BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball (4-13-1) team will hit the road for a midweek game as the Mountain Hawks head to Philadelphia to take on Saint Joseph’s (4-15) Tuesday with first pitch slated for 3 p.m. Lehigh is coming off a win in its final game of a four-game set vs. Iona while the Mountain Hawks’ have delivered at least 10 hits in five of their last six games.
Lehigh dropped three of four to Iona over the weekend but had some great individual efforts, led by senior shortstop Brendan McGaheran who hit .556 (10-for-18) over the four games with seven runs scored, two doubles, a home run and three RBIs. He also stole four bases without being caught. Freshman centerfielder Justin Pacchioli also had a stellar weekend, hitting .538 (7-for-13) with four runs scored and five stolen bases.
Pacchioli is second on the team, batting .315 while sophomore outfielder Joe Abeln is hitting a team-leading .351 and is in a three-way tie with a team-leading nine RBIs with senior third baseman Ryan Gajdos and catcher Chad Warga.
On the mound, Lehigh had a pair of solid starts from freshman Nick Stephens and senior Cory Kent. Stephens went 6.1 IP, allowing just four hits and two earned runs while Kent through a seven-inning complete game, allowing three earned runs and striking out six. Kent leads the staff with a 2.55 ERA and has a team-leading 21 strikeouts in 17.2 IP. Sophomore Colin Gotzon picked up the win in Lehigh’s lone win of the weekend on Sunday as he pitched 3.2 relief innings in a 13-7 victory.
In Lehigh’s six games last week, the Mountain Hawks had double-digit hits in five of them with 14 vs. Coppin State, 20 vs. Delaware State and then 13 twice and 10 vs. Iona.
Lehigh will look to continue to swing a hot bat as the Mountain Hawks take on a Saint Joseph’s team that excels in pitching and defense. The Hawks rank first in the A-10 in fielding percentage (.973), committing 19 errors in 714 chances. Saint Joseph’s is third in the conference with its staff bolstering a 4.27 ERA while holding opponents to a .276 batting average.
The Mountain Hawks will be facing freshman right-hander Tim Ponto, who was selected in the 39th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies out of high school. He is 0-0 with a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 IP which has come over four appearances including two starts.
Saint Joseph’s has struggled at the plate this season with a team batting average of .212, last in the A-10. The Hawks are led by sophomore infielder/outfielder freshman infielder Kevin Kratochwill, who is hitting .333 while Stefan Kancylarz is second on the team batting .314 and leads the team in hits (22), RBIs (9), runs scored (8) and walks (6). Kancylarz was just named Monday as the A-10 Rookie of the Week after hitting .421 (8-for-19) with a pair of runs scored and four RBIs over four games for the week.
Saint Joseph’s is coming off a 21-31 2011 season, the program’s first 20-win season in 10 years.
Lehigh will return home this weekend for a four-game set with Binghamton with doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.