Lehigh, Navy split two Patriot League semifinal games to force Game 3 Sunday
05/16/2021 | 13 o’clock
BETHLEHEM, PA. – After a dominant performance both offensive and on the hill by left Matt Stamford in game one, the bats fell silent in Game 2 as Lehigh and Navy separated the first two games of the Patriot League tournament semifinals and a game 3 decision on Sunday afternoon at J. David Walker Field.
Junior right-handed Mason Black struggled to find his crotch early in the game. He scored just four innings on 99 fields and allowed four deserved runs with seven hits and five strikeouts shutout frames that only give up two walks and three hits with three strikeouts to claim victory.
“Matt has been pretty great this season,” said head coach Sean Leary. “His role was the fourth starter and we usually have three game weekends. Sometimes he starts and sometimes he is used in the most difficult situations in the game. He stabilized the ball game and let our offensive take over from there. It was him.” definitely the guy who turned the swing for us. “
Despite the outing, Black hit his fifth stroke of the game and became the program’s record holder for strikes at 95, overtaking the great Craig Anderson ’60, who set the record 61 years ago in 1960.
“It is questionable whether Craig Anderson is the most successful pitcher to ever wear the uniform here,” said Leary. “I think anyone would say Coach A is this guy. So it’s pretty great to have your name in the same sentence as him. I know Craig was here to watch him and came over from Florida to see us. He said he was excited to hand over the baton after 61 years. For Mason, it’s a wonderful compliment to be on the same breath as him. “
Joe Gorla set the tone early in the second inning with a home run to left midfield, his second of the season, giving Lehigh a 1-0 lead. A single from Riley Davis in the same spot drove into Adam Retzbach to take a 2-0 lead in the same inning.
The Navy’s big inning came in fourth with five consecutive runs to four singles ahead of Black to storm 5-2.
Lehigh’s offense would not be denied, however, as Quinn McKenna’s solo shot came to power in the fourth inning with a two-run bomb for Gerard Sweeney to tie it 5-5.
Gorla hit his second homer of the game in the sixth, a two-run shot to left field to put Lehigh 7-5 ahead. The Mountain Hawks then scored two more hits on an E5 and took a 9-5 lead.
In the eighth round, McKenna stole second place and Retzbach stole home to score a 5-10 win. Lehigh took the game 1.
Gorla was a force that went 4v5 with two homers, two runs scored and three RBIs. Andrew Nole went 3v5 while the Mountain Hawks did a total of four homers (two for Gorla and one each for Sweeney and McKenna).
For a while it seemed like two solo home runs would make all the difference in the afternoon’s second game.
Returning home in the first game, Sweeney hit a solo shot over the right midfield fence in a 3-2 pitch in the third inning to give Lehigh a 1-0 lead.
It was not until the seventh inning that Joe Simourian completed a 1-1 game with his solo shot. And then, at the top of tenth place, Logan Keller’s Homer ran two runs to give the midshipmen the momentum they needed to keep calm and take the 3-1 win to force Game 3 on Sunday.
Matt Svanson was solid in his start, walking 6.1 innings, which only allowed for a single run with six hits with four walks and four spikes. Sam Wurth threw three innings and allowed the two runs on the homer, scattering four hits with two strikeouts. He was charged with the loss for the third time this season.
Joe Gorla went 3-5 in the second game and ended the day with two homers 7-9 on the plate. Sweeney went 3v4 on his solo homer in the third inning and Tyler Young added two hits in four bats.
Lehigh will reach out to left-handed Luke Rettig on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. for the third game of the series at Walker Field.
“Luke has to do what our pitchers have been doing all season: start us well,” said Leary. “To be honest, we have to secure the routine games, which we did pretty well overall today. It really depends on two or three clutch hits. Whoever gets them will move in the final.”
The winner will enter the Patriot League Championship series to face the winner from Lafayette / Army West Point. The Mountain Hawks want to play for a title in the Patriot League for the first time since 2015. Tomorrow’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN +.
Like Lehigh baseball on Facebook, consequences Twitter and Instagram for more updates on the Mountain Hawks.