Seven doubles not enough for Lehigh versus SJU in wild mid-week affair
Army West Point
4/9/2022 | 12 p.m
Apr 09 (Sat) / 12 pm
Army West Point
MERION STATION, Pa. – Trailing 9-1 to Saint Joseph’s after the second inning, the Lehigh baseball team battled all the way back to trail 10-8 after the fifth before the Hawks scored five in the seventh to pull away for a 15-11 victory Tuesday afternoon in the consolation semifinals of the Liberty Bell Classic at Smithson Field. The Mountain Hawks (15-14) out-hit SJU, 15-14 despite the loss and were offensively led by multi-hit days for both Riley Davis and Chase Carlson.
Davis extended his reached base streak to 25 straight games with a 3-for-6 performance, getting a double with an RBI, while Carlson went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.
First-year Najir Glenn (0-1) picked up his first loss of the season in his first career start, allowing seven runs on five hits in 1.1 innings, striking out two with two walks.
SJU led off the contest with two runs in the first inning courtesy of a two-run home run off Glenn. Lehigh got a run back in the next half inning after Carlson singled to right field, driving in Nole.
The Hawks scored seven runs in the second inning off the combination of Glenn and first-year right hander Val Taddei.
In the top of the third inning, the Mountain Hawks launched back-to-back home runs off the bats of Adam Retzbach and Joe Gorla. Retzbach’s was his sixth of the season, second in the Patriot League behind teammate Justin Butler (7), while Gorla clubbed his second since returning to the lineup on Saturday. Following the homers, Lehigh trailed SJU, 9-4. Andrew Nole doubled to center field as the very next batter eventually looking to score with two outs as Chase Carlson singled to right field, but Nole was thrown out at home and ejected from the game after colliding with the catcher.
Nole’s ejection forced the Mountain Hawks to eliminate the designated hitter and move Retzbach behind the plate while senior left-hander Luke Rettig and junior right-hander Ryan Deom both took hacks at the plate as pinch hitters as Lehigh looked to find different options throughout the day .
Lehigh added another run on Casey Rother’s double through the left side, scoring Gerard Sweeney to come within one, 9-5.
SJU took a five-run lead on a solo home run to left field, forging ahead 10-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The crazy top of the fifth inning for the Mountain Hawks started when Rettig fled out to center field in his first career at-bat. Sam Holtz singled to third base while Carlson struck out swinging for two outs. Austin Dambach got on via a hit by pitch, while both Dambach and Holtz advanced on a wild pitch. A two-run double from Sweeney and an RBI knock from Davis brought the Mountain Hawks back to a 10-8 deficit.
The combination of Timmy Kenney and Ryan Deom on the mound in the fifth and sixth innings held SJU scoreless through six outs, while the Mountain Hawks failed to get anything going on offense in the sixth and seventh. A two-run and three-run homer for Saint Joseph’s pushed the score to a 15-8 lead for the Hawks in the seventh inning, seeming insurmountable.
Lehigh answered SJU’s five-run seventh with a three-run eighth after Holtz’s two-run single through the left side and Carlson’s RBI double to left center field as the Mountain Hawks cut the deficit back to four, 15-11.
After first-year Gunnar Goodwin did a fine job limiting damage in the bottom of the eighth inning and holding the Hawks without a run, the Mountain Hawks recorded three straight outs to end the ballgame following Sweeney’s leadoff walk as SJU prevailed, 15-11.
Lehigh tallied an outstanding seven doubles as a team, the most registered by the Mountain Hawk offense this season and the most since totaling 13 at Saint Peter’s on May 2, 2018 in a 27-2 drubbing of the Peacocks on the road.
The Mountain Hawks return to J. David Walker Field Saturday and Sunday for a rematch of the 2021 Patriot League Championship Series against Army West Point. Saturday’s doubleheader against the Black Knights begins at noon, as well as Sunday’s single game. All three games will be streamed live on ESPN+ (subscription required) with Matt Markus on the play-by-play call.
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