Lehigh baseball coach Sean Leary nabbed his 400th career win when the Mountain Hawks won the first game of their Saturday doubleheader against DeSales University. The victory gave the team momentum that propelled it to dominate the second game.
The Mountain Hawks swept both games with aggressive base running and solid offensive hitting, winning 9-3 and then 18-1. The team (21-25, 12-8 Patriot) looks to continue its winning streak in the Patriot League semifinals next weekend.
During the first game against DeSales, the team came out strong with bats swinging, scoring three runs in the first inning. Junior second baseman Mike Garzillo hit a home run to left center driving in two base runners, sophomore outfielder Jason Nalesnik and senior outfielder Justin Pacchioli.
“Garzillo’s three-run homer in the first inning really set the tone for the whole day,” sophomore third baseman Patrick Donnelly said of the opening play. “We played aggressively but smart.”
The team continued its solid performance at the plate during the second and fourth innings. Donnelly hit a fly ball to center field, once again driving Pacchioli to score at home.
The score remained 7-0 until the sixth inning when DeSales scored two runs. Hitting an RBI triple, Mike Kacergis’ hit allowed freshman player Hunter Hart to score. However, in the seventh inning the Mountain Hawks capitalized on DeSales’ throwing errors, which allowed Garzillo to increase the lead to 8-1.
Senior pitcher Jordan Smith closed the last three innings only allowing one run and two hits from the Bulldogs.
The team continued to dominate at the plate during the second game despite DeSales’ attempt to throw Lehigh off with different pitchers. The Mountain Hawks adjusted quickly and scored seven runs in the first inning alone. During the first inning, sophomore first baseman Connor Donovan hit his first career home run at Lehigh, which was also a grand slam.
“Donovan’s grand slam was the turning point in the second game,” sophomore catcher John Scarr said. From that point on, the Mountain Hawks’ bats kept singing.
In the second inning, the Bulldogs scored their only run due to a fielding error. After this error, the Mountain Hawks regained composure and performed efficiently on defense. The team increased its lead in the bottom of the fourth inning making the score 12-1.
For the fifth inning, sophomore Nick Stephens relieved J.R. Edwards on the hill. During his time as pitcher, Stephens retired six batters and only allowed one hit before Brandon Kulp pitched for the seventh inning.
Solid hits by freshman outfielder/infielder Drew LaMotte and Scarr drove in more base runners, making the score 16-1. A two-RBI hit by Connor Faust ended the game’s score at 18-1.
Lehigh will enjoy the home field advantage in the Patriot League semifinals against No. 3 seed College of the Holy Cross.
“We are playing our best baseball at the right time as we approach playoffs,” Donnelly said, “And as long as we play our game and not worry about who’s on the other side of the field, we will be successful.”
Saturday’s semifinals against Holy Cross kick off at noon at Legacy Park.