April 22, 2011
Weekly Release - 4.19.11
Center Valley, Pa. - Little has been decided through the first three weekends of the Patriot League baseball schedule, with the six teams separated by just three games and a three-way tie for first place. The teams will take another chance to distinguish themselves from the pack this weekend, which includes a matchup of two of the teams tied for first when Army visits Lafayette.
Elswhere, Navy comes in with a share of first place when it visits Holy Cross, while Bucknell goes to Lehigh with the Mountain Hawks just one game behind the leaders. The Army/Lafayette and Navy/Holy Cross series have already been moved to Sunday and Monday due to inclement weather expected on Saturday, while the Bucknell/Lehigh matchup is still slated for the traditional weekend dates. Each four-game series will feature a pair of doubleheaders, with the first contest on each date going seven innings and the nightcap slated for the full nine.
Four teams will qualify for the Patriot League Tournament, which begins with the semifinals on May 14-15. Multiple teams can clinch a bid this weekend with victories and help from results in other contests.
Army (15-19, 7-5 Patriot League) took a step back to the pack last weekend by losing three of four games at Lehigh, while Lafayette (13-20, 7-5) jumped into the tie with the Black Knights by splitting its weekend slate with Holy Cross. Army bounced back with a 10-2 win over Yale on Wednesday, and appears to be getting one of its top players on track as Clint Moore had a home run and five RBIs in the contest after a strong weekend against Lehigh. Lafayette has been riding a hot hitter all season, as senior catcher A.J. Miller leads the Patriot League and is among the national leaders in batting average (.439), on-base percentage (.525) and slugging percentage (.833), where he came into the week second in Division I.
Navy (23-16-1, 7-5) also entered the first-place tie last weekend by picking up a game on Army with its split against Bucknell. Now the Mids visit Holy Cross (18-19-1, 5-7), where the Crusaders are picking up steam after a slow start to the League schedule. Holy Cross was swept in its opening four-game series at Army and started 1-5 in Patriot League action, but since has won four of six contests to pull within two games of first place. Senior Nick Ciardiello is the reigning Patriot League Player of the Week after belting four home runs last week, breaking the Holy Cross career home run record in the process. The Mids counter with a pitching staff that is second in the Patriot League in both overall and League only ERA.
Lehigh (22-15, 6-6) gained momentum last week with its first series victory over Army since 2003, and will try to carry it into a series against a Bucknell (17-23, 4-8) team that is looking to make up ground in the standings. The defending champion Bison have yet to win a Patriot League series, but boast a pair of outstanding individual contributors. Patriot League all-time home run king Doug Shribman, who also leads the way with 12 this season, and starting pitcher Ryan Ebner, who has the ERA lead in League games, lead Bucknell into a critical weekend. The Bison will have to do it against a Lehigh team that is strong at home, as the Mountain Hawks hold a 14-7 mark in Bethlehem after Wednesday's triumph against Penn.
For any live stat, audio and video links to coverage, as well as recaps and box scores from each game, go to the Patriot League composite schedule