March 4, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy baseball team dropped a pair of games at home on Sunday as the Midshipmen fell to Central Connecticut State, 3-2, and then Towson, 9-2. The Mids, now 5-5, were never able to get on track at the plate as they managed a total of four runs off a combined 13 hits.
"It's something that we are going to have to work through. We're going to have to get better at-bats," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Whether you get a hit or not, the ability to put together consistently good at-bats is critical to success."
In game one, Central Connecticut State's Cody Brown tossed eight complete innings and gave up just four hits to help lead the Blue Devils past Navy. Brown struck out eight batters, didn't issue a walk and never let the Mids' offense gain momentum.
Navy starting pitcher Johnny Schoberl retired the first seven hitters he faced and then got help from some solid defense with two inning-ending double plays. After getting out of the third inning with a 1-6-3 double play, Navy used another twin killing in the fourth. With one out and runners on the corners, second baseman Dylan Wheeler made a diving play to his right on a ball hit by Dylan DeLaCruz. Wheeler knocked down the ball and flipped it to shortstop David Wiedeman to start the inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
"Certainly a positive from the first game was Johnny Schoberl's start," said Kostacopoulos about Schoberl, who was making his second start of the year after offseason surgery. "His start today was much better and he had a much higher comfort level than in his first outing."
The Blue Devils eventually pushed across a run in top of the fifth inning after the first two hitters reached base. J.P. Sportman, who led off the inning with a single, worked his way to third where he later scored on a wild pitch.
Brown limited Navy to just one hit through five complete innings and it looked like he might get through the sixth without giving up another hit, until Brandon Beans belted a two-out, solo homer over the wall in right field to tie the game at one.
But the game didn't remain tied for long as the Blue Devils (1-3) responded in the top of the seventh inning with two runs. Mike Washburn had an RBI double down the right field line and Mike Renzoni made it 3-1 with an RBI groundout.
The Mids scratched to within one run by scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth, but couldn't manage to tie the game as they left a runner on third base to end the final two innings.
Josh Ingram allowed a double to Greg Dupell in the bottom of the ninth inning, but struck out Kash Manzelli to end the game for his first save of the year.
Schoberl had five strikeouts in his six and one-third innings of action, and allowed three runs off seven hits as he took the loss to fall to 1-1 on the year.
In game two, Towson scored solo runs in the first and second innings and then doubled its lead with RBI singles by Andrew Parker and Brendan Butler in the top of the third, ending Navy starting pitcher Zach Sipe's day after just two and one-third innings.
Parker (2-for-3) and Butler (2-for-4) both finished the game with three RBIs.
The Tigers (4-5) took advantage of two walks and a hit batter to load the bases in the top of the fourth inning and tacked on three more runs with the help of a two-RBI single from Butler.
"In the second game, we walked a lot of guys and Towson is going to score runs," said Kostacopoulos. "To their credit, they never let us back in the game and did a good job of just stretching out the lead."
Towson starting pitcher Chris Acker allowed six hits, including an RBI single by Brandon Beans in the bottom of the third frame, as he pitched five complete innings.
Trailing 7-1, Navy had its best chance to get back into the game when Nikolai Simonsen and Manzelli hit consecutive singles to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Nick Cioffi then replaced Acker on the mound and retired the next two hitters before an error kept the inning alive and loaded the bases. But Cioffi was able to get Wiedeman to ground out in the next at-bat to end the inning.
The Tigers scored twice more in the top of the eighth inning off an RBI triple by Ben Winter and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Brandon Gonnella.
A fielder's choice RBI by Dupell in the bottom of the ninth made the final score 9-2.
Sipe took the loss to fall to 1-1, while Acker recorded his first win of the season.
Navy will look to bounce back when it hosts Maryland on Wednesday at 2 p.m.