BRONX, N.Y. – The Lehigh baseball team rebounded from two losses Saturday with wins against Iona and Fordham on Sunday. Lehigh prevailed as the designated home team against the Gaels with a 4-3 victory in ten innings and blanked the Rams 6-0 in the nightcap. The Mountain Hawks improved to 5-4 on the season after the pair of starkly contrasting wins at Fordham’s Houlihan Park.
Junior Taylor Brong scored three runs and went 3-for-7 at the plate over both wins, and junior Brandon Wilt went 3-for-8 on Sunday with four stolen bases.
Trying to avenge an 8-4 loss against Iona a day earlier, Lehigh was able to capitalize on the Gaels mistakes this time around and take advantage of last licks in the tenth inning. A wild pitch and passed ball sustained a pair of two-out rallies in the game that allowed Brong to score the tying run in the eighth inning and the winning in the tenth.
Iona (2-7) struck first with two runs in the third before Wilt drove in senior Thomas O’Malley from third with a fielder’s choice to put Lehigh on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning. Wilt delivered at the plate again in the following inning with a two-out RBI single off Iona starting pitcher Matt Marley to tie the score. Wilt also swiped two bases in the contest. Iona quickly took a 3-2 lead with an RBI groundout from sophomore Jimmy Guiliano and would hold the one run advantage until the eighth inning.
Brong led off the eighth with a single off reliever Conan Leon. Sophomore Lance Kirschenbaum struck out for what was supposed to be the frame’s final out, but Kirschenbaum reached first base on a passed ball to give the Mountain Hawks another chance to score. The ball bounced Lehigh’s way once again, as a wild pitch from Tom Kriss scored Brong in the next at-bat to tie the game.
The Mountain Hawks loaded the bases with no outs in the tenth inning for sophomore Connor Faust, who grounded into a force play with senior Casey Turner forced out at home. Kirschenbaum struck out before Brong scampered across the plate on a passed ball during an O’Malley at bat that gave Lehigh the victory. Junior Bobby Vitulano and junior Joe Torres went 2-for-4 for Iona in the losing effort, while sophomore John Elson went 2-for-5 for Lehigh.
Extra innings would not have transpired without the tremendous effort from junior Colin Gotzon out of the bullpen. Gotzon faced the third and fourth hitters in the Iona batting order, Guiliano and Matt Hratko, in the ninth and forced both of them to ground out with two runners on. Gotzon struck out six batters and allowed just two hits in four innings of work, as he picked up his second win this week.
Lehigh’s bats came out swinging against Fordham (5-3), as the Mountain Hawks left the bases loaded in the first but scored five of their six runs in the third and fourth innings. Faust drove in three runs with bases loaded RBI singles in both frames. Wilt remained an offensive spark for the Mountain Hawks by leading off two innings with a single and scoring Lehigh’s final run on a throwing error by Ryan Phelan in the eighth inning.
Brong and junior Joe Abeln added RBI singles as part of a three-run fourth inning.
Rock solid pitching from junior Jayme Edwards helped Lehigh snap the Rams’ five game win streak. Edwards threw 87 pitches over 6-plus innings, striking out three and getting outs when he needed them most. The Lehigh defense turned a double play on Mike Mauri to end the sixth inning after a Lee single and walks to Matthew Cianci and Tim Swatek loaded the bases. Junior Joey McNamara entered the game in the seventh inning with a runner on and struck out pinch hitter Brendan Maghini looking to end the seventh.
Brett Kennedy put together four innings of relief for the Rams with five strikeouts, but Lehigh outhit Fordham 10-5 in their second meeting in as many days.
The Mountain Hawks will take on Rider in a single game at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Lawrenceville, N.J.
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