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Eckert Hurls One-Hitter, Mids Sweep Iona

March 10, 2008

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy southpaw pitcher Yale Eckert (So./La Selva Beach, Calif.) fired a complete-game, one-hit shutout in the opener as the Midshipmen swept a Monday doubleheader with Iona at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. Navy won the first game, 5-0, before rallying to take the nightcap, 11-5.

The Midshipmen improved to 6-5 on the year, while Iona remained winless on the year and dropped to 0-8.

Eckert carried a no-hitter into the seventh and retired the first batter in the inning before Mike Walraven beat out the throw to first after a diving stop by shortstop Nick Driscoll (Fr./Riverview, Fla.) kept the ball in the infield. Eckert went on to get the final-two outs of the game in order to preserve the one-hit shutout. The Navy left-hander threw 95 pitches, 57 for strikes, to match his career high in strikeouts with nine.

"For the third time in as many starts this season, Yale has given us a real solid performance, with this one today perhaps one notch better," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "He was in complete command of the game.

"It always looks good when you have a combination of solid pitching, defense and some timely hitting."

For the year, Eckert owns a 1.40 ERA over 19.1 innings with only three walks and 24 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .145 (10-for-69) against the southpaw.

Navy's offense provided all the support Eckert would need in the second inning, as Jonathan Wright (Fr./Arden, N.C.) delivered a two-out, two-run single. The Midshipmen also tacked on three insurance runs in the fourth. Driscoll smacked a RBI-triple to left-center, followed by Wright and Thomas Hamilton (Sr./Houston, Texas) run-scoring singles.

Wright went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in the opener, while Hamilton and Driscoll each recorded a two-hit performance.

In the nightcap, Iona struck first with a three-run first inning before the Midshipmen began to chip away. During the bottom half of the second, Driscoll blasted a two-out, two-run shot over the left-field fence to pull the hosts back within one at 3-2. It was the first round-tripper in Driscoll's career and the fourth long ball hit by the Mids on the weekend.

The Gaels immediately answered back with a two-run shot in the third, but would be held in check for the remainder of the contest.

Navy pulled within two at 5-3 in the third on a two-out, RBI-single off the bat of Mitch Harris (Sr./Mt. Holly, N.C.). After two scoreless frames, the Mids knotted the contest at five, again working with two outs. With runners on second and third with two down, Renaldo Hollins (Sr./Virginia Beach, Va.) hit a dribbler to third that slipped under his glove and allowed both runs to score.

The Midshipmen took the lead for the first time in the nightcap and pulled away with back-to-back three runs innings in the seventh and eighth. In the seventh, Kendall Bolt (So./Stockton, Calif.) roped a RBI-double down the left field line and another run crossed home as the ball kicked around in the corner. Bolt would eventually score on a wild pitch. One inning later, Bolt and Soares highlighted the frame with back-to-back run-scoring singles through the left side.

Bolt concluded game two 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while seven other Midshipmen recorded a base knock. The Mids also took advantage of eight Iona walks and a hit by pitch.

The Navy bullpen of Drew Carlson (So./Boca Raton, Fla.), Chris Murray (So./Navarre, Fla.) and JD Melton (So./Myrtle Beach, S.C.) combined for 4.1 innings of shutout work with only two hits and two walks allowed. Murray was credited with his first-career win and has not allowed a run in 10.1 innings on the hill this spring.

"Drew did a very nice job in filling a key role today out of the bullpen," said Kostacopoulos. "He came in and got us the out we needed in the fifth while we were down two runs. He then came back and delivered a clean sixth, which then allowed us to turn it over to our short relief guys."

Wes Olson (Fr./Indianapolis, Ind.) made his first-career start on Monday, as he allowed five hits and five runs, only two of which were earned, over 4.2 innings with two walks and two strikeouts.

"We did alright except for the first five minutes of the game," stated Kostacopoulos. "Right off the bat, we made four defensive miscues. To the overall credit of the team, we did not let that snowball into some disastrous things. Wes worked his way out of it and we started to play better baseball."

The Midshipmen will return to action on Wednesday, when they travel to Charlottesville, Va., to take on 16th-ranked Virginia (11-2). First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.



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