March 16, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy baseball team (9-9) won its first weekend series of the season on Sunday as it closed out Quinnipiac (2-12) with an 8-4 final score in Game Four of its four-game set at Max Bishop Stadium. The Mids got a well-rounded effort from their offense and pitching on Sunday to take the series, three games to one.
Robert Currie (So., Atlanta, Ga.) and Drew Hayes (So., Collegeville, Pa.) highlighted Navy's offensive production versus Quinnipiac with a team-high three hits for Currie and a team-high three RBIs for Hayes.
On the mound, freshman Kevin McKelvey (West Covina, Calif.) came on in relief of George Coughlin (Fr., Arvada, Colo.) in the fifth inning and hurled 3.1 innings of one-run ball to collect his first collegiate victory.
"Today was the culmination of nine games in nine days," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "With a good win this afternoon, we were able to get back to .500 after starting Spring Break at 3-6. It was a solid week where we got to play a lot of baseball and see a lot of different people in different situations. We got our pitching staff a little bit more game experience. It was a good week for us overall."
After Coughlin made quick work of the first three Quinnipiac batters in the top of the first inning on six pitches, the Mids responded by jumping on the Bobcats' starting pitcher Gregory Egan as they sent eight hitters to the plate in the bottom of the frame. A lucky double play for Quinnipiac minimized the overall damage in the inning as Navy was able to only plate two runs. Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.) hit into the 6-3 double play as he stroked a hard-hit ball up the middle that looked to be a hit, but the Bobcats' shortstop Scott Donaghue was in motion toward second as the Midshipmen had a hit-and-run called and promptly snagged the grounder, stepped on second and threw to first to complete the play.
(Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) and Jack Keller
(Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.) earned the RBIs for Navy in the first inning with base hits.
Down 2-0, Quinnipiac fought back in the third inning when it used a leadoff walk and three singles to score three runs and take the lead.
The Mids didn't trail for long as they turned around in the bottom of the third and evened the score. Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.) kick-started the offense with a leadoff double to center field. After a wild pitch by Egan moved him to third, Manzelli came in to tie the game on a sacrifice fly by Hayes to left field.
Navy kept its offensive momentum going into the next inning when it sent eight men to the plate and scored four runs. Three of Mids' first four batters reached base on walks before Blue wore an inside offering by Quinnipiac pitcher Matthew Lorenzetti off the arm to force in a run. Manzelli registered the next RBI for Navy on a single to center field before Hayes capped the scoring with a two-RBI single.
The Bobcats threatened the Mids a bit in the fifth as Lou Iannotti doubled to left field with two outs. Iannotti was Coughlin's final batter as he gave way to his fellow freshman McKelvey. The rookie from West Covina, California calmly forced the hard-hitting Vincent Guglietti into a weak ground ball for a 1-3 putout to end the inning.
The game stayed at a 7-3 score into the seventh inning when Quinnipiac finally got to McKelvey and scratched out its final run of the game on a Matthew Batten RBI single.
Navy completed the scoring on Sunday with a solo run in the bottom of the eighth inning. After Connor Deneen (So., Tustin, Calif.) led off with a single to right field and was sacrificed into scoring position by Patrick Brady (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.), Currie would come through with a single to center field to plate Navy's eighth run of the game.
Sam Sorenson (So., Etters, Pa.) closed out the 8-4 win for the Mids with two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth inning.
For the game, Navy outhit Quinnipiac, 11-8 on the strength of four multi-hit days: Currie (3), Manzelli (2), Beans (2) and Hayes (2).
McKelvey (1-0) earned the win in relief as he went 3.1 innings with two strikeouts and one run allowed on two hits. Coughlin got a no-decision for Navy in his start as he went 4.2 innings with three strikeouts and three runs allowed on six hits and one walk.
"Kevin was outstanding today," said Kostacopoulos. "That's something that you find when you play a bunch of games; you'll get someone who hasn't had a lot of innings and he goes out there and does a real good job. He handled their lefties, who were pretty good hitters, real well. It was a nice, strong outing for him."
Sunday's win gave Navy three wins over Quinnipiac in the four-game series. Over the weekend set, the Mids combined to hit .318 and score 29 runs, while their pitching staff held the Bobcats to 10 total runs and a .238 batting average. Currie led the offense with a .625 (10-for-16) batting average, two doubles, a home run, six RBIs and six runs scored. On the mound, Anthony Parenti (0.00 ERA, 8 IP, 8 K) led a rotation that threw three quality starts (6 IP, 3 or less ER) in four appearances.
"On the weekend, Robert was terrific," said Kostacopoulos. "He had 10 hits in the series and was around all of our offense. He created some on his own, he capped off some with big hits and with RBIs, and he ran the bases well. When he's going, he's a tough leadoff man because he takes pitches and forces you to throw him a strike. This weekend he was all over it."
When asked about where the team stands at the 18-game mark, Kostacopoulos remarked, "we use the first third of the season to find out where we're at. Now, the next third of the year is used to improve. We're at that point, where we think we have enough at bats to start moving in the right direction."
The Mids will be back in action at Max Bishop Stadium on Wednesday, March 19 as they host Delaware State in a 3 p.m. matchup.