Senior outfielder Ryan Malloy was named Patriot League Player of the Week after his performance at Mount St. Mary’s, helping the Mountain Hawks clinch two wins in three-game series.
Malloy hit a home run in the second inning of the first game, resulting in two RBIs that pushed Lehigh’s early 2-1 lead over Mount St. Mary’s. Lehigh lost the first game but won the next two.
“It’s definitely nice to hit a home run,” Malloy said. “Especially the first one of the season.”
Malloy batted .500, had four RBIs and scored five runs in the Mount St. Mary’s series.
Senior Thomas Schumacher said Malloy’s performance throughout the weekend was definitely worthy of the Patriot League Player of the Week. He said Malloy’s efforts went beyond the story told by his stats.
“He just always seemed to be getting the next hit that we needed,” Schumacher said. “There wasn’t a better guy to get (Patriot League Player of the Week) that weekend.”
Coach Sean Leary said Malloy’s hits were critical throughout the series for the way they pushed the team forward.
“Whenever we needed that big hit he seemed to be at the plate,” Leary said. “It wasn’t just his numbers, it was the timing of when he came through. He was in the mix of the most important moments of the day, and that’s a difficult thing to do. It’s hard enough to get base hits, it’s even more difficult when the pressure’s on.”
Leary said Malloy was responsible for the relief that granted the team’s offense.
Malloy recognized an underlying intensity during the team’s performance against Mount St. Mary’s that helped lead to Lehigh’s success, despite the rainy conditions.
Leary said teams with the most thorough energy levels have had the most success during his time coaching at Lehigh.
“It’s not like rah-rah stuff, its more of (a) relaxed intensity where guys are just plugged into picking up pitch sequences,” Leary said. “That’s what we call energy, paying attention and being in the game.”
Team members are eager for the upcoming spring break series in which they’re scheduled to play nine games in 10 days.
“I think spring break is going to be really good for us,” Malloy said. “It’s going to be a good opportunity to get a lot of reps in,”
Schumacher said he is confident Malloy will be consistent in his performance over the next few weeks, and that other team members will play important roles as the season unravels.
“Ryan is definitely going to continue his production going forward, he’s in a good groove right now,” Schumacher said. “Other guys are going to start to step up too as the season gets going a little more. We’re playing a lot of baseball over spring break so I can definitely see guys getting hot over the next few weeks as we head into Patriot League play.”
Malloy also said the spring break period will be a developmental stretch for the team, a time where the players can implement the skills they have been developing. Malloy said he hopes the Mountain Hawks find a defining rhythm they can rely on to help them through Patriot League play.
Leary said he looks forward to Malloy’s emerging starting role to help inspire an energetic team this season.
“(Malloy is) more of a model by example than a verbal guy,” Leary said. “He’s someone who I look to, to make sure that the guys that are backing him up, and backing up our other players, are plugged in. He’s taking ownership of the fact that the bench needs to be a vital part of what we’re doing because he’s come from that role and emerged into the starting role that he’s in.”
Upon reflecting on his career, Malloy recognizes past joys but also an absence that he hopes to fill this season — a title.
“It’s been a fun four years; there’d be no better way to cap my Lehigh experience than by winning a Patriot League Championship,” Malloy said.
The next step in the Mountain Hawks schedule will be at Maryland Eastern Shore where they’ll compete in a round robin from March 8-10 against Maryland Eastern Shore and Monmouth University.