BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After its game against Rider was postponed Wednesday, the Lehigh baseball team (5-4) will play eight games in nine days during spring break. The Mountain Hawks’ east coast road trip begins with a three-game series at Coppin State followed by single games against UNC-Greensboro and North Carolina A&T, respectively. A three-game set at Mount St. Mary’s next weekend in Emmitsburg, Md. will wrap up the Mountain Hawks’ trip.
Lehigh is riding a two-game winning streak after victories against Iona and Fordham respectively in the Bronx last weekend. The Mountain Hawks benefited from strong offensive and pitching performances, as two Lehigh players earned Patriot League accolades. Sophomore Justin Pacchioli won his first Patriot League Player of the Week award Monday and continues to lead the team at the plate, hitting .385 (10-for-26). Junior Colin Gotzon also garnered league honors Monday when he was named the Patriot League Pitcher of the Week. He struck out nine batters in as many innings last week.
Juniors Brandon Wilt and John Elson lead the Mountain Hawks in steals. Elson is a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts, while Wilt is an impressive 5-for-7. Junior starter Jayme Edwards is tied for the team lead with a pair of wins, and sophomore Nick Stephens is holding opponents to a .152 batting average in nine innings of relief duty this season.
The Eagles are 3-8 on the season but are coming off back-to-back wins versus New York Tech. Alex Brown is Coppin State’s top hitter, going 12-for-36 at the plate for a .333 batting average to go along with a team-high .415 OBP. Shane Davies has the lowest ERA on the Eagles’ pitching staff with a mark of 1.69 in five appearances, but starter Darryl Martinez has struggled with his control. Despite picking up 11 strikeouts, Martinez has surrendered 27 hits in 15.2 innings pitched during the regular season.
The Mountain Hawks have earned victories in their last five games against the Coppin State, outscoring the Eagles by a combined margin of 40-10. Coppin State’s only win against Lehigh was a 6-5 nail biter back in 2010 at Ripken Complex in Aberdeen, Md.
Lehigh will take on UNCG and NC A&T for the first time in program history. Both games will take place at UNCG Baseball Stadium in North Carolina on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The UNCG Spartans have blasted nine home runs this season and, at 6-4 overall, have won two of their last three games. Trevor Edwards has gone deep twice and has a team-best 12 RBI. Dylan Hathcock is 2-1 on the mound for the team this season and has fanned 13 batters. UNCG will face Marist over the weekend before hosting Lehigh Tuesday.
Occasional power hasn’t provided enough momentum for NC A&T this season, as the Aggies (4-7) are trying to rebound from a 10-0 loss that ended a series at NC Central. Luke Tendler leads the Aggies in batting average (.370), RBI (12) and steals (6). Josh Ganus, posting a 2-0 record with 12 strikeouts, is the bright spot for a pitching staff that has allowed 88 runs this season. The Aggies’ pitchers will try to turn their luck around when the team hosts Binghamton over the weekend before Lehigh comes to town Wednesday.
Trying to stop a three game losing skid, the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers will look to defeat the Brown and White for the third time in as many meetings. The previous matchups between the teams have been closely contested affairs, as Lehigh fell 5-3 in Palm Beach, Fla. in 2009 but enjoyed a 7-6 victory that lasted 11 innings in 1989. Mount St. Mary’s stands at 3-7 overall and will be looking to snap a three-game losing skid this time around. Sam Nott has belted five home runs and driven in 16 runs. Jay Knight stole a base in each of the Mountaineers’ first eight games and now has 11 on the season. From a pitching standpoint, Chris Campbell and Thomas Willams have shared the load of innings. Campbell has six strikeouts in 10 innings but Williams has struggled mightily, surrendering 11 earned runs in 11.2 innings pitched.
The Mountain Hawks will face Coppin State in a single game at 1 p.m. tomorrow and play the Eagles in a doubleheader Sunday beginning at noon.
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