Feb. 24, 2013
KINSTON, N.C. -
Navy and Air Force wrapped up the third annual Freedom Classic on Sunday by splitting a doubleheader at Grainger Stadium in Kinston, N.C. Trailing 1-0 entering the top of the seventh inning in game one, Navy rallied for three runs and came away with a 3-2 victory. In game two, Air Force jumped on Navy early, putting up 10 runs through four innings, while starting pitcher Alex Baker struck out 10 in a 13-3 Falcon win. The Mids are now 4-4 on the year.
"We had three very competitive games this weekend. The fourth one got away from us and we need to work on playing more consistently and finishing a series when we have the opportunity," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "The bottom line is after eight games early in the season, we have to work on getting better and improve on what we're not doing well. That's what good teams do. This series had a lot of pressure and a lot of competitiveness and you can take things from that."
With Navy down 1-0 in the top of the seventh inning of game one, pinch hitter Dave Milanes got the Mids going with a one-out single. Two batters later with two outs, Falcon reliever Ben Yokley walked another pinch hitter, Drew Hayes, and Brad Borosak then tied the game with an RBI single into center field. Brandon Beans kept the rally alive with an infield single to load the bases.
With Jonathan Huggins at the plate, Air Force catcher Garrett Custons tried to pick off Beans at first, but his throw sailed high and the ball rolled all the way into the right field corner. A pinch-running Dylan Wheeler and Borosak scored easily to give Navy a 3-1. Beans also tried to score on the play but was called out on interference at home plate.
In the bottom of the seventh, Air Force made it 3-2 off a sacrifice fly RBI by Alex Bast. Sam Sorenson
then retired two of the next three hitters to end the game and earn his first-career save.
"Obviously that was a tremendously exciting game to be able to get three runs in the top of the seventh and grab a win," said Kostacopoulos.
Navy starting pitcher Anthony Parenti gave the Mids a strong outing as he picked up his first win of the season. Parenti scattered six hits and fanned a career-high nine batters. The only run he allowed was unearned.
"Anthony had probably the best performance of his college career. He was competitive and he kept us in the game when we weren't threatening offensively," said Kostacopoulos. "We really got on his shoulders and responded in the last inning. Sometimes in baseball that's how you have to win a game."
Air Force got on the board in the bottom of the third inning of game one. With Custons on second courtesy of a double, the next batter Bast, reached first off a throwing error by Navy shortstop David Wiedeman. Custons scored easily from second on the play for a 1-0 Falcon lead.
Parenti got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning with a strikeout. He also ended the third inning with strikeout, and with runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Parenti fanned David Baska to end the threat.
Air Force starter Steven Trojan gave up just two singles and didn't get into trouble until issuing a pair of two-out walks in the top of the fifth. Trojan ended the threat when he struck out the next batter, Borosak.
Yokley, who faced just three batters, was charged with the loss. Trojan finished seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work.
Air Force (2-6) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of game two and made it 4-0 in the top of the third before the Mids had a hit. An RBI single by Seth Kline and RBI double from David Thomas drove in the two runs in the third frame.
In the top of the fourth, the Falcons blew open the game with six runs off three hits as they sent 12 batters to the plate. Peter Johnson had one of three RBI hits in the inning as he drove in two runs with a double.
A leadoff homer by Bast in the top the fifth inning gave Air Force an 11-0 lead.
The Midshipmen broke the shutout bid in the bottom of the seventh inning when Craig Veech doubled in a pair of runs to make the score 11-2.
Air Force added two more runs in the top of the ninth inning and a sacrifice fly RBI by Jack Keller in the bottom of the ninth made the final score 13-3.
Navy starting pitcher Luke Gillingham was knocked out of the game in the six-run fourth inning and took the loss. Sophomore lefty Charlie LaMar was one of three relievers to see action in the inning and got the final three outs.
Baker earned the win to improve to 1-1 on the year as he pitched seven complete innings.
Navy will return to action March 1-3 at Max Bishop Stadium when it hosts Central Connecticut State in a four-game series.