Lehigh, Army split doubleheader; Black Knights claim Patriot League title
BETHLEHEM, PA. – Thanks to a dominant outing from right-hander Matt Svanson, the Lehigh baseball team was able to play the second game of the series and the first of the afternoon. As Army West Point, a dream couldn’t come true, claiming the Patriot League title after winning the third game 6-1 at J. David Walker Field in Legacy Park. The Black Knights deserve the NCAA championship and regional berth for a third straight season.
Svanson was fantastic as he went almost the distance in the first game of the day all season. Eight strong innings allowed only one deserved run with five hits with two walks and four strokes. He did this on 133 parking spaces, by far his longest start to the year.
Army West Point first faced a mistake against Svanson with two outs after a bad throw turned the game into a 1-0 game.
Lehigh responded with two runs in the lower part of the inning after Eric Cichocki scored on a wild field and Adam Retzbach took a 2-1 lead in Casey Rother.
Gerard Sweeney’s RBI fourth-hit groundout Tyler Young and Svanson did the rest of the work to maintain and secure the Mountain Hawks’ 3-1 win and force a winning take-all game three.
Sophomore Will Grisack threw the final inning to score his first save of the season.
Lehigh recorded only four hits as a team, one each for Retzbach and Young and two for Riley Davis.
It was all Army West Point from the start of game two, led by a sacrificial fly from Tim Simoes up in the first inning to bring the Black Knights 1-0 forward.
The Army scored two a second on a bases-laden walk and another sack fly to take a 3-0 lead over left-handed Luke Rettig.
In fifth place, Nick Manesis made the choice of a field player and scored a 4-0 lead with Kevin Dubrule.
Lehigh returned to the bottom of the field after Casey Rother substituted Eric Cichocki with a sack fly and cut the deficit to 4-1.
Ross Friedrick added two insurance runs to Army’s Total for a two-run homer in the ninth inning ahead of Sam Wurth, and gave the Black Knights a 6-1 cushion when pitching retired the Mountain Hawks to win at the end of the ninth Title.
Cichocki went 2: 3 with a double and a hit, while Rother went 1: 3 with an RBI.
Gerard Sweeney, Matt Svanson and Joe Gorla were named to the Patriot League All-Tournament Team, while Army West Point’s Ross Friedrick was named Patriot League Tournament MVP.
Lehigh finishes the 2021 season with a 24:19 overall record after hitting a 17:10 mark in the Patriot League and the regular season title for the first time since 2006.
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