Lafayette Earns Regular-Season Title Outright With Saturday Split
April 28, 2007
EASTON, Pa. - Lafayette baseball won't have to share the Patriot League regular-season title in 2007. Coming into the weekend, Lafayette needed one win or a Navy loss to guarantee sole ownership. Both of those events fell Lafayette's way, as Navy lost its opener to Bucknell and Lafayette won the second game of a Saturday twinbill with Holy Cross, 8-7.
After dropping the opener, 6-4, Lafayette needed every at-bat to secure a win in the nightcap. The Leopards scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 8-7. Kevin Leasure came through with the two-out, two-run double to win the game.
Lafayette (26-14, 15-3) trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the fourth after a two-run home run by Kyle Lister. In the bottom of the inning, Dave Drechsel (double) and Tom Hayes (single) each plated runs to knot the game at 3-3.
Holy Cross (12-20, 8-8) pushed across three runs in the top of the fifth. Jake Gorman homered to left to lead off the inning. Two straight Lafayette errors and a Tyler Stampone single gave Holy Cross a 5-3 lead and prompted head coach Joe Kinney to make a call to the bullpen to relieve Lafayette starter Matt Kamine (4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2K). Holy Cross managed a final run with John Fugett on the mound and led 6-3.
Lafayette inched closer with lone runs in the fifth and seventh innings, both on RBI-singles from Mike Raible (3-for-5, 3 RBI).
When the game moved to the bottom of the ninth inning, the Leopards trailed 7-5. Mike Thater, who earned the save for Holy Cross in game one, got the call again. He retired the first two Lafayette batters. James Conrad kept things going, by ripping a 3-2 fastball to centerfield. An infield single put runners on the corners for Raible, who contributed another RBI-single. Raible and Jeff Butler were situated at first and second when Leasure stepped to the plate and delivered the game-winning double to right center for the victory.
Jason Morytko (1-2) earned his first victory of the season after throwing two-thirds of an inning and not allowing a hit. Thater (0-3) took the loss. John Fugett tossed 4.1 innings, and allowed just one run on three hits. In the first game of the afternoon, Lafayette had no trouble scoring in the final inning, but the four runs the Leopards scored in the bottom of the seventh left them on the short end of a 6-4 decision.
Holy Cross got to starter Ted Gjeldum for four runs in the third inning. Norm Roth doubled in two and Matt Perron's single scored another. Two errors in the inning cost the Leopards.
With ace starter Scott Hampe mowing down the Leopard lineup, Holy Cross gave him even more working room, scoring a pair of runs in the fifth on a Stampone sac fly and RBI-single from Lister.
Lafayette made the most of its final at-bat, despite having Hampe retire the first two batters of the inning. Singles by Conrad and Butler scored three runs, with Butler's knock scoring two. Leasure came through with an RBI-single to extend the inning and cut the Crusader lead to 6-4. His single prompted a pitching change which brought Thater into the game.
With runners on first and second and the winning run at the plate in the person of pinch hitter Justin Shepherd, Thater got a fly ball to end the game.
Gjeldum (4.1 IP, 6H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 K) took the loss to move to 2-3. Hampe allowed four runs on four hits in 6.2 innings in the win.
Lafayette and Holy Cross will conclude the series on Sunday with a doubleheader beginning at noon.