Lehigh drops home opener against Temple, 11-8
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team came back to take an eighth-inning lead, but couldn’t hold on in an 11-8 loss to Temple in its home opener Wednesday on Goodman Campus. The Mountain Hawks drop to 10-7 on the season and the Owls improve to 7-9.
“We didn’t execute well on defense today and we gave them a few too many opportunities,” Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said. “We’re always fighting until the end of the game, but we just have to sharpen some things up before we get into Patriot League play.”
Junior Tyler Brong hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first to put Lehigh on the scoreboard early, but Temple scored five runs in the next two innings to take a 5-2 lead. The Owls’ offensive eruption began with a sacrifice fly from Allen Stiles in the second before Bobby Heitzman came home on a passed ball. Mike D’Acunti capped off the scoring spree with a home run off junior starter Mike Burke in the fourth inning to put Temple up by four.
The tables began to turn in Lehigh’s favor in the fifth inning when junior Joe Abeln and sophomore John Elson hit back-to-back RBI singles. D’Acunti came around to score for Temple following an error and an RBI groundout by Henry Knabe in the sixth, however. Knabe's error on an Elson ground ball in the seventh scored Brong and senior Casey Turner and put the Mountain Hawks within one. Sophomore Connor Faust drove in Abeln on a sacrifice RBI groundout to tie the score heading into the eighth inning.
Freshman Mike Garzillo took advantage of multiple Temple miscues after reaching on a single in the eighth inning. After stealing second, he came around to score on errors from second baseman Jordan Queja and right fielder Heitzman. Sophomore Nick Stephens came in to pitch the ninth inning, giving up an RBI double to Heitzman to go along with a pair of defensive errors that put Temple up for good. Lehigh got a leadoff single from Brong in its last round of at-bats, but Faust struck out swinging for the final out.
Connor Staskey picked up the win for the Owls in relief, while Stephens took the loss. Ryan Kuehn earned his first save of the year and has yet to allow an earned run in six appearances this season.
Brong finished 2-for-2 at the plate and scored a pair of runs, while Elson registered two RBI. Derek Peterson led the Owls offense, going 4-for-5 and scoring three runs. Heitzman and David Hall had three RBI apiece.
The Mountain Hawks will host LIU Brooklyn for a single game at 3 p.m. Friday before playing a road doubleheader against the Blackbirds beginning at noon Saturday.
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