Baseball Rallies, But Falls Short to Bradley, 3-2
March 15, 2012
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Trailing Bradley, 2-0, in the top of the ninth inning, the Navy baseball team scored twice to tie the game, but wound up falling, 3-2, in 10 innings on Thursday night in Winter Haven, Fla. Brandon Beans (4-for-5) and Nikolai Simonsen (3-for-5) led Navy's 14-hit effort, while starting pitcher Ben Nelson had his longest outing of the season (7 2/3 innings) as he yielded just two runs off six hits.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Braves (9-5-1) loaded the bases off a single, hit batter and fielder's choice and Greg Partyka brought in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
"We had some opportunities tonight, but we left a lot of guys on base," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Give them credit, they made some pitches when they had to and sometimes that's how it goes when you're on the short end of it. I thought we played hard and kept battling. I think we took more positives than negatives away from tonight; we made some mistakes, but we'll correct them and we'll get ready for tomorrow."
Navy's ninth-inning rally started with consecutive one-out singles by Greg Dupell and Dave Milanes. Kash Manzelli followed and drove in the first run with a single through the left side that plated Dupell. Grant LaTerza then came off the bench to pinch hit and delivered with a single that scored pinch-runner Andrew Hahn to tie the game at two.
With the Mids (8-8) unable to score any more runs in the top of the ninth, Navy reliever Brad Borosak retired three of four hitters in the bottom of the inning to send the game to an extra frame.
In the top of the 10th, Beans and Simonson both singled, but closer Bradley Gifford got a strikeout and flyout to end the threat and give the Braves the chance to win the game in the bottom of the inning.
Bradley took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Max Murphy's double down the left field line scored Austin Jarvis. With Jarvis rounding third base and heading for home, David Wiedeman took the relay throw from Beans and threw it to catcher Chance Jones. But the throw home arrived just late, as Jarvis slid in safely to give Bradley 1-0 lead.
Navy had its best opportunities to get on the scoreboard early in the game. Singles by Alex Azor and Simonsen gave Navy runners at the corners in the first inning, while two-out singles by Beans and Simonson gave the Mids another shot in the top of the third. But each time, the Mids came away empty.
While Bradley starting pitcher Joe Bircher held the Mids to just two hits in the fourth through seventh innings, Nelson also did his part to prevent the Braves from adding to their lead. After giving up the solo run in the fourth inning off three hits, Nelson scattered just two more hits before leaving with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.
"Ben had a great outing. After playing our fifth game in six days, he preserved our bullpen. He gave us a great shot tonight and really kept us in there," said Kostacopoulos.
Borosak replaced Nelson with two runners on base in the eighth and yielded an RBI single to Patryka to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.
Borosak pitched the final one and two-thirds innings, allowed two hits and struck out one as he suffered his first loss.
Gifford yielded six hits in relief and struck out three to improve to 3-0.
Navy will play its third game in the RussMatt Invitational on Friday when it meets Illinois State (10-5) at 2 p.m. at Chain of Lakes Park.