Lehigh defeated the Navy 10-5 in the first game of a three-game semifinal series in the Patriot League tournament at J. David Walker Field today.
Junior third baseman Joe Gorla finished the match 4-5 with two home runs, 3 RBIs and two goals.
Lehigh scored six two-runs in the game, including two, two-out, two-run home runs in the fourth and sixth innings.
Lehigh played long ball in match 1 and hit four home runs.
Lehigh beat 20 home runs in 37 games before this competition, placing them second in the Patriot League, a home run cloud of the Army.
Junior Matt Stamford picked up his fourth win of the year with five laps of shutout pitching, allowing only five base runners.
Gorla and Stamford were the heroes of the game, Coach Leary said.
“Matt’s role has been the fourth starter, and we mostly have three match weekends, so sometimes he starts, and sometimes he gets called up in the toughest situations of the game,” said Coach Leary. “Matt stabilized the ball game and let our offense take it from there.”
For match one selection of other teams All-Patriot League selected Charlie Connoly for the Navy. Connoly came in with a 3.62 ERA, fourth in the Patriot League.
Lehigh started with Patriot League Pitcher of the Year Mason Black, junior, who came into the game with 90 strikeouts and a 2.51 ERA, leading the Patriot League.
In the fourth round, Black Craig beat Anderson’s 61-year-old strike record in a season when he recorded his 95th strike of the year, Anderson was the class in 1960.
“I think it can be discussed that Craig Anderson is the most successful pitcher who has ever had the uniform here,” Leary said. “There are a couple of big leagues we’ve had, but everyone wants to say that coach A (Craig Anderson) is that guy. So whenever your name is in the same sentence, it’s pretty amazing. ”
Anderson, who turns 83 in July, drove down from Florida to attend the game and watch Black break his record.
“He said he was excited to transfer the baton,” Leary said.
Black started the game strongly and struck out three strokes through the first two innings, allowing only one hit through the first two shots.
Lehigh scored first when Gorla hit a home team in the second half.
Lehigh continued his offense with back-to-back singles from sophomore catcher Adam Retzbach and first-year-named hitter Andrew Nole after the home team from Gorla.
Senior Quinn McKenna then put down a successful sacrificial offering to advance the runners to second and third with just one out in the inning.
After rookie Tyler Young left, Riley Davis came through with an RBI single to score Retzbach and extend the Lehigh lead to 2-0. Senior Eric Cichocki struck out a double play to end the inning.
In the third round, Lehigh threatened again, but after two hits and a single by Gorla, Nole backed out in an inning-ending double play to end the frame.
Black ran into trouble in the fourth inning after a lead error led to five hits, two innings and five runs to give the Navy a 5-2 lead that went to the bottom of the fourth.
“I’m going to say this with confidence, we won that game because we did not want to let Mason (black) fail,” Leary said. “He has carried us all year, and I do not know if it was entirely on him, we had some tough games behind him, and there were some close conversations about strike wood and ballfire, and it happens. I’m convinced that is the answer you get from a team that likes “thank you for coming here” ”
McKenna responded immediately at the bottom of the fourth with a home team to cut the lead to 5-3.
After Cichocki was hit by a pitch with two outs in the fourth, Gerard Sweeney hit a towering two-run home run to the right field on the first court of the bat, tying the game at 5-5.
“We have some guys on the team who can drive the ball a little bit, and we’ve had a good week of practice,” Leary said. “When the weather warmed up and the ball carried a little, that was the difference for us, the guys ran the ball very well.”
Stamford relieved Black in the fifth inning and pulled out of seven straight Navy hits to start the outing.
Stamford threw the rest of the game, throwing five shutouts, giving up three singles, two trips and no races as he picked up his fourth win of the year for the Mountain Hawks.
With two outs in the sixth round, Gorla hit her second home run of the day, a two-run shot that scored Sweeney. After several two-out problems for the Navy, Young hit a hard ground ball that came from the third baseman for a two-run single, extending Lehigh’s lead to 9-5 after six innings.
In the eighth round, Lehigh completed a double steal to get a run and extend the lead to 10-5 when McKenna stole second and the drop let Retzbach steal at home.
After Stamford withdrew from the Navy in the ninth, Lehigh won one of the series 10-5.
Lehigh lost to Navy in game two of a best-of-three series in the Patriot League semifinals 3-1 in 10 innings.
Lehigh had excellent pitching all day, coach Leary said.
Senior Matt Svanson threw six and a third of a one-run baseball.
Senior Sam Wurth threw three closing innings before a 10th round, two-run home run.
To start the match, Sweeney hit a home run at the bottom of the third inning to give Lehigh an early 1-0 lead. This was Sweeney’s second home run of the day, after beating a home run in game one.
In the fifth inning, Lehigh had men on first and third with two outs when Navy pitcher Tommy Goodridge got Andrew Nole to knock out and end the inning.
“Game two was the opposite (of game one), we didn’t quite get the key hits we needed,” Leary said. “We had some guys at the base early and didn’t push them over.”
In the seventh inning with one out, Svanson allowed a solo home run to Joe Simourian, and Wurth came in and shut down the Navy threat, keeping the game tied by someone who went to the bottom of the seventh inning.
In the tenth round, Wurth played the first out before a single and home run ended his superb relief.
Lehigh plays the Navy in a winning game tomorrow at J. David Walker Field at 1pm for a chance to advance to the Patriot League final.
“We need Luke (Right) to do what our pitchers have been doing all year, to give us a good start,” Leary said. “Honestly, safe routine games that we did pretty well today in general, and then there will be some clutch hits, whoever gets them, goes on to the final”