Feb. 9, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Navy senior team captain Michael Garcia (Kailua, Hawai'i) went 4-for-4 with a pair of walks and two RBIs to lead the Midshipmen to a 12-3, season-opening victory at Florida A&M on Friday afternoon at Moore-Kittles Field.
The Midshipmen tallied 13 hits and walked nine times in winning their third-consecutive season opener. However, Navy stranded 14 runners and committed four errors. Florida A&M made six errors, leading to six unearned runs, in falling to 0-5 on the year.
"Today was a typical first game from the standpoint of hitting and defense," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We struck out nine times and left 14 guys on base, but we also racked up 13 hits. We have a lot to work on, with the key element being our ability to get into good hitting counts and executing."
Garcia's four hits established a career high and his two RBIs matched a career high he set at Bucknell last season. Dating back to the end of the 2006 season, he has hit safely in eight-straight games, recording a .500 (16-for-32) batting average with three doubles during the streak.
"Michael had a good game and was key for our offense today," Kostacopoulos said. "The sixth hitter has to be a clutch hitter, hitting with guys on base and stringing together the order. He either started or kept something going today."
Navy scored in each of the first-three innings to storm out to an 8-0 lead. Five different Midshipmen hitters drove in a run over the opening-three innings and sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning.
The Rattlers would pull within 9-3 after six innings, but the Mids tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth, capped by junior center fielder's Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.) two-run single down the right field line.
Harris struck out seven Rattlers in five innings and allowed only two hits in getting the win. Harris held the hosts hitless over the first-four innings before Jared Jeffries' single snapped an 11.2-inning consecutive hitless streak by Harris, dating back to the 2006 season. Harris finished his day on the mound with 93 pitches, 60 of which went for strikes.
"Mitch pitched a pretty good game for his first time out this season," said Kostacopoulos. "He had great velocity to start the game. The errors did bump up his pitch count, but he was in complete command of the game."
Hollins produced at the top of the order for Navy, going 2-for-3 with three walks, a double and four runs scored. The four times across the plate tied the fourth-highest single-game total in the program's 112-year history.
Freshman Kendall Bolt (Stockton, Calif.) registered a 3-for-6 effort at the plate in his first-collegiate game, scoring once and driving in a run.
Freshman Chris Murray (Navarre, Fla.), senior James Lee (Asheville, N.C.) and freshman Jonathan Berkowitz (Parkland, Fla.) combined to hold the Rattlers to one run and two hits with five strikeouts in four innings of relief.
Florida A&M starting pitcher Drew Cook was tagged with the loss on Friday, as he gave up six hits and six runs, only two of which were earned, in 1.1 innings on the hill. Cook's record dropped to 0-2 on the year with the setback.
The Midshipmen and the Rattlers will play the second game of the three-game set tomorrow afternoon, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.