Mountain Hawks spin 5-0 shutout of Navy to advance to Championship Series
Army West Point (championship)
05/26/2021 | 14 o’clock
BETHLEHEM, PA. – For the first time since 2015, it took the Lehigh baseball team just one win to advance to the Patriot League Championship series hits with eight strikeouts. The Mountain Hawks (23-17) defeated Navy 5-0 at J. David Walker Field in Legacy Park and took the 2-1 win in the semifinals series.
“I think the most impressive thing is that we came out with the same attitude we had yesterday,” said head coach Sean Leary. “It was a tough loss in the late inning and the guys showed up and were pretty stable. We go up, we come out pretty stable. We have a bottom and we’re coming out pretty stable too.
“Our MVP had a tough day yesterday and I called a team meeting before today’s game and said that our team MVP [Mike Garzillo] went 8-0 in 2015 and scored a triple home run to win the game. I don’t know if this is prophetic but [Casey] Rother did it. We also had a guy who threw a complete break in the game and Luke [Rettig] essentially did the same thing and set us on our way to a shutout. That was the story, he set the pace early and our guys made it through the rest of the way. “
Since the offensive only stuttered and scored one run in a nightcap on Saturday, the bats got back to work and caused a big spark at the start of the competition. 0 lead.
Junior Casey Rother’s bat was the story in the third inning who scored a game-winning hit, a powerful three-run shot to left field to give the Mountain Hawks a 3-0 lead. The homer was Rother’s sixth of the season, which ties him to the team lead.
A wizard with a bat. They don’t call him the Patriot League MVP for nothing. ?
Casey Rother slips back against Homer at six in 2021. # GoLehigh | #RTTR pic.twitter.com/zZkHGMl8Db
– Lehigh Baseball (@LehighBaseball) May 16, 2021 Freshman Andrew Nole followed Rother’s explosion with an RBI double on the right field line, scoring Adam Retzbach to put Lehigh 4-0 ahead. And then, with bases loaded and two outs, freshman Riley Davis moved into Nole to increase the lead to 5-0.
Rettig’s quality start and his defense, which supported him throughout, were the recipe for success for the whole day, as long as the Mountain Hawks played one solid game after another to seal the victory. The midshipmen left eight runners on the base in the competition and Rettig was excellent, which was evident in his 1-2-3 inning in sixth place with two straight strokes and great playing with the glove of Tyler Young and Joe Gorla.
Coarse-grained. Everything worked out in this 1-2-3 doubles game, from Luke Rettig’s instinct to Gerard Sweeney’s third place.
Maintaining the shutdown at all costs. # GoLehigh | #RTTR pic.twitter.com/4kXHPk5FAe
– Lehigh Baseball (@LehighBaseball) May 16, 2021
After Rettig left the game after the seventh on 117 fields, the second Will Grisack continued his dominance with two goalless frames and only allowed two hits with a strikeout. In three consecutive appearances, Grisack has not allowed a deserved run.
The pitching did its job, especially in the late innings when the Navy pitching was so dominant. Zach Powers threw five scoreless innings of relief, struck three, and allowed only two hits.
The Mountain Hawks hit three doubles as a squad and a homer from Rother when Andrew Nole took the lead with a 2v4 afternoon and an RBI two digger. Eric Cichocki had one hit and was hit once, while Tyler Young was hit twice to get down to the base in critical situations.
⚾️ @LehighBaseball will host the @PatriotLeague Championship Series after winning Game 3 against Navy on Sunday. @ NCAACWS | @espn pic.twitter.com/Mp69dEwM2e
– Patriot League on ESPN (@PatriotLeagueTV) May 16, 2021 Lehigh will host Army West Point starting Wednesday May 26 at 2 p.m. and continue on Thursday May 27 and May 28 if necessary. All games start at 2pm and will be broadcast live on ESPN +.
“I think the extra days off just give us more time to recalibrate,” Leary said. “This was an emotional series in the middle of the final. We are exhausted and have got everything to the point. If we had come back on Friday in five days we would have been fine, but I didn’t make the decision.” Push the streak back and now that we know this we’ll take full advantage of it.
“We’re actually going to shut down for a couple of days, let them finish testing, and then come back on Wednesday.”
A streak win over the Black Knights would give the Mountain Hawks their first Patriot League title since 2015, third overall, and an appearance in the NCAA region.
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Gallery: (05/16/2021) Baseball vs. Navy PL Semis Game 3, 05/16/21