Seniors Leave Their Mark By Notching Record-Breaking 30th Win
May 6, 2007
EASTON, Pa. - Lafayette baseball won its 30th game and established a new single-season record for victories. It was Senior Day at the Class of 1978 Stadium and seniors James Conrad (4-for-5, 3 R) and Nick Benvenuto (2-for-3, 3 RBI) led the Leopards to a 9-1 victory.
All nine of Lafayette's seniors (Benvenuto, Conrad, Brian Cope, Dave Drechsel, John Fugett, Ted Gjeldum, Matt Kamine, Kevin Leasure and Mike Raible) were honored along with their parents prior to the final game of the three-game series with UMBC (11-32).
The four runs that Lafayette (30-17) put on the scoreboard staked freshman righthander Jeremy Atkins to a comfortable lead. Leasure plated the first run with a bases-loaded sac fly. Benvenuto had the big hit of the inning, doubling over the leftfielder's head to score three runs and place Lafayette ahead 4-0.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Leopards used their feet to score two runs. Daniel Bierce reached on a fielder's choice. The sophomore shortstop stole second and third before scoring on Conrad's RBI-single.
Conrad stole second and moved to third when he tagged on a fly ball. Then, the senior caught UMBC unaware, swiping home without a pitch being delivered. It was the third time in his career that he has stolen home.
Meanwhile, Atkins was cruising on the mound. He did not allow a baserunner to reach third base until the sixth inning and faced only 32 batters in eight innings.
The Leopards added two more runs in the seventh inning. Benvenuto (double) and Justin Shepherd (error) scored on Tom Hayes' single for the 8-0 lead. UMBC scored its only run of the afternoon in the eighth inning. Will Delawter doubled home Mike Scheffel to break up Atkins' bid for his first shutout of the season.
In the eighth, it was more of the senior class. Conrad singled to lead off and then stole second. Leasure drove in Conrad with a single as Lafayette led 9-1. Conrad's stolen base was his 42nd of the season and the 78th of his career. He needs just one more to become the all-time leader in Lafayette history. He currently ranks third in Patriot League history.
Jason Morytko struck out the side in the ninth inning in relief of Atkins, his team-leading 21st appearance of the season. Atkins (6-2) earned the victory while striking out a career-high eight batters. He gave up one run on six hits with just one walk. Bo Sauter (2-3) took the loss, responsible for six runs on nine hits in six innings.
Lafayette will have the week off from competition for final exams. Lafayette will then host the Patriot League Tournament on May 12 and 13 at Hilton Rahn Field at the Class of 1978 Stadium. On Saturday, Lafayette will play the winner of No. 2 Army vs. No. 3 Navy in the play-in game. Lafayette's game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of that game which begins at noon.