Leopards Fall to Army
May 16, 2009
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Lafayette baseball squad, making its first return to the Patriot League Championship since the team's title run in 2007, was swept by the No. 2 seed Black Knights, 6-2 and 8-1, on Saturday in West Point. The Leopards became the second-straight No. 4 seed to advance to the championship series and finished the season with 24 victories.
Lafayette (24-29) out-hit the Black Knights (33-18) in both games but failed to get the clutch hits it needed as the team combined for just three runs against Army. The Leopards committed seven errors in the two games that led to five unearned Army runs. The Black Knights captured their first Patriot League title since the 2005 season.
In game one, the Leopards had six hits from six different batters and while the Black Knights combined for only five hits off Lafayette starter Zach Fritz and reliever Ryan Hanna, they used those hits - two of which were home runs - to help score six runs.
In the bottom of the second, Ben Koenigsfeld knocked a shot over the left centerfield fence to give Army the early, 1-0 edge.
Rob Froio got the Leopards' first hit of the ballgame with a one-out, infield single in the third but was left stranded, keeping it a 1-0 ballgame.
Justin Shepherd led off the fourth with a bloop single to shallow leftfield and an Army error on a ball hit by Matt Hall put runners on the corners with no one out. Matt Fenster came through with a RBI double off the right field fence to knot the game at one, and a RBI groundout by Alex Bechta made it a 2-1 Leopard lead.
Fritz hit two batters in the fifth and with one man out, Andy Ernesto came to the plate and put a ball over the right field fence for a three-run blast that handed the lead (4-2) back to Army.
Fritz put two more runners on base in the sixth but also struck out three batters to keep it a 4-2 ballgame heading into the seventh.
After Fritz put two runners on in the seventh, head coach Joe Kinney called on Hanna. Joey Henshaw greeted Hanna with a two-RBI double that made it 6-2, which remained the final score as the Leopards put just two runners on base in the final two innings.
Army struck first in game two with a three-run third inning that was aided by three Lafayette errors. Kyle Fleming led off with a single and advanced to second on a fielder's choice. A failed pickoff attempt sent him to third and he scored on J.T. Watkins' RBI single to second base. An error by A.J. Pisarri on the play allowed another run to score. Lafayette's third error in the inning, this one on third baseman Justin Shepherd, made it a 3-0 Army lead.
The Black Knights scored another two runs the next inning on two hits. Both runs came courtesy of a J.T. Watkins single to right field.
Jeremy Atkins came on to pitch in the fifth inning and gave up a run on a Kevin McKague's RBI double to make it 6-1.
Hanna saw his second action of the day when he relieved Atkins with no one out in the sixth. Two sac flies upped the lead to 8-1.
Hanna shutout the Black Knights in his four innings of work, but the Lafayette offense continued to struggle against Army starter Ben Koenigsfeld and the score remained 8-1 heading into the ninth. Hanna finished the day with 5.2 innings of shutout ball.
The Leopards put two runners on in the ninth but Brian Davila was retired to end the game as Army clinched the title with the two-game sweep.
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