Feb. 21, 2014
KINSTON, N.C. – The dominant early season pitching of Anthony Parenti (Elizabeth, N.J.) continued on Friday night as the junior hurler threw his first career complete game shutout, while striking out a career-high 13 Air Force batters as Navy opened the Freedom Classic with a 3-0 victory.
Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.) led a balanced offensive attack with a second inning home run. In total, six Midshipmen (2-2) collected hits versus Falcon (1-3) pitching.
“Anthony was special tonight with how he controlled the game with 13 k’s and one walk, but we also did some other good things” said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “I thought we picked up a couple of clutch hits and were able to stretch the lead after Kash’s early home run. We played good defense, Jack threw two guys out, Travis Blue made a very nice play and Brandon Beans made a really good play in the outfield. That’s how we have to play to be successful.”
The game at Grainger Stadium began quickly for Air Force as Spencer Draws led off with single in the top of the first inning. In a pattern that would continue throughout the next eight innings, any of the infrequent Falcon batters that safely reached base would soon be eliminated. A 4-6-3 double play erased Draws and finished the inning for the Mids.
Manzelli got Navy on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second when he got a hold of a Cameron White 2-0 pitch and launched an opposite field home run deep over the left field wall.
Parenti and the Midshipmen took that 1-0 lead and ran with it as the Falcons’ offense would continue to be held at bay. Base runners in each of the fifth and sixth innings would be eliminated by catcher Jack Keller
(Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.), who connected with second baseman Brad Borosak
(Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) on a pair of caught stealing put outs.
In the seventh inning, Parenti struck out all three Air Force batters with called third strikes for his seventh, eighth and ninth punch outs of the game.
Navy’s offense broke open the tight contest with four straight singles in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore Connor Deneen (Tustin, Calif.) led the scoring effort with a one-out bunt single down the third base line. After Ryan Turner (So.,Boone, N.C.) singled through the right side, Drew Hayes (Collegeville, Pa.) drove in Deneen for the team’s second run of the game. Jack Keller loaded the bases with a single to right field and set the stage for Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.) to plate run number three for the Mids.
Parenti’s dominance continued into the eighth inning as he stretched his consecutive strike out streak to five straight Falcons.
With a 3-0 lead and his pitch count still under 100, Parenti went out in the ninth to complete Navy’s victory. A swinging strikeout of Russell Williams gave the junior hurler 25 outs over the first 25 batters. Air Force made sure that he wouldn’t complete the game with the minimum 27 batters as the Falcons registered two hits in the frame before pinch hitter Anthony Denkinger was retired as Parenti’s 13th and final strike out.
Parenti improved his 2014 record to 2-0 with a final line of 9.0 innings pitched, 13 strikeouts, four hits and one walk allowed. Air Force’s Cameron White took the loss with a 6.1-inning outing. The Falcon starter struck out seven, while allowing three hits and no walks.
“Anthony has been awesome, no one has reached third base against him in two starts” said Kostacopoulos. “That shows you he’s right on his game and it’s really great to have someone who’s locked in like that, come out and throw for us to start series.”
For the game, Navy outhit Air Force, 6-4. Six separate Mids collected hits with a seventh, Borosak reaching base on a walk.
“The Freedom Classic is special for us because the people who put it on do such a nice job of making us feel good about competing in this atmosphere,” said Kostacopoulos. “They always roll the red carpet out for us. When you get the opportunity to play a service academy on a platform like this, we appreciate it.”
The Mids and Falcons will continue their three-game series in Kinston with a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday afternoon.
-With Friday’s outing, Parenti has tossed 15.0 innings of scoreless baseball, with 19 strikeouts and six hits allowed overall in contests versus Florida A&M and Air Force.
-Parenti’s previous career-high in strikeouts was nine versus Air Force at the 2013 Freedom Classic.
-Sophomore Robert Currie (0-4) saw his 20-game streak of reaching base end.