Lehigh dominates Game One, splits Saturday with Navy on the road
04/04/2021 | 14 o’clock
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A day of two home runs for freshman Andrew Nole and another tough effort for Junior Mason Black on the hill led the Lehigh baseball team to victory over Navy in Game 1, but the Midshipmen dealt with that late in the second Business game, despite a ninth inning rally of the Mountain Hawks to keep the win on Saturday at Max Bishop Stadium.
The Mountain Hawks (8-7, 5-2 PL) held their own all day against the Mids (7-2, 3-2 PL) and rallied in the ninth of the second game with two outs en route to the rubber game on Sunday with a lot of momentum. Black faced Navy ace Charlie Connolly, and the duel was overshadowed by the classic Levi Stoudt-Noah Song battle during the 2019 season when Lehigh last visited Annapolis.
“Game 1 was just a classic game of two aces and usually one stroke of a bat changes a game and today it was two strokes,” said head coach Sean Leary. “Andrew Nole had two monster home runs from [Connolly]. In honor of our number one [Black]When he got the tour he was great. “
Nole scored the first goal in the second inning for the Mountain Hawks, a solo shot for his first career homer that put Lehigh 1-0 ahead.
After Navy finished the game 1-1 due to a mistake in the lower half of the inning, Adam Retzbach and Mason Black made an incredible defensive game to oust the Navy baserunner at home for the first time.
The result was tied until sixth place when Nole came through again, a homer with two runs to the right to bring Lehigh back 3-1.
Junior Joe Gorla started two more runs in the seventh with a triple right double with two RBI to give the Mountain Hawks two insurance runs at 5-1.
Black closed the door at the bottom of the inning and knocked out two of the last three batters for his third win of the season. After an appearance by the Patriot League Pitcher of the Week against Lafayette, Black finished his second full game in a row, beating 10 midshipmen while allowing only one run that failed on four hits with two runs. In six starts this season Black is 3-1 with 1.78 ERA. He has beaten 54 batters and only run 10 in 35.1 innings.
“The fun part about what Mason is doing right now is that our team is slowly getting to the point in the season where they have enough games and repetitions to be more familiar with what it is and theirs Identity as. ” Team, “Leary said.” When pitchers get about 25 innings in a season, they’re just starting to make their move. Mason has gotten better with every trip this year, especially the last three weeks. He was really good against Bucknell, Lafayette, and now Navy.
“We’re 3-0 in Game 1 with Mason on the hill this year, which is 100 percent attributed to our ace.”
The Mountain Hawks scored eight hits in Game 1, two for Nole and Quinn McKenna and one hit each for Eric Cichocki, Gerard Sweeney, Gorla and Adam Retzbach.
The win for Lehigh brought Navy a 17-game home winning streak that dates back to the end of the 2019 season.
The second game featured much of the same as the first, including solid pitching again as Matt Svanson made a solid appearance despite neglecting the decision.
“Matt didn’t do his best on the hill today, but he could still give us more than six strong innings,” said Leary. “He just kept getting out and got large parking spaces where he needed them.”
Joe Simourian scored the first goal for Navy in the first inning on a wild field and from then on it was a pitcher duel between Svanson and Tommy Goodridge.
Lehigh prevailed in seventh place with an Eric Cichocki single to the right in the middle and scored two runs to take a 2-1 lead. At the end of the inning, Nav scored a single with two RBIs in exactly the same spot to continue at 3-2. Logan Keller scored in the eighth game of a field player’s choice and doubled the lead to 4: 2.
The Mountain Hawks struggled through the top half of the ninth inning as they looked for two outs after the first two batters swung. A Quinn McKenna walk and a cichocki single drew the two runners when Joe Gorla was hit with bad luck to load the bases.
Casey Rother, who played left field for the first time this season, went on four fields and scored McKenna to cut the deficit to 4-3 with two outs. A big blow from Adam Retzbach went to his knees as the second player swung on three fields to end the threat and the ball game.
Like the whole season, Cichocki was awarded two RBIs 2: 5. With three hits between the two games, Cichocki’s hit rate is now eleven games in a row. After returning home twice in the first game, Nole went 1: 3 with a double and a run scored in the second game.
On the hill, Svanson threw six innings, allowed two deserved runs and dealt five hits with five strikeouts and two walks. The junior left Luke Rettig threw the last two innings, allowed two runs with two hits with four walks and three strikeouts and was awarded his second loss of the season.
“It didn’t show up on the scoresheet late in the game, but we had three games today where we just didn’t turn doubles or had small defensive rounds,” said Leary. “They followed in Navy’s favor with a single with two runs and another run after that. We weren’t as defensive as we were in the last five or six games.
“But this is baseball. You have to play big games and late in the game today we just didn’t convert some games we played. But overall our pitching was the story today and was the story all season. To keep up we can be very proud of the fact that in the preseason we were able to do three or four runs on our home lawn with three or four runs a day. “
The Mountain Hawks return to J. David Walker Field in the rubber match against Navy on Sunday afternoon, looking for a streak victory over the Midshipmen for the first time since winning the Patriot League championship in 2015. Lehigh has not had a regular win of the season over Marine since 2006.
The matchup on Sunday will be broadcast live on ESPN +. The first place is set to 2 p.m. on Easter Sunday.
Like Lehigh baseball on Facebook, consequences Twitter and Instagram for more updates on the Mountain Hawks.