April 26, 2009
EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette baseball squad is tournament bound, clinching the No. 4 seed in the tournament despite dropping Sunday's doubleheader with Army. Holy Cross' sweep of Navy secured the Leopards' postseason spot.
Lafayette will travel to No. 1 seed Bucknell on Saturday, May 9 in the semifinal round of the tournament. No. 2 Army will host No. 3 Holy Cross.
The Leopards (20-23, 9-11) dropped 12-7 and 12-10 decisions to the Black Knights. In the second game, Lafayette came back from a 10-5 deficit to tie the game at 10 before falling in the ninth inning. Alex Bechta finished with a 4-for-7 day and Jeff Butler (3-for-7), Justin Shepherd (3-for-6) and Matt Hall (2-for-8) all hit homers for the Leopards.
In the opening game, Army (24-17, 13-7) put up four runs in the second inning before Lafayette responded with five runs of its own in the bottom half. The Leopards had six hits in that inning, including a two-RBI single off the bat of Daniel Bierce.
Lafayette tacked on another run the next inning on Hall's solo homer before Army scored eight runs over the final four innings. Starter Jeremy Atkins gave up seven of those runs, including three-run fourth and sixth innings.
The Leopards, trailing 12-6 in the seventh, added another run on an error on a ball hit by Shepherd, but the Black Knights starter Ben Koenigsfeld got out of the inning without allowing another run to end the game.
In the series finale, runs were not at a premium for either team. The Leopards used four pitchers in the game and starter Ryan Hanna went six innings and gave up five runs on nine hits.
Army opened the game with a run on Joey Henshaw's double to left center to take the early 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Lafayette bats came alive, scoring three runs on three hits and two Army errors. Shepherd's two-run home run was the big blow in the inning and Bechta's RBI single sent home the third run.
The Leopards went up 4-1 in the fourth on Bechta's second RBI single of the night.
Army made it a one-run game with two runs in the fifth. J.P. Polchinski's had a leadoff homer and J.T. Watkins' RBI single up the middle accounted for the runs.
In the sixth, with Butler on third and no one out, a fielder's choice on a ball hit by Hall added another run for the Leopards.
The teams combined for an eight-run eighth inning. Army plated three runs on Clint Moore's three-run blast to right field, making it 10-5.
"Quit" wasn't in the Leopards' vocabulary, however, and they responded with five runs to tie the game. Butler's two-run shot made it 10-7 and A.J. Miller had a RBI single to left field, cutting the lead to two (10-8). Freshman Brian Davila came to the plate with the bases loaded and came through with a game-tying, two-run single through the left side.
Dickson came on to pitch the ninth but gave up a two-RBI double to right center, giving Army the 12-10 lead.
Lafayette put its first two runners on in the ninth, but Hall grounded into a double play and Matt Fenster struck out swinging to end the game.
The Leopards hit the road on Wednesday to face Temple. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m.
- The Leopards honored the six members of its senior class - Daniel Bierce, Jeff Butler, Ryan Hanna, Chris Luick, Ian McCutcheon and Brian Mostek - prior to the start of the game.
- The last time Bucknell and Lafayette met in the postseason was in 2006 when the Bison won a 10-6 decision over the Leopards.