Posted: 04/28/2012 | Last updated: April 28, 2012 at 07:55 PM
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Lehigh baseball team (18-29-1, 6-12 PL) kept its postseason hopes alive Saturday by sweeping a doubleheader vs. Navy (20-26, 7-11 PL). The Mountain Hawks took game one 4-1 before winning 3-2 in the second game. The schools will play another doubleheader Sunday starting at noon and Lehigh will have to win both to earn a Patriot League Tournament berth.
While Lehigh produced a combined 21 hits, the story of the day for Lehigh was its pitching. Senior Cory Kent (4-3) threw his seventh complete game of the season in game one while allowing an unearned run and just four hits. Kent entered the weekend tied for No. 2 in the nation in complete games.
The start marked Kent’s 69th career appearance which set a new school record.
Kent was backed in game one by a huge four-run sixth inning after Lehigh trailed 1-0. Three of the runs came with two outs as junior Brandon Sady had the game-winning RBI single.
Kent passed the torch to senior Dan Ciccone in game two. Ciccone (1-2) earned the win, allowing one run in five innings of work while Kent came back in the second game to earn his fifth save of the season and 23rd of his career.
Kent lowered his ERA to 1.88 while his ERA against Patriot League opponents is now 1.03.
Kent and Ciccone have combined to allow just three earned run in their last 25.1 innings of work.
In game two, Lehigh led the entire way thanks to a two-run double by freshman Conor Faust in the second inning. Navy cut it to 2-1 but the Mountain Hawks came up with an insurance run on a RBI bunt single from Sady that would prove to be crucial after the Mids scored a run in the next inning.
In game one, Navy took an early lead in the bottom of the first without the benefit of a hit. With two outs, Navy earned a walk and then he came around to score after an error in centerfield.
In the top of the second, Lehigh loaded the bases with two outs after a single, walk and hit-by-pitch but the Mountain Hawks were unable to take advantage.
The Midshipmen were held without a hit until the fourth inning.
Lehigh finally broke through in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs on four hits. Sophomore Joe Abeln led off the inning with a walk. Sophomore Tyler Brong then doubled to left field while Abeln advanced to third. After junior Casey Turner grounded out, Faust hit a SAC fly to center to score Abeln to even the game 1-1. With two outs, Sady came up with a clutch RBI to put Lehigh ahead and would prove to be the game-winner. Freshman Lance Kirschenbaum lined a double to right center to score two more runs as Lehigh jumped out a 4-1 lead.
Lehigh produced nine hits in the game, with Brong and Faust each having two.
Stephen Moore took the loss for Navy in relief, allowing two runs on two hits in 0.2 of an inning. Preston Gainey started for the Mids, throwing five innings and allowing one run on five hits.
Navy was held to just four hits by four different players.
In game two, Lehigh got out a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Brong led off with a walk and Turner doubled to set up two on and nobody out. Faust then delivered a two-run double to left center. He went on advance to third on a passed ball, but was stranded there.
Navy cut Lehigh’s lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third when the Mids got a one-out RBI groundout.
Navy threatened in the bottom of the fifth with runners on first and third and two outs, but Lehigh got out of the jam.
Lehigh looked to tack on an insurance run as the Mountain Hawks threatened in three straight innings. In the sixth and seventh inning, Lehigh had a runner on second with one out but were unable to continue the rally.
Finally in the top of the eighth, Lehigh managed to score the crucial insurance run. Brong led off with a single and freshman John Elson pinch ran for him. Turner bunted him over to second and Faust singled through the left side to put runners on first and third. Sady then bunted safely, scoring Elson to make it 3-1.
Navy however got the run back in the bottom of the eighth on a wild pitch with two outs.
But Kent came on in the ninth to shut the door.
Lehigh had 12 hits in the game with four Moutnain Hawks producing multi-hit games. Sady had three hits while Faust, Turner and Abeln each had two.
Johnny Schoberl went the distance in the loss. Navy had nine hits, with three coming from Josh Moore.
Lehigh-Navy will play two more Sunday starting at noon with the Mountain Hawks controlling their own fate, needed to win both to earn its second Patriot League Tournament berth in three years.