Mountain Hawks take two at Holy Cross in fight for first place finish
on the holy cross
05/09/2021 | 12 o’clock
WORCESTER, Mass. – After the Lehigh baseball team had already won a place in the field of the Patriot League tournament for the 2021 season, it was on Saturday afternoon against Holy Cross in the Hanover Insurance Park on Fitton Field to sow as Mountain Hawks (20) to play -15, 16-9 PL) took both ends of the double header against the Crusaders (9-19, 8-14 PL) with only two games left.
For the second straight weekend, it was another elite outing by junior right-handed Mason Black in Game 1, turning his second full game shutout in a row, covering the distance in seven innings, scattering four hits and hitting 10 Crusaders while he went four. Black was imprisoned from the start of the competition, withdrawing eight straight batters at one point.
The win puts him in a good position to end the regular season with a legitimate shot at the Patriot League pitching Triple Crown after winning with a 7-2 record and 90 strokes in eleven starts. His 2.51 ERA also comes first ahead of teammate Matt Svanson, who will line up on Sunday.
The outing was Black’s sixth with 10 or more spikes and is just four minutes from tying and five minutes from breaking Lehigh legend Craig Anderson’s 61-year-old program record of 94 in 1960.
“We were led by Mason again today, which was just another great performance from him,” said head coach Sean Leary. “For what it’s worth, he played like pitcher of the year all season. He went out and did what he does best again today.
“We got a couple of Clutch hits from Quinn [McKenna] and Tyler [Young] and then a big runaway home run from [Joe] Gorla. There were posts up and down the lineup today. We worked and preached that we had to click all thirds of the listing, and today we had contributions from literally everyone. “
The Mountain Hawks, a first four innings pitcher duel between Black and Holy Cross’ Jack DiLauro, finally broke through in the fourth inning when Quinn McKenna hit left field and Casey Rother scored to give Lehigh 1-0 Bring lace.
In the same inning, newcomer Tyler Young came into midfield with a single and brought Andrew Nole to a 2-0 lead.
The moment of play was Joe Gorla’s triple home run in the fifth inning, clearing the left field fence to extend Lehigh’s lead to 5-0. The homer was the first in Girla’s career when he hit RBIs # 27, 28 and 29 in one fell swoop.
The Crusaders threatened at the end of the seventh inning and loaded the bases with no outs, but Black was stable and pulled back two straight batters through the swinging strikeout to land the final blow on Sweeney at first base without the side for the last time, when Lehigh held for the 5-0 win.
Pitching appeared to be an issue for the Mountain Hawks for the afternoon’s second game, as junior left-handed Luke Rettig seemed to settle in early, pulling out the game’s first seven batters. Rettig knocked out five crusaders in the first three innings of the competition.
Lehigh helped Rettig on the offensive side of the ball and scored the first goal in the third inning. A Rother single in the middle scored Riley Davis, but a field mistake put Rother in second place and scored Sweeney to give Lehigh a 2-0 lead.
Holy Cross finally found out how he got past Rettig in the third inning and broke up the no-hitter with a one-off single. The Crusaders scored a run of the choice of a field player and halved the Lehigh lead 2-1.
Adam Retzbach extended Lehigh’s lead in the fourth inning of his fifth home game of the season. In the fifth with two runners, Sweeney tied a ball into right field as the Mountain Hawks took a 5-1 lead.
The Crusaders fought back in the sixth inning, scoring all three of Rettig’s runs to finish 5-4 within one.
Senior Sam Wurth came in and threw a brilliant pitch for having pushed 3.1 outstanding innings of a three-hit ball all season without allowing a run and hitting a batsman to make his Patriot League-leading fourth save to achieve the season.
The defense helped Wurth at the end of the eighth inning when Eric Cichocki made a great dive hold and initially kicked the runner out for the double game to end the inning.
“In Game 2 we seemed to be getting a post from everyone up and down the lineup,” Leary said. “Sweeney had a big hit and Retzy responded with a big homer to start a run. At the end of the game it seemed like every single man in our lineup had done something really solid.
“But probably the match of the two games was Eric’s ridiculous dive in the right field. He really was probably as good an outfielder as I’ve seen in my years here at Lehigh. For me he’s the best defender in the league.” He’s played three or four times this year to win a game and that game couldn’t have come at a more important time today. “
Sweeney and Retzbach each recorded two hits and combined three RBIs to lead the Mountain Hawks’ offensive in the afternoon’s second game.
In a dead heat with Army West Point for the top spot in the conference, Lehigh hopes to control his own destiny towards Sunday to claim his first regular season title and number 1 Patriot League tournament since 2006. The Mountain Hawks and Crusaders will meet at Fitton Field on Sunday lunchtime for the final two regular season games.
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