Lehigh shortstop Tyler Young swings at a pitch during a contest against Army on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at J. David Walker Field. Lehigh lost, 14-4. (Allie Hite/B&W Staff)

Army defeats Lehigh to win weekend baseball series


On a cold Sunday afternoon — with wind chill temperatures in the low 30s and occasional snowflakes falling — it was the Army Black Knights baseball team who heated up and came out on top, defeating Lehigh 14-4 at J. David Walker Field.

Sunday’s was the third game of a three-game series. Army and Lehigh split a doubleheader on Saturday.

This win would have marked the first time that Lehigh (16-16, 4-7 Patriot League) defeated the Black Knights (14-16, 8-3 Patriot League) in a series since 2016. This was also the first time that they played all season. The last time they saw each other was in the Patriot League Championship last May. 

“They’ve won three straight Patriot League Championships, so they’re the team you’ve got to beat, and this was a chance for us this weekend to sort of benchmark where we are this year, and we fell a little short,” coach Sean Leary said. “We played really well yesterday. We easily could have won both games. Today, for half a game, it was the same thing. …The last four innings I don’t think are indicative of who we are.”

Lehigh starting pitcher Ben Christian throws a pitch during a contest against Army on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at J. David Walker Field. Christian surrendered four runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Lehigh junior pitcher Ben Christian started the game on the mound for the Mountain Hawks. After giving up one run in the first inning, he continued to battle, finishing the day with four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched. After Christian departed, junior Carlos Torres came in, and gave up three runs — two earned. Torres was just one of four relief pitchers to work for Lehigh. Rounding out the bullpen efforts were junior Ryan Deom, who gave up one hit and retired one batter, freshman Jack Hamilton, who threw 2/3 of an inning and gave up five runs — just one earned — on three hits, and sophomore Teddy Tolliver, who threw for 1 1/3 innings and gave up two earned runs on three hits. 

“Ben Christian has been solid in every effort he’s given us, and then we went to the bullpen, and things sort of just spiraled a little bit,” Leary said. “We didn’t command the zone, and Army got a couple of clutch hits, but definitely positive that the three starting pitchers this weekend were outstanding.”

Lehigh second baseman Sam Holtz connects with a pitch during a contest against Army on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at J. David Walker Field. Holtz was 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.

Down 2-0 in fourth inning, Lehigh sophomore designated hitter Andrew Nole singled in senior Joe Gorla to cut the deficit to 2-1, but the Mountain Hawks never could take control of the momentum.

Army put together a four-run fifth and added another in the seventh to take a 7-1 lead.

Lehigh cut into that lead, scoring three runs in the bottom seventh inning and looked to be finding some rhythm, but Army responded with a five-run eighth and tacked on two more runs in the ninth to hold onto the win. 

Lehigh senior outfielder Chase Carlson and Gorla had a good days at the plate. Carlson went 3 for 4, and Gorla finished 2 for 4. Carlson is 13 for 26 with three doubles and six RBIs in his last eight games.

Lehigh first baseman Joe Gorla heads to his position during a contest against Army on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at J. David Walker Field. Lehigh lost, 14-4.

Gorla missed the beginning of the 2022 campaign due to an injury that occurred right before the season started. Since his return, he has at least one hit in each of the eight games he’s played (12 for 27).

“It was definitely tough going down with an injury three days before the season, but it’s something I’ve dealt with a lot in my career, so it was a tough blow,” Gorla said. “Coming back, just supporting the team through the first half of the season was big — learning how to be a good teammate and just being a mentor to these young guys stepping up in the lineup. Now coming back, it’s good to be back. Hopefully, we can get rolling and get some more wins. It just feels good.”

Leary said to prepare for their next game, they’ll just go back to the basics. 

“We’ve been a team that plays pretty solid defense, and honestly, for the first 2 1/2 games this weekend, we played our style, but the last four innings kind of got away from us,” he said. 

Lehigh will look to bounce back to the win column when they face Ursinus on April 13 at J. David Walker field at 3 p.m.

Lehigh first baseman Joe Gorla (12) and right fielder Casey Rother celebrate run during a contest against Army on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at J. David Walker Field. Gorla drove scored a run and had a pair of hits in the game.

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