Lehigh baseball split its doubleheader with Navy on Sunday, winning the first game 10-4 and losing the second 9-3.
After a slow start in the first few innings of the first game, the Mountain Hawks’ bats came alive, driving in all 10 of their runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Navy struck early when Alex Smith hit a 2 RBI single in the first inning and added another run in the second with a Zane Raba single to bring in Eduardo Diaz, who hit a double in the previous at-bat.
From there, it was all Mountain Hawks. Senior Joe Gorla got the scoring started for Lehigh in the fourth inning with a 2-run homerun over the right field wall.
In the same inning, senior Chase Carlson added another run when he hit a single to left field just over the third baseman’s head. The game was tied 3-3 after four innings.
Lehigh’s starting pitcher, senior Luke Rettig, escaped a jam in the fifth inning, leaving two Navy runners on base to keep the game tied.
Rettig pitched 5.2 innings, giving up four earned runs and earning the win.
Lehigh’s offense piled on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 7-3 lead.
Junior Adam Retzbach drove in two runs with a single up the middle, and sophomore Andrew Nole brought home two more runs with a single to left field.
The Midshipmen could not keep up with the Mountain Hawks, only scoring one more run in the top of the sixth inning after their three runs in the first two frames. Lehigh tacked on another three runs in the bottom half of the sixth, capped off by sophomore Tyler Young’s two RBI double down the right field line. Senior right-handed pitcher Nick Pave finished off Navy in the seventh inning to give Lehigh the 10-4 victory.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Mountain Hawks lost 9-3.
“In game two, we struggled,” coach Sean Leary said. “We didn’t execute very well on defense and certainly not in any phase of the game. We fell a bit short of our expectations.”
Lehigh started right-handed pitcher Ben Christian. Both teams were scoreless at the end of the first inning.
With two outs and a full count in the second inning, Navy’s Ivan Aguirre singled to right field, bringing home Zach Stevens from second base to score Navy’s first run of the game.
Navy scored again on an error by freshman Justin Butler, who was playing left field.
With multiple injuries throughout the season and a couple starters out recently, the Mountain Hawks have had to make adjustments.
Butler, normally a catcher, spent much of the game playing left field.
“It was definitely different but I try to constantly learn from people who have played left field,” Butler said. “I try to take everything they give me and adjust from there.”
Navy tacked on two more runs before the end of the inning, putting them up 4-0 going into the bottom of the second frame.
In the bottom of the second, Gorla hit a double to left field, bringing in Retzbach to score from first base. Gorla then scored off a Young single to center field.
Navy flipped a double play to end the inning and Lehigh’s scoring momentum.
In the top of the third, Navy added two runs to their point total on a single to right field and a sacrifice fly.
Right-handed sophomore Tyler Thompson came in to pitch for Christian with two outs in the third inning. Navy then scored on a single before Tyler Young closed out the top of the inning with a catch at shortstop. In the bottom of the third inning, Carlson started the inning out with a single to center field, but the Mountain Hawks were unable to bring him home, ending the third down 7-2.
In the top of the fifth inning, Lehigh’s Young, senior Gerard Sweeney and sophomore Riley Davis connected on a double play to get runners out at first and second. A run was scored on the play, though, bringing Navy’s run total to eight to end the top of the fifth.
Lehigh would go runless in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
In the top of the sixth, Navy’s Colin Smith hit an RBI single to bring in the Midshipmen’s ninth and final run.
After splitting the doubleheader, Lehigh sits at 14-13 overall, and 2-5 in Patriot League play.
“Our mentality is that the next guy has to step up and play well,” Leary said. “We are aiming to play a little cleaner tomorrow on defense against Bucknell. That’s our one staple that we really believe we can hold to the standard.”