Navy Splits Doubleheader with Monmouth
Mitch Harris threw a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the opener
March 10, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy junior right-handed pitcher Mitch Harris (Mt. Holly, N.C.) struck out 10 in a complete game, two-hit effort in the opener as the Midshipmen split a twinbill with Monmouth on Saturday afternoon at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. Navy won the opener, 2-1, before Monmouth came back to take the nightcap, 5-2.
Navy's record moves to 11-5 on the year, while Monmouth went to 4-3-1 on the campaign.
Harris carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning and faced only three over the minimum on the afternoon. His 10 strikeouts are a season-high and represent the eighth time he has reached double-digit strikeouts during his career. The right-hander has also fanned more batters than innings pitched during 11 of his last-13 starts, dating back to the 2006 season. He also moved into sixth place on the career strikeouts list with 178, only four away from Kevin Carlson's (1994-97) 182 strikeouts in fifth place all time.
"Pitching has carried us this year and it did again in game one today," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Mitch (Harris) had another great performance, throwing the ball very well and coming up with the big play of the opening game on the base paths."
The Midshipmen staked a 1-0 lead for Harris in the third inning. Freshman Kendall Bolt (Stockton, Calif.) delivered a two-out single and advanced to second on a Harris single through the left side. After a fielding error loaded the bases, freshman Steven Soares (Coral Springs, Fla.) walked on five pitches to drive in Bolt and give the Mids an early cushion.
The score remained 1-0 until the top-half of the seventh, when Monmouth's Shawn Teters produced a two-out, RBI-single to knot the game at one.
However, Navy used some two-out magic to win the game in the bottom half of the inning. Harris drew a walk, stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore Jack Ferrick (Stafford, Va.), who came in as a defensive replacement at first base in the top of half of the inning, singled a 2-1 offering through the right side to score Harris and give the Midshipmen a walk-off victory.
The walk-off win was Navy's first of the 2007 slate and its first since a 2-1 win over Holy Cross on April 2, 2006.
The Midshipmen out-hit the Hawks, 5-2, in the opener. Harris went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk, while Bolt delivered a 2-for-4 performance at the plate.
In the nightcap, Navy took a 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the third inning. Once again, Navy scored its runs after having the first-two batters of the inning retired. In his first-collegiate plate appearance, freshman Matthew Curley (Boston, Mass.) laced a double to the gap in right-center. Junior Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.) followed with a RBI-single through the left side that put the Mids on top, 1-0. Hollins would steal second and move to third on a throwing error by the catcher and came home to score on a passed ball. Hollins stolen base was his 37th of his career, tying him for seventh in program history with Mike Schultz (1986-88).
Navy's lead would not last long, as Monmouth produced back-to-back RBI-groundouts in the top-half of the fourth inning to tie the contest at two. The Hawks plated the go-ahead run in the seventh and tacked on two runs in the eighth.
The Midshipmen would not go quietly in the ninth, as Harris, Soares and sophomore Joshua Martinez (Denver, Colo.) all singled to load the bases with one out. However, Monmouth reliever Brett Brach got out of the jam with a popout and a strikeout to end the game.
"We still gave ourselves a chance to win the second game," commented Kostacopoulos. "We need to become more mature offensively at the plate. We are still giving away too many at bats and really need to cut that down."
Oliver Drake got the start for the Midshipmen, as he scattered five hits and two runs over five innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Freshman Chris Murray (Navarre, Fla.) was tagged for the loss, as he allowed one run on two hits in 1.1 innings out of the bullpen.
"I really thought Oliver Drake threw fairly well today," said Kostacopoulos. "He wasn't quite as sharp, but much of that could be attributed to his week and a half layoff due to the postponement this week. Our middle relievers did another good job, getting out of some tight jams."
Navy was out-hit by its guests in game two by an 11-6 margin. Martinez was the lone Navy hitter to register a multi-hit effort in the nightcap, going 2-for-4 with a double in the fourth inning.
The Midshipmen and the Hawks will take the field in the rubber game of the three-game set tomorrow at 12 noon in Annapolis. Live stats will be available via GameTracker on www.navysports.com(.)