Feb. 18, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy freshman first baseman Jonathan Berkowitz (Parkland, Fla.) delivered a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth to propel the Midshipmen to a 5-4 win over Iona on a frigid Sunday afternoon at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.
The win gave Navy a three-game sweep of Iona and pushed its record to 5-1 on the young season. The Gaels dropped to 0-3 with the loss.
"Whether we are 5-1 or 1-5, our objectives don't change at this time of the year," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We need to get a lot better on offense, find our identity on how we're going to score runs and make more routine plays. Pitching has obviously led us to our mark this year."
With the score tied at four going into the bottom of the ninth, junior Mitch Harris (Mt. Holly, N.C.) delivered a one-out single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After pinch-hitter JD Melton (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) drew a walk, Berkowitz drove a 2-0 offering over Iona right-fielder Kevin McGovern's head to give Mids their fourth consecutive win.
Navy took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth when pinch-runner Dominic Lopez (Quincy, Mich.) came home to score from third on an errant throw that landed in the dugout on an Iona double-play attempt. The Gaels would come back to force a bottom half of the ninth, as Mike Walraven led off the inning with a double and scored on a one-out single.
The Midshipmen took an early 3-0 lead after the first inning of action. Harris belted his second home run of the year on a first-pitch, opposite-field shot over the right-field fence to make the score 2-0. Junior Thomas Hamilton (Houston, Texas) doubled to the gap in right-center and came around to score on Michael Garcia's (Kailua, Hawai'i) single to left field.
Iona began to chip away at the Navy lead, plating runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings to knot the score at three. Of the three runs scored during that stretch, only one was earned, as the Midshipmen were victimized by three errors during that stretch.
Making his first-career start, freshman right-hander Oliver Drake (Gardner, Mass.) struck out six and walked three while giving up five hits in 4.2 innings. Junior Mark McCoy (Parkland, Fla.) came in relief of Drake and hurled the final-4.1 innings of the game, scattering four hits and one run with one walk and four strikeouts to pick up the win.
"Oliver did a nice job getting out of trouble early on," said Kostacopoulos. "He pitched out of some jams and showed some extra competitiveness, which was good to see. Mark's performance was great for him and the team. He reduced his performance last weekend to just one of those days."
Five Midshipmen posted multi-hit efforts on Sunday as the hosts out-hit their guests, 11-9. Junior Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.), Harris, Berkowitz, Garcia and freshman Steven Soares (Coral Springs, Fla.) each tallied two hits in the win. Hollins' stolen base in the second inning pushed his career total to 34, tying him for eighth on the all-time list with Joe Bellino (1959-61) and Sam Mowery (1989-91).
The Midshipmen will close out their four-game homestand on Tuesday when they host Delaware State on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.