Feb. 18, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. -
The Navy baseball team split a doubleheader with North Carolina A&T on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Greensboro, N.C., to take two of three games from the Aggies in the season-opening series. Navy dropped the first game, 7-2, but responded to take the nightcap, 11-4.
"We talk to the guys a lot about winning the series. Baseball is a tough game in the sense that you're out there a long time and you're trying to win the series," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "For us to bounce back after getting beat, 7-2, and win the second game pretty handily, it makes for a better trip home."
Leading 5-4 in the top of the seventh inning of game two, Navy (2-1) took advantage of a two-out Aggie error by third baseman Michael Radford and scored six runs to take a commanding lead. The error on the ball hit by Brandon Beans gave Navy its first run and then Kash Manzelli, Chance Jones, David Wiedeman (two RBIs) and Greg Bryant all picked up RBI hits in the inning.
"We have to capitalize when we can and we ran the bases well in that inning," said Kostacopoulos. "That's something we have to grow from - we have to be able to take advantage when we can."
With the game scoreless in the top of the second inning, Navy pushed across four runs, all with two outs, to take a 4-0 lead as Jones and Wiedeman got things going for Navy with back-to-back RBI hits. Jones belted a double to left field on the first pitch he saw and Wiedeman followed with a base hit, also to left field, to make the score 2-0. Andrew Hahn kept the inning alive with a double and the Mids later tacked on two more runs off a wild pitch and passed ball.
Wiedeman went a combined 3-for-7 in the two games on Saturday, while Jones went 2-for-5 in game two.
"David had a great weekend with five RBIs," said Kostacopoulos. "Chance did a great job, not just offensively in picking up some RBIs, but he also caught a heck of a game."
"Chance missed last year with an injury and for him to get back out there and catch the way he did was great. Both Chance and David were definite highlights today."
The Aggies (1-2) got into the game when they took advantage of two walks and two Navy errors in the bottom of the fifth inning to score four runs and cut the deficit to 5-4.
Navy starting pitcher Zach Sipe didn't let the Aggies get any closer though as he struck out Mark Nales with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning.
A pair of rookie pitchers, Stephen Moore and Brad Borosak, combined to pitch the final four innings to ensure the win. Moore struck out one in two complete innings, while Borosak didn't allow a hit over the final two innings and had one walk and one strikeout.
Sipe finished with a total of eight strikeouts, just one shy of his career high, to pick up the win.
Aggie game-two starter Brent Moore took the loss as he allowed five runs (four earned) off seven hits. He struck out five and walked two batters.
In game one, the Aggies broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning and went on to score four more runs for the eventual 7-2 win. North Carolina A&T starter Tyler Boone went eight complete innings and limited Navy to just four hits to earn the victory.
Navy got on the board early in game one courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Dave Milanes that scored Alex Azor in the top of the first inning. Chris Cannon, who got the start in game one behind the plate, drove in the first run of his career in the top of the second inning with an RBI double to right field to make the score 2-0.
A&T tied the game with a pair of runs in the third inning before an sacrifice fly by Eric Chiz in the bottom of the sixth gave the Aggies a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
With Navy trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning, Jordan Heller took over for starter Preston Gainey and allowed one run in the frame before freshman Anthony Parenti replaced him in the eighth with two runners on base. A fielder's choice and then a two-RBI double by Marquis Riley added three more runs for the Aggies to seal the game with an RBI sacrifice fly by Eric Chiz.
Gainey, who started his first game after pitching out of the bullpen exclusively last season, struck out a career-high eight batters and yielded just two walks. The sophomore went six complete innings and allowed three runs off seven hits in the loss.
Navy will open its 28-game home slate this Wednesday at Max Bishop Stadium when it hosts Maryland Eastern Shore at 2 p.m.