Milan Dinga drilled a three-run homer to left field to make it a one run game. Lehigh head coach Sean Leary went to the bullpen and freshman Geoff Campbell retired Jeremy Stache on a fly ball to centerfield, thanks in part to a brilliant diving grab by Lehigh sophomore Joe Ercolano to end the game.
Weisband pitched 4.2 mostly solid innings in relief of starter Jed Davitt, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out three to notch his second win (2-0). Campbell was credited with his fourth save.
Army falls to 25-8-1, 9-9 in league games. The Black Knights are a game behind Lafayette, who swept a pair at Holy Cross for the third and final spot in the Patriot League Tournament. Bucknell and Lehigh are tied atop the standings at 12-6, but the Mountain Hawks hold the tiebreaker, by way of their winning three of four against the Bison in Lewisburg earlier this season.
Lehigh and Army will wrap up the Patriot League regular season with another doubleheader on Sunday from Doubleday Field. First pitch for game one is set for 1:00 pm. Both games will be broadcast online at lehighsports.com beginning at 12:45. Streaming for Lehigh athletics broadcasts is powered by Yahoo! Sports.