Feb. 22, 2014
KINSTON, N.C. - The Navy baseball team (2-3) lost a tight contest to Air Force (2-3) on Saturday afternoon in the second game of the Freedom Classic series by a score of 2-0.
A low-scoring affair at Grainger Stadium, Navy's pitching staff was solid throughout with just two runs allowed and seven strike outs. Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.) led the offense with a 2-for-3 showing at the plate, including a double.
"I think today was a mirror of last night in the sense that there wasn't a lot of offense and the pitchers did a good job," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We had opportunities by taking five walks, but we need punch through with a big hit. Offensively we're having our challenges, but we just have to work through it. Early on in the year, you just have stay with the program, stay with what you're doing and get some more at bats the next day, that's baseball."
The Mids looked to build off of last night's series opening win early as Brad Borosak (Jupiter, Fla.), the leadoff hitter, drew a full count walk to begin the game. The junior second baseman promptly moved himself into scoring position with a steal of second base. Unfortunately for Navy, Borosak was picked off during Robert Currie's (So., Atlanta, Ga.) at bat to short out the scoring opportunity.
Throughout the game, Navy continued getting runners on base only to have Air Force pitching bend, but not break. The Mids had runners reach in seven of the nine innings on Saturday, though they were unable to push across a run.
Air Force registered runs in back-to-back frames as Adam Groesbeck drove in a run in the third inning and Russell Williams the same in the fourth.
Outside of these two blemishes, Navy starting pitcher Stephen Moore
(Jr., Roswell, Ga.) was solid for the Mids as he struck out four Falcons and walked none, while allowing six hits in his five innings pitched.
Navy looked to take Moore off the hook for the loss in the sixth inning. After a leadoff double by Blue, the Mids would eventually load the bases with a walk and fielding error, but a slick turned 6-4-3 double play on a hard hit ball up the middle by Brandon Beans (Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) ended the frame.
With the score 2-0 in the top of the ninth, the Mids attempted to crack Air Force's pitching one more time with a two-out rally. Ryan Turner (So., Boone, N.C.) began the comeback effort when he earned first base with a hit by pitch. Drew Hayes (So., Collegeville, Pa.) followed up his classmate with a single up the middle to give Navy two on with two outs. Air Force's reliever Nathan Stanford shutdown this attempt and closed out the win for the Falcons.
The 2-0 decision made a winner out of Air Force starter Steven Trojan (1-1), who went 6.1 innings and allowed three hits and five walks, while striking out three. Moore (0-1) was the hard-luck loser with a final line of 5.0 innings, six hits, two runs and four strikeouts. Stanford earned his first save of the season.
In relief, the freshmen duo of George Coughlin (Arvada, Colo.) and Colby Sciarrilla (Vidor, Texas) combined to give Navy 3.0 innings of scoreless action on the mound. Coughlin's final line was 2.0 innings, two hits and two strikeouts, while Sciarrilla went 1.0 inning with one walk and one strikeout.
"A positive today was that our pitchers grinded," said Kostacopoulos. "When you only give up two runs you have an expectation of getting a win. Stephen left the game at 2-0; George did a nice job of giving us a chance to win and Colby did a good job with a clean inning so they did their job. Our offensive just needs to get going and that's a work in progress right now, but we'll continue working hard."
The Mids and Falcons will close out the 2014 Freedom Classic on Sunday afternoon with a 12:30 p.m. matchup.