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May 23rd, 2012

Army splits two games with Holy Cross in PLCS

Logan Lee tossed a three-hit shutout to lead top-seeded Army past second-seeded Holy Cross, 4-0 on Sunday.
West Point - Logan Lee tossed a three-hit shutout to lead top-seeded Army past second-seeded Holy Cross, 4-0, in the first game of the Patriot League Championship Series on a warm and sun-splashed Sunday afternoon at Doubleday Field.

The Crusaders (33-21) rallied past the Black Knights (40-13) to post a 7-4 victory in the nightcap, forcing a winner-take-all championship contest on Monday afternoon. Game three of the PLCS will be played on Monday beginning at 12 p.m.

Lee (8-2) was masterful throughout his start, facing just four over the minimum and retiring the final 11 Holy Cross batters of the game. He struck out two, walked one and induced two double plays. Lee, who got 15 groundball outs in the contest, allowed just two runners to reach second base.

Army pushed across two runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to provide Lee with all the run support he would need. Harold Earls went 2-for-4 to pace Army’s eight-hit attack.

“I thought Logan gave us a gutsy effort in the opener,” said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. “He really set the tone for us in that first game, controlling both sides of the plate, throwing three pitches for strikes and commanding the strike zone.”

The second game was a seesaw affair that saw Holy Cross score two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to overcome a 4-3 deficit and secure a 7-4 decision. Jordan Enos and Brandon Cipolla both went 2-for-3 to support John Colella (6-1), who fired 3.1 innings of relief to pick up the victory.

After four scoreless innings in the first game, Army took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Zach Price and Daniel Cortes were both plunked by pitches, and then executed a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. Kevin McKague then lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, and J.T. Watkins ripped an RBI single as the Black Knights drew first blood.

Army extended its lead to 4-0 in the sixth inning on Alex Jensen’s two-run double following Andrew Johnson and Clayton Mosley’s consecutive singles.
Lee slammed the door on Holy Cross from that point forward, retiring the Crusaders in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings en route to a complete-game shutout.
Holy Cross starter Nate Koneski (7-3) took the loss as the Crusaders’ ace allowed four runs on seven hits. He struck out five, and hit four batters.

Army took an early 1-0 edge in the nightcap as the Black Knights manufactured an unearned run in the top of the third inning. Matthew Carter laced a one-out double down the left field line and was able to move to third base when left fielder Chris Sintetos misplayed the ball. Carter later scored on a passed ball.

Holy Cross countered in the fourth inning, taking a 2-1 lead as Enos and Cipolla both crushed solo home runs to left field. The Crusaders made it 3-1 in the fifth on Enos’ sacrifice fly.

Army plated a pair of unearned runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 3-3. The Black Knights then moved in front, 4-3, in the seventh inning on Cortes’ RBI single. Price singled with one out, stole second base and scored when Cortes grounded a base hit through the right side of the infield.

Holy Cross rallied against Army reliever Manny Fernandez (4-1) in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-4 lead. The Crusaders tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth to cap the scoring.

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