Army Returns To Pennsylvania To Face Lafayette This Weekend

Alex Jensen

Alex Jensen

April 11, 2013

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army baseball team continues its Patriot League schedule this weekend (April 13-14) when the Black Knights travel to Easton, Pa., to face the Lafayette College Leopards in a pivotal four-game series.

The conference rivals, who begin this weekend's action tied for fifth place in the Patriot League standings, will play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. Army (3-5 PL) and Lafayette (3-5 PL) are each just one game out of second place in the conference standings and three games behind league-leading Holy Cross (6-2 PL).

Holy Cross will host Navy (4-4 PL) this Saturday and Sunday in Worcester, Mass., while the other weekend series features Bucknell traveling to Lehigh. The Bison (4-4 PL) and Mountain Hawks (4-4 PL) are tied with Navy for second place in the conference standings.

Fans who are unable to make the trek to the Lehigh Valley will be able to follow the action via GameTracker by logging onto Army's official athletics website (www.goARMYsports.com) and navigating to the baseball schedule page. In-game Twitter updates will also be provided from the official Twitter handle of Army baseball (@Army_Baseball).

Army (12-16, 3-5 PL) is coming off an 8-2 victory against Fordham on Wednesday. Justin Reece went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and Patrick Mescher finished 2-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored to lead the Black Knights to the non-conference win.

Army will look to post its first Patriot League series win of the season this weekend against a Lafayette squad that carries a 6-26 overall record into Saturday's twinbill. The Black Knights opened their conference slate by dropping three of four games to Navy, before splitting a four-game set against Lehigh last weekend.

Army enters the Lafayette series ranked near the middle of the Patriot League in team ERA (4.71) and team batting average (.258). The Black Knights have five players hitting better than .300 this season.

Alex Jensen, who lists second on the team with a .333 batting average, currently leads Army in base hits (35), runs batted in (22), doubles (six), slugging percentage (.438) and total bases (46). He also lists second with 23 runs scored.

Patrick Mescher paces the team with a .337 batting average and ranks among the club's leaders with 18 RBI and 20 runs scored. Jacob Page, who ranks fifth on the club with a .301 batting average, tops the Black Knights with three home runs and is tied with Jensen for the team lead in RBI (22). He is also second on the squad with three doubles, seven stolen bases and a .430 slugging percentage.

Chris Rowley (3-3, 3.30 ERA), who was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week after tossing his first shutout of the season in Army's 1-0 victory against Lehigh last Saturday, paces the Black Knights with 37 strikeouts. Sophomore RHP Alex Robinett (4-2, 3.43 ERA) leads the team with four wins and 44.2 innings pitched, while listing second with 29 strikeouts. Brock Davidson (1-3, 4.82 ERA) has emerged as a solid weekend starter for Army, having posted a team-best 1.64 earned run average in Patriot League games.

Lafayette (3-5 PL) has lost six of its last seven games overall after suffering a 9-6 setback at La Salle on Tuesday afternoon. The Leopards allowed 50 runs to Patriot League foe Holy Cross last weekend in dropping three of four games to the first-place Crusaders.

Lafayette has struggled on the pitching mound throughout the season as the Leopards own the worst earned run average in the Patriot League (7.52). Lafayette also brings the second-worst team batting average (.248) into this weekend's competition.

Kevin Casey leads Lafayette with a .308 batting average and 23 runs scored, while Andrew Ruck tops the Leopards with three home runs. Parker Hills paces the team with nine doubles and 19 runs batted in. Thomas Dunleavy (.288 batting average, four doubles) and Andrew Santomauro (six doubles, three triples, 18 runs scored) have been consistent offensive contributors for the Leopards as well.

Michael Massa (2-4) leads Lafayette's pitching staff with 39.2 innings pitched, ranks second with a 4.76 ERA and lists tied for third with 18 strikeouts. Alex Farina (0-6, 9.46 ERA) tops Lafayette's pitching staff with 22 strikeouts. Toby Schwartz (1-5, 6.07 ERA) and Connor Ortolf (0-4, 7.76 ERA) also figure to draw starts this weekend.

Army and Lafayette have met 131 times since the series began in 1896. The Black Knights hold a 74-55-1 edge in the all-time series after winning six games against the Leopards last season. Army took all four meetings during the regular season in 2012, before sweeping Lafayette out of the postseason in the Patriot League semifinals. Army has won 20 of the last 24 meetings between the conference rivals, dating back to 2008.

Following this weekend's series, Army returns home on Wednesday, April 17, when the Black Knights host Manhattan at 3:30 p.m.

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