BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Looking to rebound from a loss to Temple in its home opener Wednesday, the Lehigh baseball team will host the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds at 3 p.m. Friday before heading to Brooklyn for a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.
Lehigh (10-7) took an 8-7 lead in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s contest before an RBI double and three errors led to an 11-8 defeat. Freshman Mike Garzillo and junior Tyler Brong had two hits each, while Garzillo scored a team-high three runs.
Sophomore Justin Pacchioli leads the Lehigh lineup with a .379 batting average and is one of four Mountain Hawks to put up double-digit RBIs this season. Brong has scored a team-best 15 runs, while Wilt leads the way in stolen bases with nine in 11 attempts.
Juniors Jayme Edwards and Colin Gotzon have thrown the most innings on the Mountain Hawks pitching staff, with Gotzon striking out a team-high 21 batters. Six solid bullpen outings from reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Week Kevin Long, who is second on the Mountain Hawks with 18 strikeouts, have also kept the Brown and White in games during the later innings.
Sharing the batting average lead for LIU Brooklyn (1-13) and owning the second-best ERA this season, Kevin Needham has been one of the Blackbirds’ most productive players. John Ziznewski is tied with Needham for the team lead with a .357 batting average, while Tito Marrero has a 2.35 ERA to Needham’s second-best mark of 4.91. Needham’s seven appearances this season are second only to Evan Zeriff, who has picked up eight. Pete Leonello has swiped three bases to lead LIU Brooklyn and raise his on-base percentage to .377.
The Mountain Hawks have never defeated LIU Brooklyn in 10 meetings, coming closest in a 9-8 loss during the 1999 season. Friday’s series opener will be the first time the teams have squared off since the Blackbirds picked up a 13-6 win on Goodman Campus in 2001.
Following the weekend series, Lehigh will host Coppin State on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
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