Mountain Hawks score two in the ninth to take down UNCG, 9-8
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Sophomore Lance Kirschenbaum delivered a pinch hit single in the top of the ninth inning and sophomore Nick Stephens pitched a scoreless inning to give the Lehigh baseball team a 9-8 comeback win against UNC-Greensboro Tuesday at UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Mountain Hawks have now won sixth straight contests and boast an overall record of 9-4.
In a tight offensive battle that featured five lead changes and a combined 11 pitchers, Lehigh overcame two deficits to emerge with the victory over UNCG (8-6).
“We had a pretty good offensive approach the whole day,” Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said. “They threw some quality arms against us the entire game and to put up nine runs against that pitching staff was a terrific effort from numbers one through nine in the lineup.”
Lehigh took a 2-1 advantage into the second inning after sophomore John Elson scored on an error by UNCG shortstop TJ Spina and junior Joe Abeln hit an RBI single. The Spartans took the lead right back on a two-out, three-run bomb by Christian Wolfe off junior starter Nick Cassell, but the Mountain Hawks responded with a five-run third inning that began with a double by senior Casey Turner. Turner and junior Tyler Brong scored on a single from sophomore Connor Faust before sophomore Justin Pacchioli raked a three-run triple to center field off Ryan Clark. Pacchioli was thrown out at home to end the inning with Lehigh up 7-4.
UNCG clawed back with two runs in the third and fifth frames. One came on a suicide squeeze by Beningo Marrero and another on an RBI single from Jake Hall, a hit that put the Spartans ahead 8-7.
Lehigh’s late rally began with a leadoff walk to Turner and a single by Brong. Abeln moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt to Hall, the catcher. Faust then registered his second game-tying RBI with a sacrifice fly to center field. Coming off the bench to pinch hit for sophomore Pat Walshe, Kirschenbaum looped a single to right for the game-winning hit off reliever Tyler Frazier.
Pacchioli ended the game 3-for-5 at the plate, while Faust had a team-best three RBI. Turner scored three of Lehigh’s runs. Wolfe’s three RBI were best among the Spartans, and Marerro had a pair of RBI on productive outs in the one-run defeat for UNCG.
Sophomore Nick Macaione earned his first victory of the season, striking out a trio of Spartan hitters in 1.1 innings of relief. Stephens picked up his third save this year for the Brown and White. Out of the seven pitchers that took the mound for the Spartans it was Frazier who ultimately took the loss.
The Mountain Hawks will face off against the North Carolina A&T Aggies at 6 p.m. Wednesday at War Memorial Stadium. Lehigh will then play three games against Mount St. Mary’s to conclude its eight-game road trip.
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