Navy Starts Weekend with 7-3 Win over CCSU
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy baseball team received strong starts by both its offense and pitching staff on Friday afternoon on its way to a 7-3 non-conference victory over Central Connecticut State at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. The Mids' (5-7) offense was clicking early as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead through three innings, while their starting pitcher Noah Song (So., Claremont, Calif.) held the Blue Devils (5-6) without a run until the sixth inning.
"This was a pretty complete game for us," remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We got a pretty good start and took advantage of a few of their miscues early on. We got an early lead and kept building on it. We made all the plays we needed to on the field and got a pretty solid outing from pitchers. Overall, it was a pretty good effort from all aspects."
Offensively, Navy connected off of CCSU pitching for 13 hits, including five of the extra-base variety. Stephen Born (Strafford, Pa.) was the Mids' leader in the extra-base department as the junior recorded a home run and double. With his first inning single, Born ended the game with a 3-for-5 showing at the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored. Zach Biggers (Walhalla, S.C.) joined Born with three hits as the freshman notched a triple and two singles on the afternoon.
"Scoring early is so important, especially after we've been playing from behind a lot recently," said Kostacopoulos. "Even the games that we've won over the last week we've had to come from behind. Having a lead helps everyone play with more confidence.
"Getting three RBIs from Stephen in his first two at bats was huge."
On the mound, Navy pitchers gave up just one run over the first seven innings as Song went six innings and was touched up for just one run. Blue Devil batters were able to muster only four hits off the sophomore before Jett Meenach (Sr., Flower Mound, Texas) came in for the seventh and hurled a scoreless two-strikeout frame. Andrew Sauer (So., Johns Creek, Ga.) closed out the game for the Mids as he struck out four batters in two innings. As a staff, Navy's trio of pitchers recorded 13 strikeouts.
"Noah was good today," said Kostacopoulos. "It was a tough day to pitch because it was so cold and gripping a baseball can be a task. He overcame the issues that the weather may have caused and kept putting up zeroes. When he was putting up zeroes, we were putting up one or twos and that's how you build up a 7-0 lead.
"It was good to see Andrew bounce back in the ninth after a tough eighth inning. Jett did his job with a scoreless seventh. We're continuing to work on the bullpen and hopefully each weekend we keep getting better so we're locked in and ready to go in a few weeks."
Navy controlled the game from the get-go as the hosts received two strikeouts from Song in the top of the first inning. In the bottom half of the frame, the Mids' bats staked the team out to a 2-0 lead as Born and Leland Saile (Sr., Land O'Lakes, Fla.) recorded RBIs.
Up 2-0, Song mowed down the Blue Devils with ease in the second as the California native needed just seven pitches to force two infield pop ups and a strike three swinging. Once again, the Mids' offense responded and used a one-out triple by Biggers and a safety squeeze bunt by Matthew Wilcox (So., Los Gatos, Calif.) to manufacture run number three.
A quick three-up, three-down top of the third by Song included two more strikeouts as he retired the side on 10 total pitches. With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark and intermittent snow flurries throughout the game, getting your defense off the field and back swinging bats was a fruitful plan for Navy, especially early on. In the bottom of the third, the Mids extended their lead to 5-0 as a Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.) triple was followed up by a two-run home run by Born out to the right-center field power alley. The blast was his second of the season.
CCSU finally got to Song for its first hit of the game in the top of the fourth inning, but came away with nothing to show for it.
After two more strikeouts by Song in the fifth, Navy added two insurance runs in the bottom of the inning. Saile led off the stanza with a double to the left-center field gap. Two batters later, Saile came into score on an RBI single to center by Christian Hodge (So., Winder, Ga.). The sophomore DH later crossed home via a Biggers' RBI single.
Down 7-0, the Blue Devils touched up Song for his only run allowed in the sixth as they took advantage of a leadoff walk and tied together two singles over their next three at bats.
With the score 7-1, CCSU plated its second and third runs of the game in the eighth to close the game with a final of 7-3.
For the game, Navy outhit CCSU, 13-7. Born (3), Biggers (3) and Saile (2) all had multiple hits as seven different Mids recorded base knocks.
Song was credited with the win for his six innings of four-hit ball, while CCSU's starter Brendan Smith dropped to 0-2 on the season after giving up seven runs on 11 hits over 4.1 innings.
Navy will be back in action with a home afternoon contest on Saturday versus Marist College. The Mids and Red Foxes are set to face off at approximately 2 p.m. The soft time is suggested as Marist and Central Connecticut will play a neutral site game at Terwilliger Brothers Field beginning at 10:30 a.m. The Navy-Marist contest will begin 30-40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.