Baseball stays afloat in Patriot League, will play for conference tournament bid this weekend

Lafayette baseball is on track to compete in its first conference tournament in four years. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

The Lafayette baseball team played two Patriot League doubleheaders this past weekend, as well as non-conference games on Tuesday and Wednesday. They split both weekend series, Saturday at Bucknell University and Sunday at Navy.

Lafayette took the first game against Bucknell 12-4, before losing the second game 6-2. Against Navy, the team won the first game 5-2 and then lost the second game 3-1. They won their last game of the road trip in a 15-0 thrashing of Rider University, before returning to Easton where they lost 7-1 to Seton Hall University.

“Defensively we played well and our pitching was great,” sophomore infielder Ethan Stern said. “Hitting, at points, got flat, but when we needed to pick it up we did so. I think we have really improved on getting behind our teammates. When we’re scoring runs or getting big stops it has always been a team effort.”

In the win over Bucknell, Stern went 3-3, while seniors first baseman Richard Villa and outfielder Dan Leckie each added two hits. In the team’s win over Navy, junior pitcher Brett Kreyer went the distance for a compete game, allowing just two earned runs. Stern’s go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 7th inning started a three-run inning which led the Leopards to victory.

“In the past game against Navy that we won, it was runners on second and third with no outs and our pitcher Brett Kreyer gathered himself and got the next three outs,” Stern said. “We got out of that jam. Then, we worked off that and our hitters put up runs after that to win the game.”

In the blowout win against Rider, junior Mark Anderson threw six innings, allowing just two hits and no runs. Junior outfielder Jake Sniegocki and freshman infielder Justin Johnson contributed four RBIs each, as Johnson hit the only home run on the day. Sophomore catcher Hunter Silvernail reached base four times in five plate appearances, and scored three times.

On Wednesday, the Leopards fell well short against Seton Hall, failing to collect a hit until the eighth inning. They managed only one more hit afterwards in the ninth. Their sole run came in the seventh in the 7-1 contest, off a walk and three errors by the Pirates.

Lafayette now sits two games ahead of Lehigh for fourth place in the conference, where the top four teams make the tournament. Both teams have four games left, all home, with two against Holy Cross and Army, each.

“It was the first time we beat Navy in a couple of years,” Stern added. “I am glad we got that out of the way. It was an especially good weekend, as it set us up to make it to the Patriot League Tournament. However, we still need to take care of business this upcoming weekend.”

On Saturday, the Leopards take on Holy Cross at home in a doubleheader before Army comes to Easton to close out the Patriot League schedule on Sunday. Lafayette looks to secure a Patriot League Tournament bid for the first time since 2015.

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