March 8, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy baseball team picked up its fourth consecutive win on Tuesday at Max Bishop Stadium as it downed Coppin State, 4-3, in 12 innings. It was the first extra-inning game of the season for Navy, which also picked up its third one-run victory in its last four games.
In a game where offense for both teams was tough to come by, Navy pitchers Joel Rinehart and Dwayne Gammage combined for over eight solid innings of relief to give the Mids (6-6) the opportunity to come out on top.
Rinehart racked up seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings and allowed one run off two hits. Gammage struck out three batters as he pitched the final two innings en route to his first collegiate win.
"Joel was tremendous out of the bullpen today - he did a really nice job," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Dwayne Gammage was also pretty solid. To me, those two were the story of the game."
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out, Brandon Beans doubled down the left field line which moved pinch runner Greg Bryant over to third base.
The next batter, pinch hitter Taylor Cato, grounded out to shortstop, but not before Bryant touched home to tie the game at three. But the Mids' opportunity to take the lead ended just after the run scored - on the same play - when an alert first baseman Zach Spahn threw out Beans at third base.
Rinehart, who entered the game in the fourth inning, sent the Eagles down in order in the ninth inning and fanned two more batters to end the 10th.
In the top of the 11th frame, a Navy error and wild pitch led to Coppin State's Derek Richards getting in scoring position with no outs. In the next at-bat, Jesse Savage singled to right field and Richards rounded third and headed for home. But Nick Driscoll's
throw from second base to catcher Dave Milanes
cut Richards down at home plate, keeping the game tied at three.
"That was a nice throw and probably a game-saver," Kostacopoulos said.
Gammage then retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Navy's Jonathan Wright led off the 12th inning with a single to center field, and then Driscoll moved him over to second base with a well-placed sacrifice bunt, giving Navy its best shot to end the game. After Alex Azor singled and Greg Dupell walked to load the bases, CSU's John Bergwall plunked Milanes to bring in the tie-breaking run and give Navy a 4-3 win.
The Midshipmen will look to add to their winning streak tomorrow when they travel to Towson to take on the Tigers at 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday marked Navy's first extra innings-game since March 7, 2010 when it beat Central Connecticut State, 5-4, in 11 innings ... Navy went 2-0 in extra-inning games in 2010 and has now won its last four extra-inning affairs, dating back to 2009.
In 17.1 innings and a team-high six appearances this season, Joel Rinehart has allowed just two runs and now ranks second on the team in strikeouts with 16.