Navy and Quinnipiac Split Saturday Doubleheader
March 15, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Navy (8-9) and Quinnipiac (2-11) battled for over 16 innings of baseball action on Saturday afternoon at Max Bishop Stadium and both squads came away with victories in the doubleheader. Behind two RBIs from sophomore OF Robert Currie (Atlanta, Ga.) and 6.2 innings of two-run ball thrown by Stephen Moore (Jr., Roswell, Ga.) the Mids won the first game by a score of 3-2 before seeing the Bobcats come back with a 4-3 victory in the second contest.
In the twinbill, Currie led the offense with a combined 3-for-6 showing at the plate, an inside-the-park home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. Freshman SS Travis Blue (Orange, Calif.) tied Currie for the team lead in hits with three of his own on Saturday.
On the mound, the Midshipmen received two quality starts from Moore and Luke Gillingham (So., Coronado, Calif.), who each went six-plus innings. Moore won Game One, while Gillingham took a no-decision after throwing 6.1 innings of one-run baseball.
“3-2 and 4-3 scores are indicative of two pretty well play games by both teams,” said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “Offensively we didn’t put much together. We had a little something going on in the sixth inning of the second game and had to scrap to win the first game. We were in position to win in Game Two, but give them credit; they came up, swung the bat and executed their offense.”
The action started fast in Game One as both teams registered runs in the first inning. Quinnipiac used a hit by pitch, stolen base and single to plate the game’s first run before Currie responded for the Mids in the bottom of the frame. The speedy sophomore leadoff hitter crushed a 1-1 pitch to the right-center field gap that found its way to the wall after two Bobcat outfielders collided. Currie hustled around the base paths for a stand-up inside-the-park home run; the first homer of any type of his career.
Quinnipiac pressured Navy throughout the game as they had hits in every inning off of Moore. The junior hurler bent, but never broke as he left those Bobcat base-runners stranded in every inning between the second and sixth.
With Quinnipiac’s offense being held at bay, Navy was able to scratch out single runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings. Drew Hayes (Collegeville, Pa.) drove in the Midshipmen’s run in the fourth on a grounder to the right side to score Blue, while Currie plated pinch-runner Patrick Brady (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) with a single to center field in the fifth.
Up 3-1, Navy felt some anxiety in the final frame of the seven-inning contest as Quinnipiac saw two of its first three batters reach base in the seventh off of Moore. After Vincent Guglietti doubled to right field to make it 3-2, the Mids went to the bullpen and summoned Andrew Bartek (So., Jefferson, Ga.), who stranded runners at second and third with a 6-3 ground out to Blue for the final out.
For the game, Quinnipiac out-hit Navy, 9-4. Moore (1-2) was the winner with a final line of 6.2 innings pitched, four strikeouts and two runs allowed on nine hits and two walks. Bartek earned his second save of the season with the final putout.
In the second contest of the day, starting pitching ruled the first half of the game as the first 4.5 innings were complete in less than one hour. Neither Gillingham nor Quinnipiac’s Nick Fabrizio allowed more than one batter to reach in an inning until the bottom of the sixth. After being held to just one hit and a hit by pitch over the first five innings, the Midshipmen’s bat awoke in the sixth as Currie, Brandon Beans (Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) and Blue went back-to-back-to-back with singles to the outfield. Blue drove in Currie for Game Two’s first run before Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.) cleared the bases with a two-RBI double down the left field line.
With the score 3-0 Navy, Quinnipiac responded immediately in the seventh with four of its first five hitters reaching base. The Bobcats’ leadoff hitter, Scott Donaghue, scored his team’s first run on a Mike Blumenthal safety-squeeze bunt. The Mids got out of the high pressure bases loaded situation behind a Web Gem-worthy 4-6-3 double play that was started by Brad Borosak (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.). After the newly-inserted RHP Sam Sorenson (So., Etters, Pa.) induced a ground ball by Brian Ruditys up the middle, Borosak ranged to right where he grabbed the ball and flipped it out of his glove behind his back to Blue, who tagged second and fired over to first to retire the side and bring the fans at Max Bishop Stadium to their feet.
Navy was unable to build off its offensive and defensive momentum in the bottom of the seventh as it went three-up, three-down versus reliever Matthew Osieja.
In the top of the eighth, the Bobcats had their biggest inning of the series by throwing a three-spot up on the scoreboard courtesy of a leadoff walk, two singles and a double.
The Mids would be silenced in the ninth, as Quinnipiac held on for the come-from-behind 4-3 victory.
For the game, Quinnipiac out-hit Navy, 9-5. The Bobcats’ Osieja (1-1) earned the win with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, while Gary Binkiewicz got his first save of the season. Gillingham suffered a hard-luck no-decision as he went 6.1 innings with one strikeout and one run allowed on six hits and two walks. Sorenson (1-2) was saddled with the loss for the Mids.
“Starting pitching continues to be a strength of ours,” said Kostacopoulos. “I also thought we played pretty well on defense all day, too. When you only get four [in Game One] and five hits [in Game Two] you’re going to struggle to be successful. We just have to come out tomorrow and win the series; that’s the bottom line.”
The Mids will wrap up its four-game series with the Bobcats on Sunday with a 12-noon first pitch at Max Bishop Stadium. Post-game, the Navy baseball team will offer a free clinic to all youth baseball players, 12-and-under. The clinic will be run by the Navy coaches and players and run for approximately 45 minutes.