NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- A ninth inning rally fell short for the Iona College baseball program this afternoon at Lehigh as the hosts earned a 7-5 non-conference victory.
Trailing 7-4 heading into the ninth inning, the Gaels scored on a RBI double from Joe DeMaio and later loaded the bases with two outs and trailing 7-5. However, a final ground out from Lehigh (12-24) pitcher Sam Ashley earned the victory for Mountain Hawks.
DeMaio and Fran Kinsey each led the team with three hits on the day while DeMaio added two RBI that included a homerun. Meanwhile, Niko Switalla drew three walks while tallying a hit, a run and a RBI. Seth Hoagland added a pair of hits and a run scored.
Jeff Shanfeldt put Lehigh ahead in the second inning with a solo homerun on a 2-0 count. The Mountain Hawks added a run each in the third and fourth innings with Chris Kersey scoring on a wild pitch followed by another solo homerun for David Young.
Iona started a rally in the fifth as DeMaio led the inning off with a homerun to left field on a 1-1 count. Kinsey scored the second run of the inning on a throwing error after stealing third base. Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, the Maroon & Gold claimed the lead in the seventh as Switalla picked up a RBI single before Lou Matarazzo drove a double to right center to score Switalla, giving Iona a 4-3 advantage.
Lehigh quickly reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the seventh as Kersey tied the game with a RBI double. Tony Gallo gave the Mountain Hawks the lead for good by scoring on a wild pitch. A two RBI triple from Connor Donovan provided necessary insurance runs during the eighth inning as Lehigh claimed a 7-4 advantage heading into the ninth.
The Gaels quickly return to action with a trip to New Haven, CT on Wednesday for a 3:30 pm non-conference contest at Yale.