BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team (6-16-1) will look to ride the momentum from its extra-inning walk-off victory Sunday when the Mountain Hawks host Delaware (10-14, 4-5 CAA) Tuesday at 3 p.m. in the first game of the Liberty Bell Classic. Lehigh has had great success in the Classic, appearing in five finals with its lone Championship coming in 2004. Lehigh is guaranteed two games in the Classic while the Championship Game is held at Citizens Bank Park.
With a win Tuesday, head coach Sean Leary will tie the all-time school wins mark of 326, which is currently held by Stan Schultz.
Lehigh is coming off a thrilling 5-4, 10-inning victory Sunday in the final game of a four-game series vs. Binghamton on Goodman Campus over the weekend. The Mountain Hawks dropped the first three games before freshman Conor Faust delivered a game-winning, two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th after Lehigh was unable to hold onto a one-run ninth-inning lead.
Faust finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs while freshman Justin Pacchioli and sophomore Joe Abeln also both had a pair of hits. Junior Brandon Sady earned the win pitching two clutch relief innings while he along with reliever’s freshman Nick Macaione and sophomore Joey McNamara combined to allow two hits and one run over the final 4.2 innings.
The Mountain Hawks are paced by Abeln who leads the team hitting .321 and has driven in a team-high 13 RBIs. McGaheran leads the team with 25 hits as the he is enters Tuesday’s game with an 11-game hit streak, eight of which have been multi-hit games featuring a 4-for-5 performance vs. Iona on March 18.
While Lehigh hopes to ride its hot bats, the Mountain Hawks will be facing a Delaware team that has struggled offensively. The Blue Hens are last in the CAA with a .247 batting average, .319 slugging percentage, .335 on-base percentage and 82 runs scored.
Delaware is paced offensively by Tyler Powell who leads the team with a .339 batting average while Nick Ferdinand is second hitting .321. Ferdinand also leads the team with two home runs and 13 RBIs.
On the mound, the Blue Hens are powered by Corey Crispell who is 3-1 with a 1.79 ERA. In 40.1 IP, he has allowed just eight earned runs with 26 strikeouts and six walks.
Tuesday will mark the 77th time the school as met as Lehigh is 20-56 all-time against Delaware. The two most recently met last season in the semifinals of the Liberty Bell Classic when the Mountain Hawks dropped a 5-0 decision on Goodman Campus.
The Mountain Hawks will travel to face the winner or loser of Saint Joseph’s-Temple on Tuesday, April 3 at 3 p.m. On the other side of the bracket, LaSalle will face Lafayette and Villanova will take on Penn with the winners facing off in the semifinals.
Tuesday will also be the ninth game in Lehigh’s last 10 in which it has played at home.