Baseball Swept at Army in Patriot League Tournament Semifinal
May 12, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Lafayette baseball team pushed No. 1 seed Army to its limit on Saturday in the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals at West Point, but the Black Knights had an answer for every Leopard outburst en route to sweeping the series, 8-7 and 6-3.
Lafayette concludes its season at 14-37-1. The Leopards were the No. 4 seed in the tournament on the heels of a 7-13 Patriot League mark. Army won the regular season title with an 18-2 record and improves to 39-12 overall.
Andrew Santomauro led the hitting corps with five hits - including a pair of doubles, an RBI, four runs scored and a stolen base. Highlighted by his first career home run, Thomas Dunleavy had three hits and drove in a pair of runs. Parker Hills had three hits and two RBI in the series opener before leaving the nightcap in the first inning due to injury. Bobby Fargnoli, Scott Kelleher and Tim Lazor each had two hits, with Fargnoli picking up a pair of RBI. Brian Davila, Brad Hopek and Kevin McCarville had one hit apiece, with Hopek, McCarville and Andrew Ruck all knocking in a run.
In Game 1, the Leopards started the scoring the top of the first inning. Santomauro led off with a double and Fargnoli was hit by a pitch. With two out, Ruck was hit to load the bases, and Hills followed with a single through the left side to plate two and give Lafayette an early 2-0 lead.
Lafayette extended its lead in the second frame without the benefit of a base hit. Kelleher walked to lead off and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Davila. Santomauro then worked a walk and Dunleavy was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The next batter was Fargnoli, who was plunked for a second time to push a run across. Hopek then earned the fifth free pass of the inning to score another run, and a Ruck RBI groundout spotted the Leopards a 5-0 advantage.
After each club was retired in order in the third, Santomauro led off the fourth frame with a single and then moved to third on consecutive wild pitches. Dunleavy drove him in with a single to push the lead to 6-0 before the Black Knights got on the board in the bottom of the stanza on an RBI groundout by Mark McCants.
Two innings later, McCants hit a two-run homer and J.T. Watkins struck a two-run shot to trim the lead to 6-5. After loading the bases, the Black Knights pulled even when Kevin McKague was hit by a pitch and then took a lead on a walk issued to McCants. Army extended the lead to 8-6 in the seventh on a Watkins base hit.
The Leopards took a run back in the top of the eighth inning. Santomauro legged out an infield single and moved into scoring position with his 11th stolen base of the season. Fargnoli brought him home with two outs, driving a single back up the middle to cut the margin to 8-7.
However, Lafayette would get no closer as Gunnar Carroll fired a perfect ninth to close out an 8-7 victory for the host Black Knights.
John Gentile started on the mound for Lafayette. The right-hander ceded six earned runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings of work. Chris Boyce (2-1) took the loss, allowing the go-ahead run in 0.2 innings of work. Ethan Perro recorded one out and Sean McGrath retired the final five batters.
Chris Rowley, the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, earned the win to improve to 11-0. Rowley allowed six earned runs on seven hits and three walks. The right-hander struck out five batters and hit four. Carroll notched his seventh save of the spring.
With Lafayette acting as the "home team" in the nightcap, Army got on the board in the top of the first with a two-run, two-out single off the bat of Patriot League Rookie of the Year Harold Earls. The Leopards took one back courtesy of Dunleavy's solo roundtripper to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
The clubs traded zeroes at that point, until Watkins singled home McKague for an unearned tally in the top of the fifth to extend Army's cushion to 3-1.
Lafayette's offense got going once again in the bottom of the sixth via a two-out rally. Kelleher started the action with a double to the gap in right centerfield. After Davila worked a walk to keep the inning alive, Santomauro scorched a two-bagger down the left field line to plate Kelleher and pull the Leopards within a run at 3-2.
The Black Knights responded in the top of the seventh, scratching out a run on a squeeze bunt by Cody Murtle. Then a trio of singles gave the Leopards a run in their half of the frame. Fargnoli and Hopek set the table, and McCarville cashed in with an RBI base-knock to the run the score to 4-3 in favor of Army.
Lafayette would not score again, however, and the Black Knights tacked on a pair of late insurance runs to close out the series with a 6-3 win.
Toby Schwartz (1-4) allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks in four innings to take the loss. Jeff Snell worked the next 3.1 frames and Alex Farina fired a perfect 1.2 to finish the contest on the bump.
Army's Logan Lee (7-2) was the winner on the bump with 6.1 innings of work, surrendering 10 hits and three earned runs. Manny Fernandez worked two innings and Carroll got the last two outs to record his eighth save.
The Leopards were competing in their seventh Patriot League Tournament - all under 13-year Head Coach Joe Kinney - and making their second straight postseason appearance.