March 1, 2014
Game 1 - Box Score | Game 2 - Box Score
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy baseball team (3-5) split a doubleheader on Saturday as the Mids faced off with the Cornell Big Red (1-1) in its 2014 home opener at the Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. Timely hitting and solid pitching led the Mids to a 4-2 victory in Game One before Cornell flipped the script and came up with a few timely hits of their own in Game Two to hold on for the 3-2 win.
Led by 12.2 combined innings from starting pitchers Anthony Parenti (Jr., Elizabeth, N.J.) and Stephen Moore (Jr., Roswell, Ga.), Navy's arms held Cornell's bats to just five runs. Parenti secured the win in Game One to improve to 3-0 on the season, while Moore was the hard-luck loser in Game Two after pitching 8.0 innings and striking out seven, while allowing just six hits and two runs (one earned).
Offensively, sophomore Drew Hayes (Collegeville, Pa.) led the Mids with three RBIs on a 2-for-5 showing at the plate in the doubleheader. He was one of four Navy batters with two hits on the day.
"I think both games played out pretty similarly in the sense that the pitchers did a good job on both teams throwing strikes and not getting themselves into trouble," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos post-game. "Both games were opportunity games. There weren't that many chances to score, so the teams that won each game cashed in on their chances. We had ours in the first game when Drew Hayes drove in two with a single. They cashed in twice on bounding balls up the middle. Both of these games were tight, tight games."
In the first game of the day at 11 a.m., the bats were awake early as Cornell became the first team to score on Parenti in over 15.0 innings in 2014. In the top of the first, the Big Red plated a run courtesy of a two-out double by Ryan Plantier. Of note, Parenti's season line of 15.0 innings pitched and no runs allowed had him tied atop the Division 1 lead with Ole Miss' Chris Ellis as of Wednesday.
Down 1-0, the Mids responded quickly when Brad Borosak (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) worked a leadoff walk. After getting bunted into scoring position by Robert Currie (So., Atlanta, Ga.) and advancing on a wild pitch, the second baseman tied the game on an RBI ground out by Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.).
The second inning would have a similar storyline as Cornell notched a go-ahead run before Navy would answer. Connor Deneen (So., Tustin, Calif.) and David Norman (Sr., Fayetteville, Ga.) got the offense going with back-to-back infield singles to set up a first and third situation. The next batter Hayes hit a ground ball up the middle that looked like a possible double play ball, but strong hustle out of the box denied the double play and allowed Deneen to come in and score the Mids' second run of the game.
After allowing two runs in his first two innings, Parenti settled in with a 1-2-3 third inning and a pair of strikeouts in the fourth.
Navy broke through with its go-ahead runs in the bottom of the fourth when Hayes roped a two-out single into left field to plate Deneen and Norman.
With a two-run lead, the pitching duo of Parenti and reliever Sam Sorenson (So., Etters, Pa.) would lock down the seven-inning win for the Mids. After his starter left with two outs in the fifth, Sorenson threw the final 2.1 innings and struck out two to secure the win for Parenti and his first individual save of 2014.
Parenti's final line was 4.2 innings pitched, five strike outs and two runs allowed on six hits and three walks.
For the game, Cornell outhit Navy 8-6. Six different Mids collected hits in the contest.
"Parenti competed today," said Kostacopoulos. "He might not have had the premier stuff that he had the first few games, but he competed and gave us a chance to win."
In the second game of the twinbill, the teams once again got to the starting pitching early. For the second straight contest Plantier was Cornell's big bat in the first inning as the senior first baseman stroked a two-out single to center field for a 1-0 lead.
Navy knew runs would be at a premium in Game Two as the Big Red trotted out RHP Brent Jones, who drew a healthy group of Major League Baseball scouts to Saturday's matchup. Unfazed, the Mids pieced together a first inning run of their own. With Borosak on third and Currie on first, a botched pick off and run down of Currie resulted in Borosak crossing home to tie the game. Jones buckled down after his infield's miscue and stranded Currie at third over the next three at bats.
After a rocky beginning to each of their starts, Moore and Jones would control their opponent's offense into the sixth inning. Moore allowed one Cornell batter to reach between the second and fifth innings, while Jones allowed three.
In the sixth, the Big Red would take advantage of a fielding error by the Midshipmen and take the lead by a 2-1 margin.
Both teams' bats would go silent again until the ninth inning when Cornell extended its lead by plating a run off of Navy reliever Andrew Bartek (So., Jefferson, Ga.).
Down 3-1, the Midshipmen looked to rally in the bottom of the ninth. After seeing Cornell closer Kellon Urbon retire the first to Navy batters on a strike out and an infield pop-up, pinch hitter Ryan Turner (So., Boone, N.C.) kept the game alive with a five-pitch walk. After Hayes drew an eight-pitch walk to put runners on first and second, Borosak would tighten the game to a 3-2 score with a single to center field. Navy's final batter, Currie fought to tie the game with a deep fly to the left-center field gap, but Cornell's left fielder Ryan Karl made a running catch to seal the win for the visitors.
For the game, Cornell outhit Navy by an 8-6 margin. Currie led the Mids with two singles.
Jones (1-0) earned the win for Cornell with a final line of 6.0 innings pitched, eight strikeouts, four hits and one unearned run allowed. Moore (0-2) took the loss with an eight-inning start with seven strikeouts and two runs (one earned) allowed on six hits.
About Game Two's pitching matchup, Kostacopoulos exclaimed that "Jones is a guy with plus velocity, 92 to 95 miles per hour. That's something we haven't seen much, especially this early in the season. You also have to give a lot of credit to Stephen though; he was very sharp and gave us eight strong innings. Unfortunately, we couldn't support him better."
"Overall, I thought they were two closely played games. We missed a few double plays in Game Two that were critical in a tight game. We have to make sure that we get those in the future. They aren't errors in the book, but they are extremely valuable, especially in tight ball games. I thought that we did a good job battling at the end of the second game."
The Midshipmen and Big Red will close out their three-game set on Sunday. First pitch for the rubber match is slated for 12-noon at Max Bishop Stadium.