Navy Overpowers NYIT in Doubleheader Sweep
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy baseball team turned in a pair of crisply-played dominant performances on Saturday in a home doubleheader sweep of New York Tech. The Mids (11-7) defeated the Bears (2-12) by a score of 15-3 in game one before recording a 12-0 shutout in the second game at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. Navy used 10 late runs in the first contest to turn a close 5-3 game in a 15-3 blowout before dictating all areas of play in the second game with runs in six of eight innings and allowing just three hits to NYIT.
"The first game was a good ball game and very competitive up until the last inning," remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We were able to break it open at the end, but that was a close game going into the bottom of the sixth. Kyle Condry hung in there and threw well. We got the big hit from Zach Biggers when we were down 3-1 in the fourth. His triple made it 3-3 and gave us that spark. It was a well played game.
"In game two we got on them from the start and kept going. We found that flow where we were under control throughout."
Offensively on Saturday, Navy's offense swung the bats at a .447 clip with 34 hits over 76 at bats. Five different players had four or more hits with Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.) leading the way with five, two from game one and three from game two. Blue and Leland Saile (Sr., Land O'Lakes, Fla.) spearheaded the Mids' RBI production with four each, while the freshman duo of Evan Lowery (Williamsburg, Va.) and Zach Biggers (Walhalla, S.C.) combined to go 8-for-11 with five extra-base hits over the doubleheader. Lowery was the standout performer for Navy in the second game as he recorded the rarely seen cycle as he connected for a home run, double, triple and single, in that order over five at bats. Biggers earned the spotlight in game one by going 3-for-3 with a double, triple and two RBI.
"That was good to see out of Evan in game two," exclaimed Kostacopoulos. "He hit for the cycle which is a real nice accomplishment for a baseball player. He gave us some good at bats today. When you're in the early part of the season like we are and are still piecing some things together in your lineup, doing a job like that will get you another shot to go out the next day and do it again."
On the mound, Navy's starting pitchers Kyle Condry (Sr., Highland Village, Texas) and George Coughlin (Sr., Arvada, Colo.) did the majority of the heavy lifting with 12.0 combined innings. In the first game, Condry hurled 6.0 innings and spread out nine base hits to allow just three runs (two earned). He struck out five Bears and walked none in game one. Coughlin was the Mids' game two starter and the senior right-hander cruised with 6.0 innings of three-hit, eight strikeout pitching.
Four scoreless and hitless single-inning outings by underclassmen Jackson Zoch (So., San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), J.P. Colton (So., Maitland, Fla.), Thomas Wilson (Fr., Burbank, Calif.) and Nicholas Elder (Fr., Roanoke, Va.) over the entirety of the doubleheader helped the Mids' staff post a 1.12 ERA, .197 opponents' batting average and a sparklingly 17:0 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the day.
"George did a good job in game two," said Kostacopoulos. "He did a good job of pitching with a lead. We scored in each of the first five innings and he kept putting up zeroes, that helped us build an 8-0 lead. He started the game and threw strikes and then gave way to J.P., Jackson and Nick out of the bullpen. Everyone threw strikes. We had 12 strikeouts and no walks and earned a quality staff shutout.
"For the entire day, our pitchers threw strikes and attacked the zone. 17 strikeouts and no walks is a really nice effort from our staff."
Navy 15 - NYIT 3
The action on Saturday began with five and a half very competitive and crisply played innings of baseball between the Mids and Bears. The visitors were first on the scoreboard as they took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning after stringing together four hits versus Condry.
Down two runs, Navy quickly responded in the bottom half of the third as Biggers led off with an infield single to the shortstop. After moving into scoring position on a balk, the freshman scampered home on an RBI single by Blue.
NYIT got to Condry one more time in the fourth inning to make it 3-1.
Once again, Navy responded in the home half of the inning with positive returns as the Mids knotted the game at 3-3 courtesy of a Biggers two-RBI triple.
With the game all tied up, Navy scored for its third straight inning in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI by Saile on a single and an RBI on a squeeze bunt by Adrian Chinnery (Sr., Wilmington, Del.).
Condry made sure the game stayed at a two-run margin going into the bottom of the sixth as he struck out two Bears and forced a weak grounder out of a third.
In the bottom of the sixth, the complexion of the game changed entirely as Navy chased NYIT starter Matt Diaz with the combination of a Biggers' double, Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.) single and a balk. Getting to the Bears' bullpen was key in increasing the Mids' lead as the home team sent 13 more batters up to the plate before out number three was recorded. A synopsis of the damage done in the bottom of the sixth saw Navy score 10 runs on nine hits, two walks and a hit by pitch. The Mids went station-to-station in most of the at bats as eight different players were credited with RBIs. Saile was the only player with more than one as he had a single to score Blue and a sacrifice fly to Knowles.
Wilson came out of the bullpen and closed out the 15-3 victory for the Mids with a three-up, three-down top of the seventh.
For the game, Navy outhits NYIT, 16-9. Six Midshipmen recorded multiple hits with Biggers notching a team-high three. Knowles, Blue, Saile, Chinnery and Jacob Williamson (Fr., Sims, N.C.) all had two hits, respectively.
Navy 12 - NYIT 0
The script was slightly different for the Mids in game number two, as the hosts kept constant pressure on the Bears with runs in each of the first five innings to build out an 8-0 lead. Between its offensive attack and high-level pitching from Coughlin to the tune of just two hits allowed over those first five innings, Navy was in control throughout.
Navy recorded single runs in innings one, two and three with Chinnery starting the run production in the first with an RBI single to score Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.). Lowery took charge of the offensive output in the second and third as the freshman DH started the second with a no-doubt rocket of a home run over the right field wall to make it 2-0. In the third, Lowery was at it again as he hit a double to plate Chinnery.
Up 3-0, Navy doubled its score in the fourth on a trio of RBI doubles. Born started the rally with a ground-rule double to score Blue before Saile came up in the next at bat and lined a double to the left-center field gap. Two batters later, Williamson hit a double to centerfield to drive in Saile.
The Mids kept piling on runs in the fifth as Born hit a two-RBI triple to left field to make it 8-0.
Coughlin continued dominating the Bears into the sixth before exiting the contest. Over his 21 batters faced, the Bears recorded just three singles and only once did a runner reach second. The Colorado native struck out eight NYIT batters and got seven ground ball outs.
Colton was the first arm out of the bullpen to face off with the Bears and he mowed them down in the seventh in order with a two strikeouts and fly out. In the eighth it was Zoch's turn and he went one-two-three with a strikeout and two ground outs.
Going into the bottom of the eighth with the score 8-0 in favor of Navy, the Mids tacked on four more runs as they sent 10 men up to bat. The inning started with the exciting conclusion of Evan Lowery's quest for the cycle as he completed the task with a single to right field. After the single, Blue and Liam Lowery (So., Williamsburg, Va.) recorded RBIs in the frame, while a wild pitch and an error plated the other two runs.
Of note, Evan Lowery's 10 total bases are tied for ninth-most all-time in a single game by a Navy player.
Elder made his collegiate debut in the top of the ninth and put down the top of NYIT's order with a strikeout, grounder and fly out.
In Navy's 12-0 victory, the Mids outhit the Bears, 18-3. Lowery led the attack by going 4-for-5 with three extra-base hits. Blue (3), Born (2), Saile (2), Chinnery (2) and Williamson (2) also had multiple hits in game two.
As a pitching staff this was Navy's first shutout of the 2017 season.
Navy and NYIT will conclude their four-game series on Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. tilt at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. For those unable to make it out to the ballpark, the game will be streamed live on the Patriot League Network.