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April 25th, 2012

Black Knights take regular season title



Logan Lee
West Point - Logan Lee threw the fourth no-hitter in school history in the opener, and Army outlasted Bucknell in a 15-inning thriller in the nightcap as the Black Knights clinched the Patriot League regular-season title by sweeping both ends of a conference doubleheader from the Bison on Saturday afternoon at Doubleday Field.

Lee carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and finished with Army’s first no-hitter since 1957 as the Black Knights took an 8-0 decision in the opener. Army then edged Bucknell, 2-1, in a 15-inning pitchers’ duel in the nightcap.

Army (33-9, 16-0 PL) will be the top seed and have the luxury of home field advantage when the conference tournament begins next month. The Black Knights have won nine straight games and 28 of their last 33 contests. Army has won the regular-season conference title in six of the last nine years dating back to 2004.
Lee (5-1) came within three outs of a perfect game for the second straight week. The senior left-hander struck out seven batters and induced 10 groundball outs during his dominant outing.

Army gave Lee all the support he would need in the bottom of the first inning on Mark McCants’ three-run homer. Zach Price and Kevin McKague both walked in front of McCants, who crushed a towering home run over the fence in right field.

Army tacked on unearned runs in the fourth and fifth innings to stretch its lead to 5-0, and Cody Murtle’s three-run triple in the sixth capped the scoring.
Dan Goldstein (1-3) yielded five runs (three earned) on five hits in 4.2 innings in taking the loss for Bucknell. He walked four and struck out three.

Army took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap. Daniel Cortes drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a balk, moved to third base on McKague’s base hit and scored on J.T. Watkins’ sacrifice fly. Bucknell rallied to tie the score in the top of the third.

Both teams were then limited by excellent pitching, with neither squad pushing across a run until the bottom of the 15th, when Murtle’s RBI single plated McKague with the game-winning run.

Army starter Alex Robinett worked out of a jam in the fourth inning and retired the final seven Bison that he faced. Black Knight reliever Gunnar Carroll worked out of three bases-loaded situations during his seven-inning stint on the mound to keep Bucknell off the scoreboard.

BU’s most dangerous scoring threat came in the 12th when the Bison loaded the bases with no outs. Murtle then made the defensive play of the day when he caught Colby Vanderbeck’s fly ball in right field and threw home to double off Donato.

Army was not able to generate much offense against Bison reliever Alex Cillo, who held the Black Knights to two hits over seven scoreless innings.
Army finally broke through in the 15th with a two-out rally against Bucknell lefty Russell Seidell (2-3).

Manny Fernandez (4-0) collected the victory for the Black Knights after tossing two scoreless innings.

Army returns to action on Wednesday, April 25th, when they travel to Fishkill, NY, to face Marist in the seventh annual WRWD Hudson Valley Baseball Classic.

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