Navy Defeats Delaware State 3-2
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team extended its winning streak to five games on Thursday afternoon with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Delaware State at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. In a game that was controlled by each team’s pitching staff over the first seven innings, the Mids (8-7) turned a late 2-1 deficit into a win over the Hornets (3-8) courtesy of a two-RBI double by Leland Saile (Sr., Land O’Lakes, Fla.) in the bottom of the eighth.
In a game that coasted to a final time of 2:15, aggressive and effective pitching was key throughout and the freshmen duo of Austin Rader (Round Hill, Va.) and Trey Seabrooke (Jacksonville, Fla.) took the lead on Thursday and hurled five innings of three-hit scoreless baseball for Navy to start. In the second half of the game, a pair of seniors in Brian Wikoff (Shrewsbury, N.J.) and Jett Meenach (Flower Mound, Texas) did the heavy lifting with four innings of one-hit scoreless pitching. Two unearned runs off of Andrew Sauer (So., Johns Creek, Ga.) in the top of the eighth inning were the only blemish for the Mids’ pitching staff in the game.
“I’m really happy with how our younger guys pitched today for us,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “Austin and Trey did a good job over the first five innings and then gave way to Brian, who also threw the ball well. In the early part of the season, those guys maybe not have been getting a lot of innings, but they went out today and did a really good job. Jett’s performance in the eighth inning was great to get us out the jam and then he closed down the ninth after we re-took the lead. Our pitching staff was the key today and really led us to the win.”
After Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.) plated Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.) on a single in the bottom of the first inning to make it 1-0 Navy, the game was scoreless until Delaware State’s top of the eighth inning. The visitors used two walks, an error and infield single to knot the game at 1-1 before scoring their second run on an RBI groundout. The groundout was of note as with Navy’s infield pulled in, Jared Gillis’ batted ball bounded past Saile at first base, but a quick first step and athletic glove work by newly-inserted second baseman Michael Coritz (Fr., Clifton, Va.) kept the ball in the infield and recorded an out as he flipped the ball from his glove to a waiting Meenach, who was covering first base.
Meenach’s poise and Coritz’ glove work helped Navy escape the top of the eighth down just one run at 2-1. In the bottom of the inning, the top of Navy’s order was back doing productive things as Knowles led off with a walk. Following a sacrifice bunt by Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.), Born reached via a throwing error on the shortstop that set up second and third with one out. Saile put the Mids ahead 3-2 with one swing of the bat as he roped a double down the left field line.
“Leland continues to find holes come through with RBIs,” said Kostacopoulos. “He got the big hit for us in the eighth and today was a game where one big hit made all the difference. If they got the one big hit especially in the top of the eighth there would have been a completely different complexion to the game.”
In the ninth, Meenach set the Hornets down in order to earn the Mids the comeback win.
For the game, Navy outhit Delaware State, 7-5. Saile recorded a team-high two hits for the Mids on Thursday.
A perfect six-up, six-down run of pitching action over the eighth and ninth innings by Meenach helped him improve his individual record to 2-1 in 2017.
In a no-decision, Rader finished with a line of 2.0 innings, one hit, one walk and one strikeout in his first career start.
In his collegiate debut, Seabrooke pitched the third, fourth and fifth innings for Navy and allowed two hits and one walk, while striking out two.
Wikoff’s outing was his fourth of the season and first multi-inning scoreless appearance as he went 2.0 innings with one hit allowed and two strikeouts.
Spring break action for the Mids continues on Friday as the team will kick off a four-game series with New York Tech beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.