Posted: 03/23/2012 | Last updated: March 23, 2012 at 09:54 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh baseball team will look to keep its hot bats going this weekend when the Mountain Hawks (5-13-1) return to Goodman Campus to host Binghamton (3-7) for four games – two on Saturday starting at noon and two on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. Lehigh is coming off two straight wins while the Mountain Hawks offense has produced 10 or more hits in six of their last seven games.
Lehigh most recently deafeated Saint Joseph’s Tuesday. Trailing 2-1 after five innings, junior Casey Turner drove in a run in the sixth and two in the eighth en route to a 6-3 victory. Turner finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs while sophomore Tyler Brong and senior Brendan McGaheran added two hits each as McGaheran extended his hitting streak to seven games. Freshman Jordan Smith earned the win (2-1) in relief as he, sophomore Joey McNamara and senior Cory Kent combined to allow just five hits.
The Mountain Hawks are led by sophomore Joe Ablen, who is leading the team in batting average (.341), RBIs (10) and on-base percentage (.434). Brong is right behind him, hitting .327 and is also second on the team in hits (18) and total bases (22). McGaheran leads the way in both those categories with 19 and 24, respectively.
McGaheran was named an Honorable Mention this week on the Patriot League Weekly Baseball Awards release as the Nazareth, Pa. native went 13-for-28 over six games last week, recording five multi-hit games. He also had seven runs scored, four RBIs and four stolen bases. He did a majority of his damage in a 4-for-5 performance in a win against Iona in which scored four runs, hit a solo homer, drive in a pair of runs and stole three bases.
Kent, who struck out the final two batters of the game Tuesday to help secure the win, leads Lehigh with a 2.45 ERA. He is second on the team with 18.1 IP and leads the team with 23 strikeouts.
Lehigh, which has played complete baseball the past couple of games, will look to keep that momentum going against a good Binghamton team that has captured four of the last five regular season America East titles.
Binghamton is coming off a 3-1 weekend after taking part in the Big 5 Baseball Bash. The Bearcats defeated Saint Joseph's (7-0), Villanova (13-10), and split games with Temple, winning 13-5 and losing 2-1.
Binghamton returns 17 letterwinners, including three all-conference selections and two more unanimous all-rookie picks. Heading the list are a pair of first-team all-conference picks in senior right-hander Mike Augliera and senior first baseman Dave Ciocchi.
Augliera ranks 21st in the country among active strikeout leaders with 170 and is 1-2 with a 1.29 ERA, allowing three earned runs in 21.0 IP. He has struck out 20 batters while walking just one, ranking fifth in the nation in walks per nine innings (0.43). Opponents are hitting .149 off him. He was recently named the America East Pitcher of the Week after throwing a complete-game three-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts against Saint Joseph's.
Ciocchi, who hit .343 last season, is leading Binghamton this season batting .326 while reigning All-America East Rookie selection John Howell is second hitting .317.
This weekend will mark the 26th meeting between the schools as Lehigh as an 11-13-1 all-time record against Binghamton. The two most recently met in 2010 on Goodman Campus when the team’s split a four-game series. Lehigh won game one 12-9, dropped game two 8-0, won game four 5-0 and fell 11-10 in the series finale.