Posted: 02/24/2013 | Last updated: February 24, 2013 at 03:25 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. – Junior Mike Burke and sophomore Nick Stephens combined on a two-hitter as the Lehigh baseball team picked up its first win of the season Sunday, 4-1 over UNC-Wilmington in the first game of a doubleheader at Brooks Field. The Mountain Hawks had to settle for a split however, as the Seahawks took the nightcap 6-1 to take two-of-three games from Lehigh in its season-opening series.
After Saturday’s game was rained out, Lehigh capitalized on a UNCW defensive miscue to plate four runs in the top of the first inning of game one. The Mountain Hawks loaded the bases with one out on three consecutive singles by sophomore John Elson, senior Casey Turner and junior Tyler Brong. UNC-Wilmington starter Jordan Ramsey struck out junior Joe Abeln for the second out. Sophomore Connor Faust followed by hitting a fly ball to left field that was dropped by left fielder Luke Dunlap, allowing three runs to score, while Faust advanced to third. Faust then scored on a passed ball to put the Mountain Hawks up 4-0 after half an inning of play.
The Seahawks answered with a run on two hits off Burke in the bottom of the first, as Tyler Molinaro singled home Michael Bass with two outs for what would be the only UNCW offense of game one.
Burke pitched 5.1 innings in just his sixth career start allowing just two walks after the first inning, while striking out three on the afternoon. Stephens came on in relief with one on and one out in the sixth and needed just two pitches to retire the side. With game one scheduled for seven innings, Stephens pitched around a one out walk in the seventh to close out the game and record his first career save.
Lehigh finished with seven hits in the opener, with sophomore Justin Pacchioli leading the way with two.
In game two, UNCW broke open a 2-1 game with four runs in the bottom of the eighth as the Seahawks benefitted from five Mountain Hawk errors.
Bass led off the bottom of the first with a single to right center for the Seahawks and moved to second on a throwing error by Lehigh junior starter Nick Cassell. Steven Linkous followed with a single to shortstop which scored Bass to put UNCW up 1-0 after an inning of play.
Lehigh answered in the top of the second as Brong led off with a single to left, moved to second on a ground out and then scored on a RBI single to right by Faust.
The Seahawks (4-4) took the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Andy Austin.
The Mountain Hawks put the tying run in scoring position in the eighth inning after a two out double by freshman Mike Garzillo, but Kelly Secrest came on in relief to strike out Pacchioli to end the threat.
UNC-Wilmington added to its lead with four runs in the bottom of the eighth on a pair of pinch hit two-run home runs, the first by Corey Dick and the second by Christian Wolfe.
Christian McDonald earned the win on the mound for the Seahawks, allowing a run on four hits in 7.2 innings, striking out six and walking one. Secrest recorded the final four outs to earn the save.
Cassell was saddled with the loss for Lehigh allowing two unearned runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. Four relievers allowed four runs on four hits over the final 2.2 innings.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Maryland-Eastern Shore for a doubleheader, with first pitch for game one set for noon from Princess Anne, Md.