Leopards Fall Short In California Doubleheader
March 16, 2006
FRESNO, Calif. - Lafayette baseball lost both games of a morning-afternoon twinbill on Thursday in the fourth day of action at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic at Fresno State's Beiden Field.
In game one, Lafayette scored a run in each of the first three innings to take a 3-2 lead, but the Leopard pitching staff walked in a pair of runs in the sixth to give Gonzaga a 6-3 victory. Tom Hayes was 4-for-4 for the Leopards who cranked out 14 hits in the opener. In the second game, Bucknell's five-run fifth inning spelled defeat, as the Leopard bats did not get going until the sixth inning in an 8-6 final.
As play opened on Thursday, head coach Joe Kinney mixed up the lineup. Senior captain Ian Law took over the lead-off spot and immediately reached on an error. Mike Raible sacrificed him into scoring position, setting the table for Frank Cortazar. The junior singled to right to score Law, but the inning ended when Tom Ambrosole was cut down at the plate trying to score from first on Kevin Leasure's double.
In the top of the second, Gonzaga (13-9) answered back with two runs. Ryan Wiegand knocked one in with a double and later scored on Will Ayala's two-out single. In the bottom half of the inning, Lafayette tied the game 2-2. Nick Benvenuto's two-out, opposite-field double got the Leopards' mini rally going. Sophomore Tom Hayes scored him to knot the game.
It was more two-out lightning for the Maroon and White in the third. Lafayette (3-8) put together three straight singles from Ambrosole, Leasure and freshman Jeff Butler to re-take the lead.
Lafayette starter Brian Cope worked his way into and out of trouble in the fifth, stranding three runners. In the sixth, he left the game in a jam with runners on the corners and two outs. Freshman Ryan Hanna came on in relief and walked a batter to load the bases. A second walk and a hit batter gave Gonzaga a 4-3 lead and forced another call to the bullpen. Kevin Reese came on to end the inning with a pop out. He threw the final 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits.
In the sixth, Lafayette threatened when Hayes and Law each reached with two-out singles to put runners on first and third. The inning came to an end on Raible's fielder's choice. Gonzaga tacked on insurance runs in the seventh and ninth innings to leave the final at 6-3.
Cope (1-1) was charged with the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits and four walks. Josh Bryant (1-0) threw the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and collected the win for Gonzaga. He did not allow a run while scattering four hits. Cory Powell got the save.
Ambrosole was on the money behind the plate, throwing our four of five Gonzaga baserunners.
In the second game, a late rally left the Leopards on the short end of an 8-6 decision to Bucknell.
Bucknell (5-7) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning on Kyle Walter's two-run single. The Bison then broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning to take a 7-0 advantage. Matt Capece and Ryan Gryskevicz each drove in a pair of runs for the Bison in the rally off freshman reliever Joe Ezekiel.
Ezekiel entered the game in the fifth to replace starter Steve Roberts (0-2) who was tagged with the loss. Roberts gave up seven runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings. Hanna, Jason Morytko and John Fugett finished off the game on the mound for the Leopards.
Lafayette snapped out of its offensive funk in the sixth. Benvenuto plated Cortazar (single) and Ambrosole (walk) with a single to right to make it 7-2.
The Leopards came right back in the seventh to score three runs. Reese ripped a two-run double to the gap in right centerfield. Freshman Ian McCutcheon made the most of his first at-bat of the day, scoring Reese after smacking a ball off the outstretched glove of the firstbaseman. The RBI brought Lafayette within three runs (8-5).
After a scoreless eighth, Lafayette touched up reliever Ian Rainey for a run in the ninth. Law's one-out double and a Cortazar single scored Law to put the final at 8-6.
Weather-permitting, Lafayette will face Miami-Ohio (4-8) on Friday at 10 a.m. The Leopards will wrap up their West Coast swing on Saturday vs. host Fresno State at 7 p.m.
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