Feb. 16, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Navy baseball team lost a pair of games on Sunday in a road doubleheader to Florida A&M by scores of 3-2 and 7-3, respectively. In game one's setback, the Mids saw the host Rattlers come back with a tying run in the bottom of the eighth before winning in walk-off fashion in the 10th inning. In the rubber match of the three-game series, Florida A&M broke open a 3-3 tie with the final four runs of the contest.
Individually, Stephen Moore (Jr., Roswell, Ga.) led Navy's pitching performers on Sunday as he started game one and threw six innings and struck out a career-high nine FAMU batters, while allowing just two hits and one earned run. At the plate, Connor Deneen (So., Tustin, Calif.) had a team-high four hits and an RBI in seven at bats during the two games.
"Overall, I think with game one, we unfortunately let a very good starting performance by Stephen get away from us," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "You hate to waste a performance like that without getting a W. It was a real good game that had our team in a lot of pressure situations, which was good. The second game was competitive and tied into the fifth inning of a seven inning game."
Navy began the first contest strongly as the offense pressed FAMU in the second inning with two runners on base. Adrian Chinnery (Fr., Wilmington, Del.) looked to plate the Mids' first run, but his well-hit ball towards the left field line was caught by a diving Marlon Gibbs for the inning's third out.
Navy broke through in the top of the third when a pair of FAMU errors mixed with a Brad Borosak (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) single plated the game's first run. Borosak would come around to score a second run when Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.) singled up the middle, three batters later.
The game would stay at 2-0, as Moore was cruising on the mound with five strikeouts and no hits allowed over the first four innings.
In the fifth, Navy would challenge for its third run as it loaded the bases with singles by Borosak and Robert Currie (So., Atlanta, Ga.) and a walk to Manzelli, but FAMU's starting pitcher David Duncan would get out of the frame unscathed with a fly out to center field.
Moore's no hit bid continued into the bottom of the fifth as Borosak made a running catch at a looping liner towards the middle of the infield before the hurler sent down Jeremy Barlow on strikes for his sixth strikeout. With two outs in the inning, Michael Birdsong hit a liner that just made its way over a leaping Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Fla.) and into shallow left field to break up the hitless performance by Moore.
The game would get tighter in the bottom of the sixth as FAMU's Bennie Robinson sent a home run out of the ballpark for the Rattlers' first run.
With the score 2-1, the hosts would tie the score in the bottom of the eighth when a bunt and fielding error would manufacture a run. Coming in with the score tied and the bases loaded, Sam Sorenson (So., Etters, Pa.) held FAMU off the scoreboard further with back-to-back putouts.
After scoreless ninth and tenth innings for Navy, the Rattlers plated the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th when Robinson drove in Gibbs with a double to right center to make it a 3-2 final.
For the game, Borosak and Deneen led the Mids with two hits each. As a team, Navy outhit FAMU, 8-4.
Jordan Montague (1-0) earned the win for FAMU, while Sorenson was saddled with the loss (0-1).
With the series tied at 1-1, the second game of the twinbill would be the decider for the weekend. Navy started Luke Gillingham (So., Coronado, Calif.) on the mound, while FAMU countered with William Carrasco.
The Mids scored first in the top of the third when Currie led off with a single to right field. After stealing second base and advancing to third, the sophomore would come in to score off of a single by Deneen to right center field.
The Rattlers responded in the bottom of the frame with three runs. The first two runs came courtesy of a two-run Ryan Kennedy home run.
The scoring continued in the top of the fourth inning when Navy's first four batters Drew Hayes (So., Collegeville, Pa.), Jack Keller (Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.), Blue and Borosak all reached base. Blue's single plated Hayes to make it 3-2 before Borosak drove in Keller to tie the game.
FAMU broke open the 3-3 contest with a single run in the bottom of the fifth and three in the bottom of the sixth to make it 7-3, which was the eventual final score of the game.
For the seven-inning game, Currie, Deneen and Keller all registered a pair of hits. FAMU outhit Navy by an 11-9 margin in its winning effort.
Kendall Weeks (1-0) earned the win, while Gillingham (0-1) took the loss. The sophomore hurler had a final line of 4.0 innings pitched, five strikeouts with seven hits and four runs (three earned) allowed.
"We played a lot of tight ball in the first weekend of the season and got to see a lot of different situations right off the bat," said Kostacopoulos. "Seeing the strategies and plays that we work on in practice get used in live game action was good; that's what you hope to get out of early season competition. It was a pretty well played weekend. They just got the bigger hits today."
"It's all about getting better in the first month of the season. We got a little snapshot of what we have to work with this weekend and we'll get back to practice during the week and look to get better in certain areas. The first month is about getting to know your team and see what roles will help individuals and the team succeed overall."
Navy will next be in action on Friday, Feb. 21 in Kinston, N.C. at the Freedom Classic versus Air Force. The three-game series will consist of single games on Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.).