WORCESTER, Mass. – Seeking to end the 2021 regular season on a high note, the Lehigh baseball team shared a doubles program with Holy Cross on Sunday at Hanover Insurance Park in Fitton Field. The Mountain Hawks (21-16, 17-10 PL) won Game 1 against the Crusaders (10-20, 9-15 PL), 4-1 for the series victory, before falling in Game 2 , 9-7.
Due to Army West Point’s loss to the Navy in Game 1 of their doubles program, the Mountain Hawks won the Patriot League regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Patriot League for the first time since 2006. The road to the third league title in program history will officially pass through Bethlehem, Pa. And J. David Walker Field at Legacy Park.
“We had a tough job this weekend to come out on the road and win another series and we were able to accomplish that,” said the head coach. Sean leary. “The bottom line is this is the first time we’ve had the only title possession in the regular season.
“I was as proud as I can get after the performances this weekend, we fought game after game and we got the job done.”
Game 1 was a mix of courageous throwing performances and sticking with sticks for offense as the Mountain Hawks used a three-point seventh to steal Game 1 of the doubles program and secure the series victory over the Crusaders.
Lehigh scored first early in the second set after Quinn McKenna hit on a pitch error by the third baseman, such as Joe gorla came to score, giving the Mountain Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Holy Cross responded in the fifth inning with an RBI single, tying the score at 1.
The start of the seventh set started with a starting triple for Riley davis and with a withdrawal in the sleeve Gerard Sweeney kicked off his fourth homer of the season, scoring Davis to give Lehigh the 3-1 lead. Casey rother walked the next at bat and Adam retzbach reached on a field error, scoring Rother for a 4-1 lead.
Second right-hander Will Grisack pitched two phenomenal relief innings to claim his third win of the season, striking out five of six batters as Lehigh battled for the 4-1 victory.
The Mountain Hawks totaled six hits, led by Gorla with two of them. Although he did not take the decision into account, the upper right Matt Svanson had a strong day, allowing just one run on seven hits with six strikeouts in five innings of work.
“We got a solid performance from Matt and obviously the big shot from Sweeney late,” Leary said. “We competed really well the whole game and we just didn’t push. The good teams find a way late and it was a nice playoff-level win for our guys.”
In the second game, it was a matter of power between the two offenses which went back and forth, especially in the last innings.
The Mountain Hawks scored the first five points of the game between the first two innings. A Casey rother Grounder at a shortstop followed by a triple RBI for Adam retzbach put Lehigh in front, 2-0. Gerard Sweeney had a two RBI single to make it 4-0 as Rother scored in the middle, scoring Sweeney for a 5-0 lead.
The Crusaders hit back with two runs in the second, one in the third and two more in the fifth to tie the game at 5-5. The Mountain Hawks took a 6-5 lead in the seventh on a Joe gorla simple that marked Rother on a field error.
With Ryan deom in the relief game of Tyler thompson, the Crusaders rallied in the eighth inning, scoring four runs to take a 9-6 lead into the final quarter.
Rother scored his fourth hit of the game on a solo homerun early in the ninth to make it 9-7, but Holy Cross called the team out to save the last game of the series.
“We fought until the end like we have been doing all season, but we had chances to increase the lead early and we didn’t keep pushing,” said Leary. “Honestly they had a really big run this weekend and they ended up with a win. But even in the ninth our team kept fighting back.
“It’s obvious from the kind of team we’ve been all season. I liked the way we competed and now we’re being rewarded with the addition of a banner to our outfield fence and a chance. to host throughout the Patriot League tournament. “
Rother was the offensive star of the game, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored, one homerun and three RBIs. Adam retzbach went 3-for-5 with a triple and Gerard Sweeney was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, one double and two RBIs.
Matt stamford started off and made four innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts, but Thompson was excellent in relief, with 3.1 strong frames, allowing one run on one hit with two strikeouts . Deom was charged with the loss after allowing three runs on four hits.
The Mountain Hawks await league results for their Patriot League semi-final opponent next weekend. These games will be played at J. David Walker Field in Legacy Park with live times and information to be determined.