Patriot League Recap for 3/29

FROM PRESS RELEASES

Game 1: Holy Cross 1 Lehigh 0
Game 2: Holy Cross 5 Lehigh 4 (11 innings)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Sophomore Matt Shapiro (Raynham, Mass.) threw his first collegiate shutout, giving up two hits while striking out five batters as the Holy Cross baseball team swept Lehigh in Patriot League play this afternoon by scores of 1-0 and 5-4 (11 innings). The Crusaders improve to 6-13 on the season (2-0 Patriot League) while Lehigh falls to 12-13 (0-2 Patriot League).

Sophomores Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.) and John Sills (Milton, Mass.) had impressive games as well as Sills drove in the only run of the first game and Perry drove in the winning run during the second game.

In the first game, Shapiro pitched a seven inning two-hit complete game, improving his record to 2-1. The Crusaders broke free of three scoreless innings as senior Gil Gomez (Lake Worth, Fla.) hit a lead off double to right center field in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Sills tripled down the right field line, driving in Gomez. The Mountain Hawks threatened in the bottom of the seventh, as Andrew Russell hit a leadoff single and reached second on a sacrifice bunt. Russell advanced to third after Logan Marshall grounded out to second but Shapiro ended the inning and secured the Crusader victory, striking out Billy Swenson.

In game two, Perry hit a leadoff single to start the first inning and senior Brendan Akashian (Lowell, Mass.) doubled to right field, advancing Perry to third. A single to the shortstop by Gomez scored Perry, giving the Crusaders a 1-0 lead. Holy Cross rallied in three runs in the top of the second as freshman Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.) drove in Sills from third base and Akashian hit a two-run single to center field.

Lehigh got within one run of the Crusaders, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth as Marshall hit a leadoff double to right centerfield and then scored on Swenson’s single to right field. With two outs, Joe Ercolano hit a single, driving in two more runs for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh tied the game, 4-4, in the bottom of the fifth as Marshall scored the tying run after singling the middle, driving in Brendan McGaheran from second. After five scoreless, Sills reached first on a fielding error in the top of the 11th inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Billy Cupelo (Franklin, Mass.). After stealing third, Sills scored on Perry’s single to right field for the win.

Sophomore Dmitri Seredenko (Queens, N.Y.) picked up his first career win with Holy Cross while Geoff Campbell received the loss for the Mountain Hawks.

Holy Cross returns to action tomorrow, March 30, as it plays a doubleheader against Lehigh with the first game at 12:00 p.m.

Game 1: Lafayette 2 Navy 1
Game 2: Navy 3 Lafayette 2

EASTON, Pa. — The Lafayette baseball team opened Patriot League play by splitting a doubleheader against Navy behind two solid pitching performances. The Leopards won the first game 2-1 before dropping the second by just one run, 3-2.

Lafayette (11-7, 1-1) won the first game thanks to eight solid innings from starter Kevin Reese, who recorded his second win of the season. Freshman Zach Fritz was just as impressive in the second game, earning the no-decision after throwing eight innings of one-run ball.

First baseman Chris Luick was the only Lafayette batter to record multiple hits in the first game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. In the second game, shortstop Dan Bierce also went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Reese pitched a complete game for the Leopards in the opening contest, striking out seven Navy batters and while allowing just one unearned run on five hits. The Lafayette offense was kept quiet for much of the game by Navy starter Drake Oliver, who only surrendered six hits in his 7.2 innings of work.

Reese pitched into some trouble in the second inning, giving up a one-out double and a walk but he worked his way out of the jam by picking Kendall Bolt off second base and getting Nick Driscoll to strike out swinging.

In the fourth, Luick and Joe Ezekiel hit back-to-back one-out singles. Luick advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and a two-out walk to catcher Tom Ambrosole loaded the bases. A wild pitch by Drake scored Luick to give Lafayette the 1-0 lead.

Navy put a runner on second with one out in the fifth and an error by Bierce allowed Bolt to score the game-tying run.

The game remained tied after seven, forcing extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Roberts drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Luick came to bat and hit the ball to second base. Navy’s second baseman mistakenly thought the ball had hit Luick but the play continued, allowing Roberts to score the game-winning run.

Fritz opened the second game by striking out the side in the top of the first inning and kept the Mids off the scoreboard through five-plus innings.

Ezekiel’s one-out single in the fifth inning marked the Leopards’ first hit of the game. Bierce followed with a single to shortstop and Roberts’ RBI single to left field scored Ezekiel and gave Lafayette a 1-0 lead. An error by the Navy shortstop allowed Bierce to score the inning’s second run for Lafayette lead the end of five.

In the sixth inning, Speciale hit a leadoff triple off Fritz and came around to score on a groundout by Jonathan Wright, cutting Lafayette’s lead to 2-1.

Lafayette went to its bullpen in the ninth, bringing in Brian Mostek. Mostek hit Wright to open the inning and Wright advanced to second on a wild pitch. Thomas Hamilton then came to bat and knocked a two-run home run to right field fora 3-2 Navy lead. Lafayette went to its bullpen again, bringing in Steve Roberts, who recorded three-straight outs. Navy’s closer, J.D. Melton, retired the Leopards in order in the ninth, securing his team’s 3-2 win.

The Leopards and Midshipmen (15-9, 1-1) conclude their series with another doubleheader tomorrow beginning at 12 p.m.

Game 1: Bucknell 10 Army 5
Game 2: Army 9 Bucknell 8

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Andy Ernesto drilled a game-winning, two-run triple with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning as Army rallied from the brink of defeat on two separate occasions to stun Bucknell 9-8 in the second game of the teams’ Patriot League-opening doubleheader, Saturday afternoon at blustery Doubleday Field.

Bucknell’s John Avanzino blasted two home runs in the first game to lead the Bison to a 10-5 victory as the clubs split their conference twinbill at West Point.

Army (6-14, 1-1 Patriot) led 2-0 entering the fourth inning of the second game, scoring single runs in the second and third stanzas against Bucknell starter Eric Jarrett. Kevin McKague smacked a leadoff double to the right-center field gap, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a single to left field by Mike Greco, providing Army with a 1-0 lead in the second. The Black Knights added to their lead in the third inning when Tony Capozzi was hit by a pitch and later stole home with two outs.

Black Knight starter Ben Koenigsfeld carried that 2-0 lead into the fourth inning but yielded consecutive leadoff home runs to Jason Buursma and Avanzino, opening the frame. The Bison grabbed a 5-2 lead against Koenigsfeld in the fifth, pushing across three runs on two hits. Avanzino’s two-run double to left field highlighted the Bison uprising.

Clint Moore’s leadoff home run in the bottom of the inning inched Army to within 5-3, but Bucknell got the run back in the top of the ninth when Ben Allen walked and later scored on a grounder to shortstop that Moore misplayed for an error.

Army’s freshman shortstop more than atoned for the error with one out in the bottom of the inning, ripping a game-tying, three-run home run off Bison reliever David Solan. Pinch-hitter Kyle Stramara began the rally when he was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Joey Henshaw followed with a walk, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. Solan relieved Jarrett and retired Capozzi on a lineout to left for the first out of the inning. With runners on first and second, Moore then launched his dramatic game-tying shot, well over the fence in left field that knotted the score at 6-6.

Bucknell (11-10-2, 1-1 Patriot) failed to advance a runner into scoring position in extra innings until the 13th inning when Andrew Brouse’s infield popup dropped for an error. Shawn Hirsch successfully bunted Brouse to second and Allen singled to the left-center field gap, providing the Bison with a 7-6 lead. Ben Yoder singled to center, placing runners at first and second. Dane Grandizio grounded into a force-play at second base, and when Capozzi’s throw to first base bounced wildly off Greco’s glove into short right field, Allen scored the Bison’s second run of the inning.

With two outs and no one on base in the bottom of the 13th inning, the Black Knights began their unlikely comeback against Bucknell reliever Andrew Clarke (0-2). Sean Rainbird walked and Capozzi’s routine grounder that would have ended the game, took a bad hop over the head of Yoder at second base. Moore followed with a hard-hit RBI single to left field, delivering Rainbird with Army’s first run of the inning. That set the stage for Ernesto’s heroics. The junior center fielder worked the count against Clarke to 2-2 before lacing his ringing, opposite-field triple to the gap in left-center field, plating the game-winning runs.

Ernesto’s walkoff extra-base hit made a winner of McKague (1-0), who allowed a pair of unearned runs after entering the game in the top of the 13th inning. Clarke (0-2) suffered the loss for Bucknell. He yielded three runs on four hits over 2.2 innings of work.

Moore, who registered his second two-homer game in eight days, went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and five runs batted in to head Army’s 11-hit attack. McKague and Cole White chipped in with two hits apiece. Grandizio and Avanzino slapped three hits each for the Bison. Avanzino doubled, homered and finished with three runs batted in.

Army jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opener, scoring a pair of unearned runs in the first inning and another unearned run in the third off Bucknell ace right-hander Buursma. But the Bison took control in fourth inning, tallying seven runs on six hits against Black Knight starter Drew Clothier.

The game’s fortunes turned with runners on first and second and one out and no runs in early in the inning. Clothier induced Bucknell third baseman Ed Rubbo to ground to third base for a potential inning-ending double-play. Bucknell’s Chris Pieper ran into J.P. Polchinski as Army’s third baseman attempted to field the ball for what appeared to be interference. But no call was made and all runners were safe on the play, loading the bases with one out. Allen’s RBI single to left field delivered the first run of the inning, before two-run singles by Yoder and Grandizio put the Bison ahead 5-2. A booming two-run home run deep over the fence in left field by Avanzino capped the seven-run frame for the Bison.

Bucknell stretched the lead to 8-3 in the fifth inning when Pieper singled and scored on a single to right by Rubbo. White’s RBI single in the bottom of the stanza pulled Army to within 8-4, but Avanzino’s second two-run homer of the game, an opposite-field shot to the gap in right-center field sealed the victory for the Bison.

Clothier (2-3) was tagged for the loss, allowing 10 runs on 14 hits. He struck out five and walked three. Buursma remained perfect on the season, running his record to 4-0 in garnering the win. He permitted 10 hits and five runs (two earned), while striking out eight and walking two. Yoder and Grandizio joined Avanzino with two hits each for the Bison.

Ernesto paced Army’s offense, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored. White notched two hits as well for the Black Knights, who dropped their seventh consecutive Patriot League opener.

“Obviously, we saw a lot of character from our team, battling back from two deficits in its final at-bat,”said head coach Joe Sottolano. “That’s something that we can build on. It’s a trait that’s been part of our program for years. The truth of the matter is that we have not played our best baseball yet. There is a ton of ability on our ball club. When performance matches our ability will we achieve tremendous things.

“Tomorrow is another big day for us. We’re looking to build upon the momentum we established today.”

Army and Bucknell conclude their four game weekend series with another Patriot League doubleheader on Sunday. First pitch at Doubleday Field is slated for 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast along the Army Sports Network and can be heard in the Hudson Valley on WBNR-AM (1260-AM), WLNA-AM (1420) and WGHQ-AM (920-AM). A live video stream and “real-time” statistics will also be available on Army’s official Web site at www.goARMYsports.com. The video stream can be accessed via Knight Vision, Army’s subscription-based multi-media package.