May 11, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Lehigh advanced to the Patriot League Baseball Championship series for the first time since 2006 as the third-seed Mountain Hawks won at second-seed Army 3-1 in the decisive game three of their semifinal matchup on Sunday at Doubleday Field at Johnson Stadium.
The Mountain Hawks (25-22) will head to top-seed Bucknell (27-17-1) for the Championship series to be played on Friday and Saturday. The teams also matched up in the 2006 Championship series when Lehigh won its only title at home. The Bison are in the Championship for the first time since winning at Holy Cross in 2010, and will host the final round for the first time since 2003.
Bucknell advanced to the Championship series on Saturday when it swept its semifinal matchup against fourth-seed Navy.
Lehigh used single runs in the second, fourth and fifth inning and outstanding relief pitching to earn the win on Sunday. The Mountain Hawks got seven scoreless innings out of the bullpen, with Nick Cassell tossing five to earn the win and Joey McNamara closing out the final two frames.
The Mountain Hawks got on the board first when Patrick Donnelly drove in Tyler Brong in the second inning, but Army got the run back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Patrick Mescher. Donnelly put the Mountain Hawks up for good when his single drove home John Elson in the fourth, and Lehigh tacked on an insurance run in the fifth when Mike Garzillo drove home Justin Pacchioli.
Army got at least one runner on base in each of the last five innings, but never got the tying run on base as Lehigh recorded three double plays in the final four innings including one to seal the win and earn a berth in the championship series.
Donnelly and Garzillo each had three hits for the Mountain Hawks and combined for the team's three RBIs, while Brong, Elson and Pacchioli each had a hit and a run scored. Cassell scattered three hits and three walks with four strikeouts in five innings of relief, while McNamara did not allow a hit in his two innings to close out the game.
Gunnar Carroll suffered the loss for Army as he gave up three runs, two earned, in 4.1 innings. The Black Knights had just five hits, and for the second time in the series did not have a player with more than one base knock. Army scored only four total runs in the series as the two-time defending champion Black Knights failed to make the Championship for the first time since 2010.
Lehigh and Bucknell will open the Patriot League Championship series at Depew Field with a doubleheader at Noon on Friday, and will play game three, if necessary, at Noon on Saturday. For more, visit Patriot League Baseball Tournament Central