BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh shortstop John Elson batted 3-for-7 with one run, a double and two RBIs to help lead the Mountain Hawks to a twin bill sweep of Holy Cross, 1-0 and 3-0, in Patriot League baseball action on Saturday afternoon at Goodman Campus Stadium. With the wins, Lehigh improves to 15-14 overall and 5-4 in the conference, while the Crusaders fall to 10-21 on the season and 3-5 in the league.
GAME 1: Lehigh 1, Holy Cross 0
After two scoreless innings by both teams, Lehigh grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Tim McKay led off the inning with a single and moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt during the next at bat. After he moved over to third on a wild pitch, he scored on a Justin Pacchioli single through the left side to give the Mountain Hawks the 1-0 lead.
The Crusaders put together a rally in the top of the sixth inning, but were unable to push any runs across the board. Holy Cross sophomore Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) led off the frame with a single up the middle and moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.). Holy Cross junior Jack St. Clair (Newton, Mass.) and freshman Anthony Critelli (Holmdel, N.J.) loaded the bases on a hit by pitch and base on balls, respectively. Lehigh, however forced a double play during the next at bat to end the inning and preserve the one-run lead.
Mountain Hawk starting pitcher Colin Gotzon pitched a no-hit seventh inning to claim the 1-0 shutout victory for Lehigh. He tossed a complete game (3-1) and allowed three hits and two walks, while fanning seven batters. Holy Cross freshman starter Ben White (Holden, Mass.) was charged with the loss (0-3), as he allowed one run and six hits in 4.2 innings pitched.
Lovullo batted 2-for-4 with a double in the contest, as the Mountain Hawks held the 6-3 advantage in total hits.
GAME 2: Lehigh 3, Holy Cross 0
Lehigh grabbed the early lead in game two, as it struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to claim the 2-0 advantage. Elson brought home Mike Garzillo and Joe Abeln on a two-RBI double for the contest's first runs. Holy Cross looked as if it would answer in the top of the second inning, as Cipolla and sophomore catcher Connor Perry (Haverhill, Mass.) led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Lehigh, however, forced a double play during the next at bat to get two quick outs and later ended the inning without allowing any runs.
The Mountain Hawks added their final run of the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning. Elson scored the run on a squeeze bunt to give Lehigh the 3-0 lead. The Crusaders were held hitless over the final three frames, as Lehigh claimed the 3-0 victory.
Mountain Hawk starter Mike Burke picked up the win (2-2), as he tossed 6.2 scoreless innings and allowed four hits and five walks, while striking out five. Reliever Nick Cassell notched his fourth save of the year with 2.1 perfect innings out of the bullpen with four punchouts. Crusader freshman starting pitcher Phil Reese (Frederick, Md.) was charged with the loss (2-3), as he surrendered two runs on four hits and two walks.
No Holy Cross player had multiple hits in the second contest, as the Mountain Hawks edged the Crusaders, 5-4, in the hitting department.
Lehigh and Holy Cross will conclude their four-game series with a doubleheader on Sunday, April 13 in Bethlehem, Pa, with the first pitch set for 12:00 p.m.