Feb. 15, 2013
NORFOLK, Va. -
The Navy baseball team opened the 2013 season on Friday by splitting a doubleheader with Norfolk State at Marty L. Miller Field in Norfolk, Va. The Mids won the opener, 4-3, and then suffered a 7-6 setback in game two. The two teams are scheduled to complete the three-game series tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., however potentially inclement weather could alter the start time.
Navy took game one behind a two-RBI effort from junior first baseman Kash Manzelli and a strong outing by staring pitcher Ben Nelson. The senior right-hander went seven complete innings, yielding just five hits while registering six strikeouts. Nelson retired the Spartans in order in the second, fifth, sixth and seventh innings as he won his second consecutive Opening Day start.
"Ben was rock solid today. He settled in after the first inning and really did a nice job," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos.
In game two, Navy fought back from a 6-2 deficit to tie it up, but wound up falling on a walk-off RBI single in the seven-inning contest.
"For Opening Day, it was very good baseball," said Kostacopoulos. "It was very evenly played. I thought we played 16 complete innings today."
Trailing 1-0 in game one, the Mids got on the board with a solo run in the top of the third. David Wiedeman drew a leadoff walk and worked his way over to third via a sacrifice bunt and groundout before scoring on a wild pitch from NSU starter Justin Bhatti.
Manzelli, who went 2-for-3, gave Navy its first lead of the game in the top of the fourth inning as his double to left center field scored Brandon Beans.
Navy's lead didn't hold for long though as a fielder's choice RBI by Cody Ellis in the bottom of the fourth allowed Tyon Ore to cross home plate and tie the game, 2-2.
Still tied at two in the top of the sixth frame, Bhatti issued consecutive one-out walks to Manzelli and Craig Veech. Two batters later, freshman Robert Currie broke the tie with a two-out RBI single through the middle. Currie's second hit of the game allowed Manzelli to score to give Navy another one-run lead, 3-2.
Manzelli came through again in the following inning with another RBI single with two outs. Facing NSU reliever Troy Applin, Manzelli singled through the right side to score Dave Milanes, giving Navy a 4-2 advantage.
Senior Joel Rinehart replaced Nelson in the bottom of the eighth and retired the first batter, but the Spartans' Chase Kyriacou followed with a single and then consecutive walks loaded the bases. A fielder's choice RBI by Ore scored a run to cut the Navy lead to 4-3. Rinehart ended the threat in the next at-bat, getting Ross Cardwell to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice.
In the bottom of the ninth, Rinehart yielded a one-out single, but then got a pair of lineouts to end the game and earn the 13th save of his career.
Bhatti took the loss for Norfolk State as he allowed three runs off five hits.
Like game one, the Spartans scored a solo run in the bottom of the first inning of game two. Navy quickly responded in the top of the second frame courtesy of a double to left center field by catcher Jack Keller that scored Beans. Keller scored later in the inning off a passed ball to give the Mids the lead, 2-1.
A Cody Ellis RBI single in the bottom of the second inning tied the game again and then the Spartans took a 4-2 lead in the next frame. A wild pitch from Navy starter Anthony Parenti allowed the first Spartan run to score in the third inning and an unearned run later made it 4-2.
Ore extended NSU's lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning with a double of Navy's Johnny Schoberl, who replaced starter Anthony Parenti in the fourth.
The Mids got back in the game with the help of a two-out error by the third baseman, Kyriacou, in the top of the sixth inning. The error gave the Mids a pair of runners and Wiedeman took advantage with a double to left field that scored Keller. The next batter, Currie, picked up his first hit of game two as he singled to center field and brought in two more runs to cut the deficit to 6-5.
Schoberl retired the side in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving Navy the chance to tie the game in the final frame. Ray Morton took over for NSU starting pitcher Chris Horne and issued a leadoff walk to Milanes. Greg Dupell followed with an RBI double to center field, tying the game at six. The Mids were unable to take back the lead however, as Morton retired the next three batters.
In the bottom of the seventh, Cameron Day drew a walk and Zack Markel then singled to give the Spartans a pair of base runners with no outs. Ore, who finished the game 3-for-3, followed with an RBI single down the right field line to give NSU the walk-off win, 7-6.
Morton took the win for NSU, while Schoberl took the loss for Navy. Schoberl allowed three runs off five hits, walked two batters and struck out three in 2.1 innings of work. Parenti yielded four runs, three earned, off seven hits.
Both Milanes and Dupell had a pair of hits in game two for the Midshipmen.
"We showed a lot of determination today," said Kostacopoulos. "We were able to come back and score four runs in the last two innings and that was good to see."