Baseball Gets Walk-Off Win Over Northwestern, 6-5
Alex Azor went 2-for-4 and scored the winning run on Saturday.
March 17, 2012
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Greg Dupell's walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Navy a 6-5 victory over Northwestern on Saturday morning in Winter Haven, Fla. After suffering two consecutive one-run defeats, Navy fought back from a four-run deficit on Saturday before eventually winning the game in the final inning.
"Being down 5-1, we were able to hold on by our fingernails. Matt Jackson came in and did a tremendous job of allowing us to get back in the game - he bought us a couple of innings," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos as the Mids improved to 9-9 with the win. "We scrapped to 5-4; got it to 5-5, and then obviously in the ninth we were able to get one more. Matt was great, and obviously Joel Rinehart was great. (Northwestern) had five runs after three innings and didn't get anything the rest of the way."
Jackson and Rinehart kept the Mids in the game by combining to blank the Wildcats over the final six frames. Rinehart picked up his team-leading fourth win in scattering three hits over two complete innings, while striking out three.
With the game tied, 5-5, in the bottom of the ninth, reliever Dan Tyson issued a leadoff walk on a full count to Navy pinch hitter Grant LaTerza.
"Grant did a nice job of being selective in that situation. He handled the at-bat really well, let a couple borderline pitches go and got himself to first base," said Kostacopoulos. "It was a clutch situation as far as getting on base and getting things started."
Alex Azor followed with a high-chopping single through the right side and the Wildcats then issued an intentional walk to Nikolai Simonsen to load the bases. Paul Snieder, who had been playing first base, replaced Tyson on the mound and got Dave Milanes to ground into a fielder's choice for the first out.
Dupell then jumped on the first pitch he saw from Snieder, belting it to left field. Azor tagged from third base and slid safely into home for the winning run.
Northwestern grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first off a two-RBI single by Jack Havey. Navy starting pitcher Johnny Schoberl put a pair of Wildcats on base to start the inning and two-batters later, Havey belted a single to left field to score the first runs of the game.
Dupell made it 2-1 in the bottom of the first with an RBI groundout, but the Wildcats built on their lead in the top of the third with three more runs. Snieder and Havey both had RBI hits and Geoff Rowan made it 5-1 when his bunt rolled down the left field line and just stayed fair to bring in a run from third base.
The Midshipmen fought their way back though in the bottom of the third as they scored three runs with the help of two Wildcat errors. A throwing error by Northwestern third baseman Patrick Miller on attempted double play allowed Simonsen to score from second base for the first run.
Later in the inning with two outs, Craig Veech laced an offering from NU starter Zach Morton toward the shortstop Miller, who bobbled the ball. Miller's error permitted Dupell and Brandon Beans to easily score and bring Navy to within one run at 5-4.
Jackson replaced Schoberl in the top of the fourth and allowed just three hits to keep it a one-run game.
Simonson, who finished the game 3-for-4, tied the game at five with an RBI triple in the bottom of the seventh.
Rinehart foiled Northwestern's best opportunity to score again in the bottom of the eighth. The Wildcats used three singles to load the bases with one out, but Rinehart got a strikeout and high fly ball to right field that Beans easily grabbed to end the threat.
Tyson, who pitched one and two-third innings was charged with the loss as the Wildcats fell to 5-10 on the season.
Navy will open a five-game homestand on Wednesday when it hosts Mount St. Mary's at 3 p.m.