When the NCAA Tournament selection committee put Lehigh baseball and Louisiana State University, the No. 1 team in the country, in the same region, the Hawks were already facing an uphill battle.
In the end, the competition was too much for them as Lehigh (25-31) fell to LSU 10-3 on Friday and then Tulane University 15-3 on Saturday in the Baton Rouge Regional round and was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
With over five and a half hours combined of rain delays between the two games, there was a lot of waiting around. Lehigh had leads over both teams early on in the games, but the opposing offenses started racking up runs and overpowered the Mountain Hawks to win the games.
The rain delay began after just a half of an inning in its game against LSU, and the teams had to wait two hours and 17 minutes to get back on the field.
The game was scoreless through three innings as Lehigh’s pitching was able to hold over the Tigers and their offensive firepower. In the top of the fourth, Lehigh then took a 2-0 lead after junior second baseman Mike Garzillo and sophomore third baseman Patrick Donnelly each scored.
After that, the Hawks had trouble preventing LSU from racking up the runs. The Tigers tied it up 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth and had a 6-2 lead after six innings.
In the top of the seventh, senior first baseman Connor Faust scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-3, but it would be Lehigh’s final run of the game. LSU scored two runs in each of the next two innings to extend the lead to 10-3 and win the game.
LSU stole a season-high eight bases, which allowed them to consistently move runners into scoring position and score runs faster. The Tigers were only caught stealing once.
The next day, Lehigh was placed in an elimination game against Tulane, who had lost to University of North Carolina- Wilmington on Friday in Baton Rouge Regional.
The Hawks started out the game strong, taking a quick 3-1 lead after one inning of play. Unfortunately, they failed to score a run for the rest of the game.
Tulane blew open the game and scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-3 lead. After just one batter in the bottom of the fifth, the game went into a long rain and lightning delay that lasted three hours and 16 minutes.
Upon returning from the delay, Tulane scored two runs in the fifth and five more in the seventh while shutting out Lehigh to eventually win the game 15-3, eliminating the Mountain Hawks from the tournament.
Following the end of the season, nine seniors on the team will have finished their careers in the brown and white after graduating.