Navy Baseball Finishes Weekend with 2-1 Victory over Georgetown
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Navy baseball team concluded its opening weekend of action with a 2-1 victory over the Georgetown Hoyas. Playing its third game of the Wake Forest round-robin tournament at David F. Couch Ballpark, the Mids (2-1) used two fifth inning runs and strong pitching from a trio of hurlers to attain the win versus the Hoyas (0-3).
Andrew Sauer (Jr., Johns Creek, Ga.), Jared Leins (Fr., Raleigh, N.C.) and Sante Grossi (Fr., Riverside, Calif.) combined on the mound to hold Georgetown to one run over nine innings. Navy’s pitchers notched 11 strikeouts with eight hits allowed.
“We got really, really solid pitching today,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “We got a really good start from Andrew; Jared did his job in the middle and Sante closed it down at the end. You can’t really draw it up much better from a pitching stand point. For the third day in a row we made all the plays on defense. We didn’t hit much today, but managed to win the game. Overall, it was a really solid day, but obviously a lot of it came from the mound.”
Pitchers controlled the opening half of Sunday’s contest as both Sauer and Georgetown’s Kevin Superko matched zero for zero over the first four and a half innings. Sauer used excellent swing-and-miss action to strike out the first four Hoyas that he faced. In the top of the second inning, Michael Coritz (So., Clifton, Va.) helped Sauer’s cause with a diving catch on a line drive towards the hole at shortstop.
Navy’s first hit of the day courtesy of Evan Lowery (So., Williamsburg, Va.) in the bottom of the second. The Mids followed up that two-out single with back-to-back walks to load the bases, though Georgetown negated the threat and kept the game scoreless.
Neither team mounted sustained threats in the third and fourth innings and the action quickly advanced into the fifth. Sauer closed his 92-pitch outing two more strikeouts. He exited with a final line of 5.0 innings, no runs, five hits, two walks and six strikeouts.
In the bottom half of the fifth the Mids’ offense broke the stalemate with two runs. Alex Smith (So., Stafford, Va.) got the rally going with a one-out hit by pitch. After a balk advanced the sophomore catcher to second base Coritz lined a sharply hit comebacker to the mound for an infield single, but Superko eventually chased down the ball and errantly overthrew the Hoyas’ first baseman. With the ball still loose, Smith sprinted in to score the game’s first run. Coritz later came around to score on a Zach Biggers (So., Walhalla, S.C.) sacrifice fly.
Leins came out of the bullpen in the top of the sixth to relieve Sauer. His collegiate debut opened with a three-up, three-down inning. The North Carolina native carried his success into the seventh with three more outs, including a one strikeout.
Going into the eighth inning with the score 2-0 in favor of Navy, Georgetown tallied its first and only run of the game after leading off the frame with a double.
The contest continued at 2-1 into the ninth, where Grossi closed out the victory with two strikeouts and a fly out. In his first career save, the right-hander struck out four Hoyas over his five put outs.
For the game, Georgetown outhit Navy, 8-4. Four different Mids tallied hits in the contests.
After dropping Friday’s season opener versus Gardner-Webb, Navy won the next two games against Wake Forest on Saturday and Georgetown on Sunday to finish the weekend with a 2-1 record.
“There was a lot to make of this weekend,” said Kostacopoulos. “We got a lot of players game action and saw a lot of competitive situations with nine tough innings yesterday and another nine today. The first six on Friday were good too so that’s 24 of 27 innings. That’s what you want to see early on so you can figure out who can do what in those situations.”
Navy will be in action next weekend with three games as part of the 2018 Freedom Classic in Kinston, N.C. between Air Force. The Mids and Falcons will play single games on Friday (6 pm), Saturday (1 pm) and Sunday (12:30 pm) at Grainger Stadium.