Sophomore outfielder James Bleming hits a home run, scoring two runs in the third inning on Wednesday, March 20, 2016 at Legacy Park. Lehigh won the game against St. Peter's University, 6-3. (Chris Barry/B&W Staff)

Five-run third inning propels Lehigh baseball over St. Peter’s 6-3

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The Lehigh baseball team used a two-out rally in the third inning to propel itself past Saint Peter’s University 6-3 Wednesday at Legacy Park.

The inning began with two quick groundouts to third base, but was kept alive by junior leadoff hitter and right fielder Jacen Nalesnik. The next at-bat pushed across the first runs of the game as sophomore center fielder James Bleming hit a home run to left center field, making the score 2-0.

Bleming’s home run was followed by back-to-back doubles by second basemen Mike Garzillo and third basemen Patrick Donnelly making the score 3-0. Donnelly then followed Garzillo home on a single by Junior David Young. The next two at-bats were a walk and hit by pitch that loaded the bases, followed by another walk, which pushed the fifth run of the inning across for the Mountain Hawks.

After the five runs by Lehigh, Saint Peter’s starting pitcher Steve Epstein was replaced by Tommy Toole, who was able to get them out of the inning leaving the bases loaded.

“We were hitting the ball hard just right at people, but we were able to take a step back and the home run really set the tone for the rest of the inning,” Donnelly said.

Lehigh got a solid pitching performance from sophomore left hander Peter Moore. Moore pitched six and one-third innings, giving up four hits, three walks and only allowing one run. He also had 10 strikeouts.

He was backed by a Mountain Hawk defense that didn’t commit any errors. Following Moore’s removal in the sixth inning, Lehigh head coach Sean Leary called on right-handed pitcher Cole McManimon. The 6 foot 7 inch freshman from Trenton, New Jersey, gave up two runs on two hits in one inning of work, and then was replaced by freshman lefty Ethan Frohman who picked up the save in one and two-thirds innings of work.

Saint Peter’s first of its three runs came in the sixth inning on a double by shortstop Jon Kristoffersen and a single by center fielder Rob Moore. The next two runs came in the eight inning on a single, a walk and a double by right fielder Nick Ciocca.

Lehigh is riding a three-game winning streak following Wednesday’s win and will be starting Patriot League play in April, opening with a four-game series against Bucknell University. Leary is excited how the team is looking heading into this next month.

“We are playing consistent defense, and our starting pitchers are going deep into games which is really helping us out,” he said.

The team will be looking to keep building its confidence, as many of its conference games will be played the rest of the season. After its series with Bucknell, the Hawks will play College of the Holy Cross, Navy, Lafayette College and Army West Point, all of which will determine its seeding in the Patriot League Tournament.

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