Navy Completes Weekend Sweep with 11-6 Win over CCSU
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team completed its first weekend sweep of the 2017 season with an 11-6 victory over Central Connecticut State on Sunday afternoon. After collecting a win against CCSU on Friday and a win versus Marist on Saturday, the Mids (7-7) used strong production from its upperclassmen on Sunday to knock off the Blue Devils (6-7) and clinch the 3-0 mark for the weekend of play at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.
The trio of Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.), Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.) and Adrian Chinnery (Sr., Wilmington, Del.) combined for nine hits, five for extra-bases and seven runs batted in. Knowles led the way with a 4-for-4 showing at the plate with a double, triple and two RBIs, while Blue was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. From the five-hole in the lineup, Chinnery was 2-for-5 with two doubles and a team-high three RBIs. This production helped Navy score runs in six of its eight innings at bat versus CCSU on Sunday.
On the mound, starting pitcher George Coughlin (Sr., Arvada, Colo.) pitched his club into the seventh and gave up four runs, three of which came in his final inning. Coughlin cruised over his first six innings as he had allowed just one run on five hits against. His 6.0-plus inning start helped Navy’s starting rotation combine for 18.0 innings on the weekend as all three hurlers; Noah Song, Kyle Condry and Coughlin finished with six innings in their respective starts.
“I thought we did a really good job on offense and kept the wheels in motion throughout the game,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “Logan Knowles had a really good day for us at the top of the order; he’s playing great baseball right now. Travis Blue had a strong day for us as well in the two-hole. They’re both really good base runners and we’ve been able to generate a lot of good offense out of the top of our lineup.
“Scoring in six out of eight innings and keeping the pressure on our opponent was one of the keys. In addition to our offense, the other key was that we got another really good start from our pitcher George Coughlin. We had three really good starts from our rotation this weekend and that really sets the tone for the game.”
The action on Sunday began similar to Friday as Navy’s bats came out swing versus CCSU’s starting pitcher. This afternoon a leadoff walk to Knowles quickly became the game’s first run as Blue connected for a double down the left field line off starter Ron Grant.
Coughlin made short work of the Blue Devils over the first two innings as the senior right-hander retired the visitors on 19 combined pitches, including two strikeouts.
CCSU knotted the game at 1-1 in the top of the third as they manufactured a run with two singles, a sacrifice and a ground out.
The contest wasn’t tied for long as Navy responded in the bottom of the third with two runs. Once again the catalysts for the crooked numbers were Knowles and Blue as the duo started off the frame with back-to-back singles. A walk to Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.) loaded the bases before Chinnery hammered a ball into the left-center field gap to score two.
Up 3-1, the Mids scored five runs over its next two offensive innings to break the game open to an 8-1 margin. In the fourth, a two-out triple by Knowles and ensuing single by Blue scored Navy’s lone run of the frame before the team sent nine men up to bat in the fifth to score four. A hit by pitch and back-to-back walks set the wheels in motion for the Mids’ most prosperous inning. Both Leland Saile (Sr., Land O’Lakes, Fla.) and Christian Hodge (So., Winder, Ga.) scored on wild pitches before Ben Lowe (Jr., Memphis, Tenn.) and Knowles drove in runs number three and four of the inning.
CCSU finally solved Coughlin on the back end of his outing as the Blue Devils had its first three batters reach in the top of the seventh to chase the Mids’ starter. Over their next five batters, the Blue Devils were able to empty the bases and make it an 8-4 game.
Not willing to settle for a four-run lead, Navy got back out in the bottom half of the inning and responded with a single run to increase it back out to five. With two outs, Michael Coritz (Fr., Clifton, Va.) drew a five-pitch walk. Back at the top of the lineup, Knowles came through with his second RBI of the afternoon as he stroked a double off the top of the right field wall. The junior centerfielder was thrown out at third, while trying to stretch it into a triple, but Coritz had touched home just before the putout.
With the score 9-4, Navy notched its final two runs in the bottom of the eighth as Chinnery doubled in Saile before later scoring on a wild pitch.
CCSU pushed across two runs in the top of the ninth to close out the contest with a final score of 11-6.
For the game, Navy and CCSU tied with 11 hits each. Knowles (4), Blue (3) and Chinnery (2) all recorded multiple hits, while Jacob Williamson (Fr., Sims, N.C.) and Zach Biggers (Fr., Walhalla, S.C.) each notched one.
Coughlin evened his 2017 record at 1-1 with the win as he finished with 6.0-plus innings pitched, six hits and four runs allowed and two strikeouts. Sean Kamhoot (Jr., Gainesville, Fla.) recorded a scoreless and hitless inning of relief for the Mids.
“George did a good job,” said Kostacopoulos. “He did exactly what he needed to do. He gave us some opportunities to extend our lead. We get one run, they get one back and then we get two before we really break it open with four. He allowed us to do that by putting up zeroes.”
Looking inside the stats on Sunday, Navy hit .500 (7-14) with two outs and .421 (8-19) with runners on base on Sunday.
For the weekend, Navy outhit CCSU and Marist, .301 to .240 and outscored their northern foes, 22 to 11. The Mids’ offense totaled 10 extra-base hits and five stolen bases to round out its performance, while the pitching staff recorded a 3.67 ERA with 28 strikeouts over 27.0 innings.
“It was a good weekend for us to get three wins versus quality opposition,” said Kostacopoulos. “This weekend we were able to get our feet on the ground a little bit more. We’re not quite there, but we’re feeling a little bit better about ourselves after an up-and-down start to the season.”
Navy will be back in action on Wednesday with a road tilt at UMBC. The Mids and Retrievers are scheduled for a 6 p.m. first pitch at Alumni Field.