BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team (6-16-1) salvaged the final game of the four-game set against Binghamton (6-8) on Sunday, winning game two 5-4 in 10 innings after dropping game one 10-4. Freshman Conor Faust – who finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs - delivered the game-winning, two-out RBI single after the Mountain Hawks were unable to hold a one-run ninth inning lead.
Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, sophomore Tyler Brong lined a one-out double down the left field line. He advanced to third on a groundout by junior Casey Turner. Faust then grounded a ball to the third baseman who was unable to come up with it cleanly, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Binghamton then took advantage of a Lehigh two-base error by the left fielder. The Bearcats then singled putting runners on first and third and Binghamton drove in the run with a SAC fly. Freshman catcher Justin Pacchioli then came up with a big throw to catch the runner at first stealing second to end the inning.
Lehigh was unable to get anything going in the bottom of the ninth while in the top of the 10th, Binghamton had runners on first and third with two outs. Junior Brandon Sady got out of the jam however with a strike out.
In the bottom half of the inning, Pacchioli led off with a single. After a foul out on the SAC bunt attempt, Brong reached on a fielder’s choice. Brong then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Junior Thomas O’Malley fouled off several pitches before finally earning a walk to pass the torch to Faust who singled down the leftfield to give Lehigh the win.
Sady earned the win in relief, throwing the final 2.0 IP, allowing no earned runs and two hits.
“I was really proud of our resiliency after a couple tough losses,” said head coach Sean Leary. “Our guys were trying so hard to get a win. I thought Sady was clutch and Pacchioli throwing that runner out gave us a chance. We stayed in the moment and O’Malley had a great at-bat to set up Faust. It’s definitely a positive and nice to finish on a high note.”
Binghamton got out to a 2-0 lead in the game, scoring a run in the second and a run in the third off of starter freshman Jordan Smith, who went 5.1 IP allowing three runs and striking out three. Lehigh then came back to tie the game in the fourth with a pair of runs on two-out RBI hits from Faust and senior Cory Kent.
The Bearcats retook the lead in the top of the fifth on a two-out RBI double, but the Mountain Hawks came right back to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning. Sophomore Brandon Wilt led off the inning with a walk. Senior Brendan McGaheran grounded back to the pitcher as Wilt advanced to second. He then stole third and scored on a Pacchioli RBI single.
The two teams stayed tied at 3-3 over the next 2.5 innings until Lehigh pulled ahead in the eighth.
Alex Adami (0-1) took the loss for Binghamton as Lehigh’s relief pitchers of freshman Nick Macaione, sophomore Joey McNamara and Sady combined to allow two hits and one run over the final 4.2 innings.
Along with Faust’s two hits, Pacchioli and Abeln also finished with a pair of base knocks.
In game one, Lehigh came out on fire building a 4-0 lead after the first two innings. After Lehigh put runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the first, Brong came up with the clutch two-run single. Brong was then erased trying to steal second. The Mountain Hawks put together a two-out rally, loading the bases, but were unable to add on more runs.
In the bottom of the second, Lehigh again had runners on second and third with one out. This time it was Abeln who delivered the two-run single.
In the top of the fourth, things started to fall apart for Lehigh. After a pair of singles, Binghamton got on the board with an error. The Bearcats delivered back-to-back RBI singles and a SAC fly to even the game 4-4. With two outs and runners on second and third, the Mountain Hawks were unable to get out of the jam, as Binghamton came out with the two-run single to take a 6-4 lead.
Binghamton then tacked on three in the fifth and one in the sixth as Lehigh dropped the first game of the day.
Despite only scoring four runs, Lehigh did manage 10 hits in the game from eight different players. McGaheran finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Turner was 2-for-3.
Nick Cassell took the loss (1-4) while Jake Lambert (1-3) earned the victory. Zach Blanden led Binghamton with a 3-for-4 game with three RBIs.
Lehigh dropped the first three games of the series before taking the last one and will look to ride that momentum when the Mountain Hawks take the field on Goodman Campus Tuesday at 3 p.m. Lehigh will host Delaware as part of the Liberty Bell Classic.