BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The final seven league games of the regular season are crucial for the Lehigh baseball team as they complete the home roster with three games against Holy Cross at J. David Walker Field — a doubleheader Saturday and a single-game Sunday — this weekend. both begin at 12:00 p.m. Saturday’s doubleheader is Senior Day as the program will honor seven members of the senior division and both games will be streamed live on ESPN+ (subscription required).
The Mountain Hawks (21-19, 8-10 PL) are playing five of their last seven games against the Crusaders to close out the year and are still searching for a Patriot League tournament spot for the second straight season.
Lehigh earned a season series win over Bucknell after beating the Bison in two of three games last weekend in Lewisburg. The Mountain Hawks clinched a midweek 9-4 win over Cairn Thursday afternoon at Walker Field after a two-hit performance by the pitching staff with 13 hits on offense.
Junior right-hander Will Grisack (1-2, 8.27 ERA) shoved three innings of relief with no hits and no runs allowed and batted three with zero walks to earn his first win of the year against the Highlanders. Six pitchers combined to allow two hits and put a no-hitter in the eighth inning.
At the record, four sophomore players recorded multi-hit plays Tyler Young went 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Senior Casey Rother continues to be the catalyst on the Lehigh offense and has paced the team in 40 games for the Mountain Hawks this year with a .348 batting average. He has a total of 56 hits with 15 doubles, a triple and five home runs and has 33 total runs. Young (.339), sophomore Riley Davis (.330) and older Joe Gorla (.328) is hitting everyone over .300 this season to lead the offense.
Lehigh’s offense has hit 38 total home runs as a team this season, the most in the Patriot League. The number is led by Junior Adam Retzbachs Eight long balls topped the Patriot League this season, a career high for the catcher. Retzbach also hit a team high in 40 games with 39 runs and 40 goals.
On the hill, senior left-handed Luke Rettig (7-2, 2.14) has been phenomenal all season and continues to lead the rotation looking for his eighth win of the season on Saturday. His eighth win would tie him with Joe Matteo in 2006 for the second most wins in a single season in program history. Program record holder is Dave Cerminaro in 2002 with nine. Rettig has hit 57 batters with 25 walks. With 193 career strikeouts, he’s just seven away from 200 for his career, making him the fifth player in program history to reach that milestone and the first since Matteo ’08.
Older left-hander MattStamford (3-4, 5.51) has been efficient in starts lately and will be a key puzzle piece in the rotation this weekend. Stamford has hit 36 with 19 walks in 49.0 innings, nine starts total. Junior right-hander Ben Christian (2-4, 5.31) was also successful in the rotation with 23 strikeouts in 40.2 innings.
Holy Cross (13-32, 7-11 PL) have won two games in a row, including a weekend win over Lafayette on Sunday and a 3-1 win at Dartmouth on Tuesday. The Crusaders won two of three Weekend Series wins over the weekend against the Leopards.
Freshman Nick Wang is a contender for Patriot League Player of the Year this season with a .376 batting average in 37 games and 50 total hits with 18 doubles, a triple and a home run. He also ran 25 times and hit base with a .479 clip. He is the only Crusader to hit over .300 this season, closely followed by Sean Scanlon (.294) and Sam Kirkpatrick (.288).
In 12 appearances, Luke Fox (2-1, 3.31) is the Crusaders’ bullpen leader with 13 strikeouts and just three walks in 16.1 innings, while Trevor Neff (3-1, 4.08) has 18 this season Clearance plays included 23 strikeouts and six walks in 28.2 innings.
Jack DiLauro (0-5, 5.21), Nate Chudy (2-4, 4.55) and Alex Bryant (0-1, 4.00) are three likely names to look out for this weekend in regards to the starting rotation of the Holy Cross.
The Crusaders have a slim lead over Lehigh in the all-time series, 69-61. The Mountain Hawks swept the Crusaders three out of four last year, including a big win at the end of the season in Worcester, to clinch the Patriot League regular-season title.
Lehigh will honor seven members of the senior class – Chase Carlson, Gerhard Sweeney, Joe Gorla, Luke Rettig, Nick Pave, Casey Rother and MattStamford – with a special pre-game ceremony at 11:40 am Saturday morning before the first pitch of the doubleheader.
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