Freshman pitcher John Fitz throws a pitch during Lehigh's game against Delaware on Wednesday, April 14, 2015 at Legacy Park on Goodman Campus. The Mountain Hawks improved to 9-7 in the conference by sweeping Navy in Sunday's doubleheader. (Emily Hu B&W Photo)

Lehigh pulls off two close wins over Navy


The Lehigh baseball team is one step closer to clinching a spot in the Patriot League Tournament after Sunday’s performance in a doubleheader.

The Mountain Hawks broke a 12-game losing streak against Navy, delivering two comeback wins and rallying back to tie the series against Navy after dropping the first two games. The wins bring the team’s league record to 9-7 (15-23 overall), and it needs just one more league win to nab a spot in the tournament.

Starting senior pitcher Nick Stephens contributed to the team’s solid effort against Navy on the mound. Stephens further solidified the team’s performance by delivering six strikeouts against Navy’s strong hitting.

The beginning of the first game was similar to Saturday’s doubleheader — Navy came out strong at the plate, scoring early on in the second inning. But unlike in Saturday’s games, the Mountain Hawks responded to Navy’s hitting.

After tying the score in the second inning, senior first baseman Patrick Walshe hit a pop fly to right field allowing sophomore third baseman Patrick Donnelly to score.

Navy freshman Ben McGrath then hit a sacrifice fly that drove in junior Sean Trent to score the team’s second run. After a two-inning slump, Donnelly propelled the momentum  for Lehigh to solidify the team’s first win of the day.

Donnelly’s hit was a two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning, and it boosted the team’s momentum and made the final score of the game 3-2.

The Mountain Hawks’ momentum stayed with them during their second game against Navy.

At the start of the second game, Stephens struck out the first five batters he faced. But Navy came back strong during the second inning putting up four runs.

During the bottom of the second inning, Lehigh responded by scoring two runs to cut Navy’s lead by half. Junior second baseman Mike Garzillo then hit a home-run with Walshe on base to level the score at 4-4.

The Mountain Hawks then ensured their win with sophomore right fielder Jacen Nalesnik’s line drive to the right field allowing senior center fielder Justin Pacchioli to score the team’s fifth run. For the rest of the game, Lehigh was able to hold off Navy and keep the 5-4 advantage.

Looking forward, the team plays Rider University and Lafayette College in the two coming weeks.

Lafayette’s baseball team has already played against Navy during its regular season. The Leopards lost three out of the four games played. The Mountain Hawks hope to bring the aggressive and tactful play from Sunday to the next series against Lafayette.

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