Junior outfielder Stephen Fitzgerald bats during the Lehigh home opener against NYIT on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at Legacy Park. Lehigh swept Lafayette College in a four-game series this past weekend. (Gaby Morera/B&W Staff)

Lehigh baseball sweeps Lafayette in four-game series

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The Lehigh baseball team swept rival Lafayette College in a four-game series over the weekend to continue its journey to clinch a spot in the Patriot League Tournament.

“We came in this weekend needing to win three games in this series to get ourselves back into the playoff hunt,” coach Sean Leary said. “To win four, we actually passed these guys in the standings right now, so we put ourselves in a much better position. We can now control our fate going into the last weekend, which is really what you want to have.”

Lehigh (18-26, 7-9 Patriot) started the series in last place of the Patriot League standings and moved into fourth place after the four-game sweep.

Impressive pitching performances Saturday led Lehigh to a 4-3 victory in Game 1 and a 10-4 win in Game 2 at Legacy Park. On Sunday, Lehigh won the first game 5-2. Lehigh then kept Lafayette off the board in the second game until the eighth inning.

The Leopards were able to get on the board in the fourth game after an infield single, which was followed by a pair of walks to load the bases. Lafayette used an RBI fielder’s choice, Lehigh error and an RBI double to make the score 4-3 with two on base and no outs.

However, senior pitcher Brandon Kulp came out of the bullpen and turned things around. Kulp closed out the game to give Lehigh the 4-3 victory over the Leopards.

“It’s unbelievable we turned our whole season around this weekend with the four wins, and it was huge to do it here against our rivals and get two big wins on our Senior Day,” Kulp said.

Kulp got a ground out and two strikeouts to end the threat and end the inning, keeping Lehigh in the lead 4-3.

“Brandon Kulp was a great example,” Leary said. “He had a hard start to the season and he sort of had to regain his role, and today was one of the first times he went out there to regain a closer roll. It was one of the roughest and most impressive saves I’ve ever seen him come in with second and third and nobody out. Having only a one run lead and pitching out of it was outstanding.”

The senior class had a powerful presence in this series. Senior Kevin Boswick struck out two Lafayette players in a 1-2-3 seventh inning to give Lehigh the opportunity to win in the last at-bat. Senior second baseman Mike Garzillo hit a walk-off homer over the left-field fence in Game 1 of the series.

“If you look at the composite of the weekend, there was a senior hero is every game we had. There were two saves and a win over the course of the weekend, which is just fabulous. Mike Garzillo hit a game-winning home run, and all the seniors just stepped up,” said Leary.

Lehigh will take on Iona College on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Legacy Park.

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