Baseball Falls to Air Force on Ninth-Inning Home Run
Feb. 23, 2013
KINSTON, N.C. - A solo home run off the bat of David Baska in the top of the ninth inning broke a 7-7 tie as Air Force defeated Navy, 8-7, on Saturday evening at Grainger Stadium in Kinston, N.C. It was the second game of the four-game series between the teams.
The back-and-forth game featured three ties and five lead changes. The Mids (3-3) stranded a total of 12 runners on base, including several early on. Navy left a pair of runners on base in the first and loaded the bases in second inning - both with no outs - but came away with just one run in both frames.
"Leaving runners on base was the key to the game tonight. We had some great opportunities early and we were only able to come away with one each time," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "I thought we played extremely hard as the score went back and forth. We played very well on defense, but had a couple mental mistakes that hurt us and those can cost you in one-run games. We've got to clean those up in the next couple weeks so they don't recur.
"Energy, effort and competitiveness were there again for us, but we just have to learn from our mistakes."
Consecutive singles by Chris Campbell and Jonathan Huggins to start the bottom of the second inning helped Navy take its first lead of the evening. Brad Borosak then attempted to move the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, but Air Force starting pitcher Ben Bertelson's throw to first sailed high, allowing Campbell to score.
Air Force (1-5) was quick to reclaim the lead with three runs off three hits in the top of the third inning. Back-to-back RBI singles by Alex Bast and Seth Kline and then a wild pitch made the score 4-2.
Campbell pulled Navy to within one run with a two-out single in the bottom of the third that scored a charging Kash Manzelli from second base. Air Force got the run back in the top of the fourth though with an RBI double from Baska. Joel Rinehart replaced starter Johnny Schoberl to get the final out of the fourth inning.
Down 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Campbell drove in his second run of the game with single to right center field. With the bases loaded two batters later, Brad Borosak drew a full-count walk to score Manzelli and tie the game, 5-5.
In the bottom of the seventh, Borosak gave Navy a 6-5 lead with an RBI single that dropped in left center field.
The seesaw affair continued in the eighth inning. A bases loaded walk from Stephen Moore and a passed ball gave Air Force two runs in the top half of the inning, but an RBI groundout Manzelli in the bottom of the frame tied the game again, 7-7.
In the top of the ninth, Baska hit the first pitch he saw from Moore over the left field wall.
Moore took the loss after replacing Rinehart with one out the in the eighth inning. The Baska homer was the only hit he allowed. Rinehart retired 10 consecutive hitters after entering the game.
Air Force reliever Ben Yokley held Navy to just one hit over the final 2.1 innings and earned the win.
Huggins and Campbell both finished with a game-high three hits to lead Navy at the plate.
The two teams will close the Freedom Classic tomorrow with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Game one will be seven innings and game two will be nine.