The Lehigh baseball team is gearing up for its last four games of Patriot League play heading into two days worth of doubleheaders versus rival Lafayette College on Saturday and Sunday.
To prepare for the games, Lehigh (15-24, 9-7 Patriot) is treating this almost like any other game. The only difference, other than it being a rivalry game, is that winning these games will help clinch a spot in the postseason in the Patriot League. The team currently sits at third place out of six teams in the conference.
The Hawks must finish in the top four in order to ensure that they can secure a spot. If they win just one game over the Leopards, who currently sit in fourth at 8-8, then they are guaranteed a spot.
“There’s always going to be a different level of focus once it comes to the weekend and we see Lafayette across the field,” senior catcher/utility player Tim McKay said. “We basically prepare to make it to the Patriot League Tournament and end up winning the Patriot League Championship.”
The players know the importance of the games beyond the fact that the series is against their rival.
“We put a little more intensity into it just because it’s their Senior Day too,” senior outfielder/infielder Patrick Walshe said. “We know that they’re going to have a high level of intensity so we try to match it.”
The team’s most recent loss came when it fell to Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and that was off a two-game winning streak versus Navy. The Hawks were finally able to triumph over the Midshipmen, after being unable to do so last year. The teams split this year’s series, with the Hawks losing both games of the doubleheader on Saturday but then winning both games of the doubleheader the next day.
As far as hitters go, there was a consensus that while there was a true team effort from the Mountain Hawks, the two standout players were junior second baseman Mike Garzillo and senior outfielder Justin Pacchioli. Walshe said that their ability to get on base has helped the team win games. Senior pitcher Jordan Smith agreed with Walshe.
“On the pitching side, we look to our seniors,” Smith said. “From an offensive standpoint we look to Garzillo and Pacchioli as our leaders. They’ve been producing great numbers this year, but you can’t win a season with two guys.”
The team will be in search of a full team effort when they head to Easton on Saturday, with games at noon and 2:30 p.m.