Lehigh baseball struggled after a commanding win the day before, falling to University of Pennsylvania 11-4 at Legacy Park on Wednesday.
The Mountain Hawks came out with a slow start, scoring no runs until the fifth inning while the Quakers started off with three runs in the first.
“We just didn’t play to the best of our abilities,” junior catcher John Scarr said. “Pitchers had a rough time finding the zone and as hitters we needed to just be better. (It was a ) rough day for the offense and defense.”
In the bottom of the fifth, with Penn having scored another two runs, Lehigh came out with a new mentality.
An RBI from junior outfielder Jacen Nalesnik put Lehigh on the board in the fifth inning. Senior second baseman Mike Garzillo also had an RBI and two more runs were scored off of Penn errors.
“That inning we took a step back and let them game come to us, we got a couple bounces to go our way and next thing you know, it’s 5-4 and we were back in the ball game.” junior third baseman Patrick Donnelly said. “Ryan (Bonshak) brought us together as a team after the slow start and really got us motivated to not sit back and let the game get away from us.”
However, the Mountain Hawks weren’t able to build off the motivation from the fifth inning, they scored no more runs and allowed the Quakers to take back the lead.
Penn scored three more runs in the top of the sixth, but junior reliever Connor Donovan came in to help stop the Quakers with a pair of strikeouts. Freshman pitcher Anthony Morrone and Donovan were able to help keep Penn from scoring until the ninth inning.
“All I thought about was trying to hold them so that we could get back into the game,” Donovan said. “They hit fastballs pretty well, so it was important to mix in off speed pitches to keep them off balance.”
Although it’s not a league game, the team takes non-league mid-week games seriously because they allow it to focus on specific areas that it needs practice in as well as give opportunities to some of the younger players to get out on the field. Working on the little things in games like these helps to prepare the team when the time comes for league play.
“We don’t take our non-league games for granted,” Donnelly said. “Although we didn’t win today, we got some young guys out there who will learn and get better and more comfortable for their next appearance.”
The team is in the midst of a busy week, already playing a game Tuesday and having a game Friday and two Saturday. The team is optimistic heading into their game Friday. Donovan said Lehigh is ready to bounce back from this loss, not letting it get them down, and come out playing loose and with a lot of energy.
The Mountain Hawks will host Manhattan College on Friday at Legacy Park at 3 p.m.
“We can’t let this loss keep us down,” Donovan said. “We just need to get back to playing the level of baseball we know that we’re capable of.”