May 20, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Logan Lee tossed a three-hit shutout to lead top-seeded Army past second-seeded Holy Cross, 4-0, in the first game of the Patriot League Championship Series on a warm and sun-splashed Sunday afternoon at Doubleday Field.
The Crusaders (33-21) rallied past the Black Knights (40-13) to post a 7-4 victory in the nightcap, forcing a winner-take-all championship contest on Monday afternoon. Game three of the PLCS will be played on Monday beginning at 12 p.m.
Lee (8-2) was masterful throughout his start, facing just four over the minimum and retiring the final 11 Holy Cross batters of the game. He struck out two, walked one and induced two double plays. Lee, who got 15 groundball outs in the contest, allowed just two runners to reach second base.
Army pushed across two runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to provide Lee with all the run support he would need. Harold Earls went 2-for-4 to pace Army's eight-hit attack.
"I thought Logan gave us a gutsy effort in the opener," said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. "He really set the tone for us in that first game, controlling both sides of the plate, throwing three pitches for strikes and commanding the strike zone."
The second game was a seesaw affair that saw Holy Cross score two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to overcome a 4-3 deficit and secure a 7-4 decision. Jordan Enos and Brandon Cipolla both went 2-for-3 to support John Colella (6-1), who fired 3.1 innings of relief to pick up the victory.
After four scoreless innings in the first game, Army took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Zach Price and Daniel Cortes were both plunked by pitches, and then executed a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. Kevin McKague then lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, and J.T. Watkins ripped an RBI single as the Black Knights drew first blood.
Army extended its lead to 4-0 in the sixth inning on Alex Jensen's two-run double. Andrew Johnson and Clayton Mosley hit consecutive singles, and both players were able to score when Jensen's long fly ball caromed off the wall in left field and bounced back toward the infield.
Lee slammed the door on Holy Cross from that point forward, retiring the Crusaders in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings en route to his fourth complete-game shutout of the season.
"I felt pretty good out there today," said Lee. "Holy Cross touched me up for 12 hits and five runs when I faced them last month, so I was anxious to go out there today and pitch well. I just wanted to go out there and pump strikes, and it turned out well."
Holy Cross starter Nate Koneski (7-3) took the loss as the Crusaders' ace allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings. He struck out five, walked two and hit four batters.
Army took an early 1-0 edge in the nightcap as the Black Knights manufactured an unearned run in the top of the third inning. Matthew Carter laced a one-out double down the left field line and was able to move to third base when left fielder Chris Sintetos misplayed the ball. Carter later scored on a passed ball.
Holy Cross countered in the bottom of the fourth inning, taking a 2-1 lead as Enos and Cipolla both crushed solo home runs to left field. The Crusaders made it 3-1 in the fifth on Enos' sacrifice fly.
Army plated a pair of unearned runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 3-3. The Black Knights then moved in front, 4-3, in the seventh inning on Cortes' RBI single. Price singled with one out, stole second base and scored when Cortes grounded a base hit through the right side of the infield.
Holy Cross rallied against Army reliever Manny Fernandez (4-1) in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-4 lead. The Crusaders tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth to cap the scoring.
Game Notes: Army moves to 64-30-2 all-time versus Holy Cross ... the Black Knights wore their white uniforms with black caps for both games of today's doubleheader ... Army's 40 wins establishes Academy and Patriot League single-season records ... the Black Knights extend their school record home win total to 23 following today's split ... Army's 11 shutout victories this season are an Academy record ... Chris Rowley moves into first place on Army's single-season innings pitched list (91.1) ... Logan Lee ranks seventh on that same ledger (85.0) ... Lee also moves into a tie for sixth place on the program's single-season wins list (eight) ... Zach Price moves into sixth place on Army's single-season runs scored list (48).