Lafayette Baseball Sweeps Lehigh to Clinch Patriot League Tournament Spot
April 24, 2004
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lafayette secured its place in the 2004 Patriot League baseball tournament with a Saturday sweep of Lehigh in the first two games of the final weekend conference series. The Leopards won a dramatic 3-2 victory in game one thanks to an RBI-single by Adam Rosenberg in the top of the seventh. In the nightcap, Lafayette used two Jason Boyd home runs to storm to an 8-1 win.
Game one was a pitcher's duel between the teams' No. 1 starters Marcus Ward and Jack Muscalus with Ward emerging victorious to improve to 5-1.
Lafayette (19-19, 11-7) touched up Muscalus for two runs in the third inning and held the lead until the bottom of the sixth. Jeff Rodgers' started the rally with a one-out single. The next batter, Rob Fioretti, doubled and left runners on second and third. No. 3 hitter Boyd (2-for-3, 1 RBI) drove in the first two runs of his big day, scoring Rodgers and Fioretti.
Ward remained unscathed in the runs department until the sixth inning when a pair of RBI-doubles by Matt McBride and Andrew Smith knotted the game at 2-2.
In the top of the seventh of the seven-inning game, lead-off hitter Rodgers again initiated the offense, reaching base with an infield single. Fioretti moved him to second to with a sacrifice bunt before head coach Joe Kinney lifted Rodgers in favor of pinch runner Ted Kramer. Boyd walked to bring clean-up hitter Adam Rosenberg to the plate. Kramer moved one base closer to scoring the go-ahead run when a Muscalus wild pitch allowed him to move to third. Then, the Leopards took the 3-2 lead when Rosenberg belted a single to left to score Kramer.
Ward came out in the seventh and retired the Lehigh (22-19, 7-11) lineup in order to give Lafayette the 3-2 victory. He scattered six hits while striking out two and walking one on his way to his fifth victory of the season. Muscalus surrendered three runs on three hits in the loss.
In game two, Lafayette recorded nine hits as it had in the first game, but this time it resulted in eight runs in an 8-1 victory that clinched Lafayette's spot in the Patriot League Tournament.
Boyd was at it again in the first inning of game two, tripling in Fioretti and later scoring on an RBI-groundout from Rosenberg to lead 2-0.
In the second inning, Lafayette tacked two more runs onto its lead. Frank Cortazar led off the inning by ripping a single off the shin of Lehigh starting pitcher Karl Weimer who was knocked from the game on the play. With the bases loaded, Rodgers was hit by a pitch to drive in a run, and Fioretti plated another with a fielder's choice.
Lehigh cut the Leopard lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning when Jeff Baker doubled and later scored on a fielder's choice.
Lafayette scored five more runs over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. In the fifth, Boyd (3-for-5, 3 RBI)clocked his sixth home run of the season to put Lafayette up 5-1. In the visitor sixth, back-to-back doubles by Ian Law and Eric Vacca gave Lafayette the first of two runs. Rodgers followed with an RBI-single as Lafayette led 7-1. Then, in the seventh, Boyd's second home run of the game and seventh of the season added an exclamation point.
Lafayette starter Brian Cope (2-1) used the Lafayette lead to roll through the game. He allowed one run on six hits while striking out six and walking one. Weimer (3-2) took the loss after throwing one complete inning and facing one batter in the second.
The two archrivals renew their acquaintances on Sunday in doubleheader action beginning at noon. Lehigh is currently in a four-way tie with Bucknell, Holy Cross and Navy for the third and final spot in the Patriot League Tournament while Lafayette has clinched the No. 2 spot in the tournament.