March 12, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team (6-8) fell victim to eight unanswered runs by UMBC (2-6) during the middle innings of the game to drop Wednesday’s non-conference game by an 8-3 final score. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead through two innings and getting a solid start out of freshman Michael McCormick (Speedway, Ind.), the Midshipmen allowed the visiting Retrievers to plate seven unearned runs to lead to their eventual defeat at Max Bishop Stadium.
In his first collegiate start, McCormick pitched into the sixth inning as he kept UMBC off-balance as illustrated by his final line of 5.1 innings, four strikeouts, two hits and one walk allowed. Plagued by an uncharacteristically subpar Navy defense, the freshman was charged with four runs, all of which were unearned.
Offensively, Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.) led the Mids with two of the team’s four total hits. The freshman also came around to score Navy’s first run of the game.
“We let today’s game slip away from us with two bad innings,” said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “Our defense let a good start by Mike go to waste with sloppy play. We’ve seen this season how small a margin of error we have to win games and today you saw what happens when you give your opponent extra outs and free runs.”
The Midshipmen swung the bats well early as Blue collected Navy’s first hit of the game with a sharp single through the left side of the infield. After advancing on a UMBC error, Blue plated the host’s first run courtesy of a Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.) RBI single.
With a 1-0 lead, Navy took advantage of another Retriever error as its leadoff hitter Jett Meenach
(Fr., Flower Mound, Texas) reached on a bobble by UMBC’s shortstop Kevin Lachance. Meenach, who was making his first collegiate start, went station-to-station over the next two at bats via a ground out and a single by Nick Paglialonga
(Fr., Lake Forest, Calif.). Brad Borosak
(Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) collected the RBI for Navy as he beat out a possible double play ball for a fielder’s choice.
After two quick and clean innings with six outs in seven batters, including three via strikeouts, McCormick and the Mids ran into trouble in the third when UMBC took advantage of errors on back-to-back plays by Navy. The Retrievers eventually plated two unearned runs to even the score.
McCormick came right back out in the fourth and fifth innings and found his earlier groove with back-to-back hitless frames.
UMBC got to the freshman hurler in the sixth with a one-out double to left field by Jake Barnes. McCormick looked to strand Barnes on the base paths, but a third fielding error on the afternoon allowed the Retrievers to plate the go-ahead run. That error proved costly as UMBC would score four more runs in the frame, all unearned and with two outs.
With the score 7-2, UMBC scored its final run of the game in the eighth inning on the combination of a walk, wild pitch, single and sacrifice fly.
After its strong start offensively, Navy’s bats were held hitless for five straight innings from the third through the seventh. In the eighth, the Mids not only broke this draught, but they also registered their third run of the game. Robert Currie (So., Atlanta, Ga.) led off the scoring drive by wearing his second hit by pitch in two at bats. A Travis Blue double to left-center field gave Navy two runners in scoring position and set the stage for Brandon Beans (Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) to drive in Currie on an RBI groundout.
The Mids had one last push to score in the ninth when Meenach and Patrick Brady (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) drew consecutive walks, but a crisply turned 4-6-3 double play by the Retrievers would subdue that threat and end the game with an 8-3 final score.
For the game, UMBC outhit Navy 6-4. In a losing effort, six hits allowed by Navy extended its pitching staff’s streak of games with six or less hits allowed to five.
UMBC’s first reliever Cam Maxey (1-0) earned the win with 3.2 innings pitched and one run allowed, while McCormick fell to (0-1) for Navy.
The Mids will be back in action on Friday at Max Bishop Stadium in the first game of a four-game series with the Quinnipiac Bobcats. First pitch between the two squads is slated for 2 p.m.