Mountain Hawks claim season series over Navy with two wins on Senior Day
in the Navy
05/02/2021 | 14 o’clock
BETHLEHEM, PA. – In another key pair of Patriot League competitions, the Lehigh baseball team was up to the challenge again against Navy, ending the day with two wins over the Midshipmen on Senior Day at J. David Walker Field.
Junior right-handed Mason Black turned his first full game shutout with seven strong innings, allowing only four hits with four strikeouts in Game 1. In Game 2, it was a brave relief from Senior Matt Svanson, who with just 5.2 innings Shutout pushed two hits abandoned and five hits, coupled with elite offensive efforts from Adam Retzbach and Joe Gorla that drove Lehigh to victory.
With the two wins, Lehigh achieved his first win of the season (four of five games so far) against the Midshipmen since 2015 and the first in the regular season since 2006.
The Mountain Hawks have all but beaten their ticket to their first Patriot League tournament since 2016 and are currently in a close battle with Army West Point for the regular season title, just one weekend away in the regular season.
“Of course we were led by Mason in two very special pitching appearances [Black] and Matt [Svanson]But our offense was Clutch, our defense made a lot of key games and it was probably the most complete day we’ve had this season, “said head coach Sean Leary.” I’m proud of them because we haven’t played our best full baseball game in the last two weeks and today they trusted what they did, they ran and they did very well. “
In the first game there was a pitcher duel between Black and Navy’s Tommy Goodridge and important defensive games, which turned out to be a difference when a blow from the bat gave Lehigh the victory over the Mids.
With two runners on base in the bottom of the fourth inning, the second Adam Retzbach shot a brace down the left field line, scoring both Andrew Nole and Gorla to give the Mountain Hawks a 2-0 lead.
Gorla made a giant leap on third base in the seventh inning to save a baserunner when Black closed the door to finish his third full game of the season and claim his sixth win in the campaign. The Righty also knocked out four batters, ramping up his season to 80, 14 shyly to tie Craig Anderson’s 60-year program record of 94 out of 94 in a single season.
In the second game, it was the offense of both teams that told the story, as both teams together completed 12 runs with 24 hits.
As in the first game, Retzbach laced an almost identical double left midfield with two RBIs in the lower part of the first inning and scored Nole and Gerard Sweeney to bring the Mountain Hawks 2-0 up.
Navy scored three points in the third inning ahead of Lehigh’s left Luke Rettig, who was crowned by a base-laden run to Nico Valdez and pushed the Mids forward 3-2.
Retzbach took his third RBI of the game, a victim flight to right field, and scored Gorla to tie the ball game 3: 3 again.
Navy took the lead on an RBI single in the top of the fourth inning, but Gorla responded right back in the bottom half with a two-RBI double on the right field line to push Lehigh 5-4.
From that point on, it was all Lehigh’s offense when Casey Rother scored in the middle to hit Gorla and take a 6-4 lead in the same inning.
Retzbach continued his hot day on the plate at the end of the eighth inning with an RBI triple in the center right, scoring Rother to give the Mountain Hawks a 7-4 advantage. Quinn McKenna drove to Retzbach for the next game to add an insurance run with Lehigh’s 8-4 lead.
Svanson ended his impressive afternoon with relief with three back-to-back groundouts in the ninth inning to take his third win of the year and help the Mountain Hawks take their third straight win.
Retzbach went 3 against 4 with one double, one triple and four RBIs, while Gorla went 2 against 5 with two runs, two doubles and two RBIs. Although Casey Rother failed to reach the base for the first time in 25 games in Game 1, he responded with three hits in the second game and left with an RBI 3: 5.
“Joe had a pretty great season and was ready to play wherever we put him,” said Leary. “It is not easy to play in different positions on the field and in the order of strokes, but nothing can influence him. He does everything to improve the team.”
“It seemed like Joe and Adam always got through for us when we needed a man to get down to the ground today. As I often share, close games are the result of an important defensive game and an important goal, and today we have more than one. “
For the day on Saturday, Retzbach was 4 against 7 with two doubles, one triple and six RBIs.
Before the start of the double header, Seniors Joe Yupp, Eric Cichocki, Sam Wurth, Yash Rane, Matt Svanson and Quinn McKenna were honored with a special Seniors Day ceremony.
“This is a very special group,” said Leary. “I often say that when you play a college sport for four years it’s very difficult to do what you do. It’s so busy when you balance athletics and academics and a lot of very difficult things. They had every reason to feel sorry for themselves after the end of last season and the loss of autumn and the beginning of this spring and it was all piled against them.
“But we’re not in the position we are in today without their contributions. They’ve been absolutely stable as players, but they’re our leaders. It’s a nice thing as each of them has a leadership role.” I firmly believe that their legacy will not be what their wins and losses are this season, but the bigger picture. “
Lehigh will close the weekend with a single game on Sunday at Navy in Annapolis. The first place is set for 2 p.m.
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Gallery: (5-1-2021) Lehigh Baseball Senior Day 2021