BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team (3-10-1) will look to keep its hot bats going this weekend when the Mountain Hawks return to Goodman Campus for their home opener. Lehigh will host Iona (3-11) for a four-game set with double headers slated for noon and 2:30 on Saturday and Sunday. The Mountain Hawks are coming off back-to-back games in which they scored 10+ runs, the first time Lehigh has done that since April 22, 2009.
Lehigh is coming off a wild game in which the Mountain Hawks and Delaware State were forced to end tied 11-11 after 11 innings due to darkness. The teams combined for 33 hits, 20 coming from the Mountain Hawks. All nine Lehigh starters had a hit while seven had at least two. Sophomore Tyler Brong was 4-for-6 with two RBIs and three runs scored to lead the way for Lehigh. Sophomore Joe Abeln was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, junior Casey Turner was 3-for-7 with two runs scored and one RBI and sophomore Brandon Wilt was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
The Mountain Hawks have been led at the plate this season by Brong who has a team-leading .381 batting average and 16 hits. He is also tied with Abeln and senior Chad Warga for the team lead in RBIs with six. Abeln is second on the team hitting .357.
On the mound, it’s been senior right-hander Cory Kent who has paced Lehigh with four appearances including one start. He has a 1.69 ERA, allowing just two runs in 10.2 innings with a team-leading 15 strikeouts.
Lehigh will be taking on an Iona team that has struggled as of late, dropping seven of its last eight games, but features a dangerous offense led by senior infielder Chris Burke who was named the MAAC preseason Player of the Year by the conference and CollegeSportsMadness.com. Along with Burke, senior first baseman Mike Chiaravalloti was selected to the Preseason All-MAAC Team.
The duo is leading Iona in hitting thus far this season as Chiaravalloti has a team-leading .375 batting average and Burke is right behind him, hitting .340. Burke leads the team with 17 hits, three home runs and 10 runs scored. He is also second on the team with nine RBIs while senior first baseman/catcher James Beck leads the team with 15 RBIs.
On the mound, freshman leftt-hander John Nargoski is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA in 19.1 IP and 10 strikeouts. freshman right-hander John Daddino leads the team with 12 strikeouts in 8.0 IP. Lehigh will also be facing sophomore left-hander Eddie Macaluso who is 0-3 in four starts with a 4.95 ERA.
This weekend will mark the second all-time series between the schools. Lehigh and Iona first met last year, splitting a four-game series on Goodman Campus on March 18-20. Lehigh took the first two games (5-4, 6-3) before dropping the next two (7-5, 11-9).
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After this weekend, the Mountain Hawks will have a midweek game Tuesday at Saint Joseph’s before returning home to host Binghamton for a four-game set on March 24-25.