BETHLEHEM, PA - Alex Robinett struck out five batters over seven strong innings, and Patrick Mescher drove in the game-winning run in the top of the sixth as Army defeated Lehigh, 3-1, in the first game of a Patriot League doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Goodman Campus. Lehigh posted a 19-10 victory in the nightcap to earn a split of the twinbill.
Robinett (4-2) allowed just one unearned run on five hits and did not walk a batter en route to his first complete-game victory of the season in the opener. Army (11-16, 3-5 PL) did just enough offensively in support of the sophomore right-hander, scoring single runs in the second, sixth and seventh innings. Mescher and Justin Reece both finished 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead Army’s eight-hit attack.
The Black Knights broke on top in the second inning of the first game when Mescher doubled, advanced to third on Jacob Page’s groundout and scored when Andrew Johnson bounced out to second base.
Lehigh came back to tie the score with an unearned run in the fourth inning when Joe Abeln singled, moved to second base on an error by the Army third baseman and later scored on a wild pitch.
Army moved in front for good in the sixth on Mescher’s RBI single. The Black Knights had runners on the corners with one out when Mescher came through with a single through the left side of the infield to plate Harold Earls with the go-ahead run.
Army tacked on an insurance run in the seventh as Dakari Cooke tripled to right center leading off the inning and scored on Reece’s RBI single.
Nick Stephens (1-4) was saddled with the loss in the first game after permitting two runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. He struck out six batters and issued a pair of walks. Abeln went 2-for-3 to lead the Mountain Hawks in the opener.
Lehigh (17-14, 4-4 PL) scored 12 times in the third inning of the nightcap to overcome an early 3-1 deficit and take control of the contest. John Elson went 5-for-6 with four RBI and three runs scored to pace the Mountain Hawks’ 22-hit outburst. Justin Pacchioli finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored, while Casey Turner and Connor Faust both went 2-for-5 with three RBI apiece.
Page smacked a pair of home runs and finished 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored to pace Army in the second game. Connor Love collected two hits, while Alex Jensen blasted his first career home run and ended the game 1-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored.
Lehigh took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap on Abeln’s RBI groundout, but Army knotted the score in the top of the second on Page’s first homer of the day.
The Black Knights then took a 3-1 lead in the top of the third on Jensen’s two-run shot, but Lehigh sent 16 men to the plate and scored 12 runs on 10 hits in the home half of the third to establish a commanding 13-3 advantage. Only half of the Mountain Hawks’ runs in the frame were earned as they took advantage of a costly Army error.
A two-run double by Turner increased Lehigh’s lead to a very comfortable 15-3 in the fourth inning, but Army scored twice in the top of the fifth to make it 15-5.
Elson’s solo home run in the bottom of the fifth pushed the Mountain Hawks’ cushion to 16-5, but Army plated four runs on two hits in the top of the seventh to make it 16-9. LU added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend its edge to 19-9, and Page’s solo home run in the ninth for the Black Knights capped the game’s scoring.
Mike Burke (3-1) was the beneficiary of the run support and picked up the victory for Lehigh after striking out six over five innings of work. He allowed five runs on five hits and did not walk a batter.
Army starter Gunnar Carroll (2-4) was touched for nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits in 2.1 innings and took the loss for the Black Knights.
The Black Knights baseball team will next return to action when they host Fordham University.