Lafayette Baseball Closes Out Patriot League Play With 7-4 Loss To Lehigh
April 29, 2003
EASTON, Pa. (www.lafayette.edu) - The Lafayette baseball team closed out the Patriot League portion of its schedule with a 7-4 loss to Lehigh on Tuesday night at Metzgar Field. Lehigh scored all seven of its runs in the fifth and sixth innings and staved off Lafayette's seventh inning rally to win the game.
Lafayette (12-21, 7-13), which had emerged victorious in the previous three meetings this season against its archrival, led through the early innings. The Leopards scored a run in the first and second innings. Adam Rosenberg drove in the Leopards' run in the opening frame, beating out a potential doubleplay ball as Rob Fioretti crossed home to give Lafayette a 1-0 lead.
The Leopards added another run in the second. Adam Bucci led off with a single to right. Rob Kulish's sac bunt moved him to second, and Tripp Williams pushed him to third with a sac fly. The next batter, Matt Skellan, laid down a bunt single to score Bucci and give Lafayette a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Lafayette starter Matt Tambellini was perfect through the first four innings, not allowing a Lehigh baserunner. In the top of the fifth, however, Lehigh broke through. Jeremy Mack led off the inning with a bunt single. An RBI-single by Jeff Baker scored him to make it 3-1. Back-to-back doubles by Andrew Smith and Forrest Doane gave Lehigh a 3-2 margin. Lafayette head coach Joe Kinney was forced to go to reliever Hank Fichtner who got the final two outs of the innings.
Lafayette knotted the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Jeff Rodgers, who is batting at a .435 clip in conference play, led off the inning with a double. Jason Boyd connected for a two-out double that scored Rodgers and tied the game.
The Mountain Hawks (19-22, 9-11) continued to swing a hot bat in the sixth, starting the inning off with a pair of singles off Fichtner. Drew Moyer came on in relief and inherited runners on first and third and no outs. Moyer got the first out of the inning on a pop up, but the next batter Jeff Quiros' check swing dribbler to first scored the go-ahead run.
Brandon Ripley came on to face Baker with runners on second and third. With the infield in, Baker hit a fielder's choice to Rodgers who attempted to throw home to cut down a runner, but Rodgers' throw was wide and allowed two runs to score. Lehigh tacked on its final run of the inning on a Doane single to make it 7-3.
Lafayette had a final chance in the bottom of the seventh. Unfortunately for the Leopards, the rally didn't start until there were two outs in the inning. Fioretti's walk got things going. Rodgers connected for his second hit of the game, a single to left, to put runners on first and second. Boyd (3-for-4) doubled down the left field line to score Fioretti and make it 7-4. Rosenberg came to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs, but Lehigh pitcher Jack Muscalus enticed him into a groundout back to the mound to end the game.
Muscalus (6-3) threw the final four innings of the game to get the win. He allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five. He came on in relief of Adam Marr who tossed three innings and allowed two runs on four hits. Fichtner (1-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season. He allowed two runs on two hits. Tambellini threw four and a third innings, surrendering three runs on four hits.
With the win, Lehigh claimed the third and final spot in the Patriot League Tournament field. Lehigh and Army finished with identical league records of 9-11, but Lehigh owned the head-to-head tiebreaker after taking three of four games from Army earlier in the season.
Lafayette returns to action Wednesday, when it hosts Rutgers at 3:30 p.m. The two teams have played each other at least once in every season since 1921 with the exception of 1990.
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