March 20, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy baseball team (10-9) used clutch hitting throughout the day and formidable pitching versus a dangerous Delaware State (10-6) lineup to roll to a 12-1 victory on Thursday afternoon at Max Bishop Stadium. The Mids notched 10 of their 12 runs with two outs and had its pitchers hold the Hornets' bats to just one run on four hits.
Leland Saile (Fr., Land O' Lakes, Fla.) led a well-rounded offensive effort by Navy with a 3-for-5 showing at the plate and a team-high four RBIs. On the day, eight Mids collected hits and all nine starters reached base safely at least once.
On the mound, freshman Michael McCormick (Speedway, Ind.) recorded his second straight strong start as he threw 6.0 shutout innings of three-hit ball before giving way to a bullpen that allowed just one run over the final three frames against a Delaware State team that came in hitting .341 and averaging over 7.5 runs a game.
"The key to the game was that we scored 10 of our 12 runs with two outs and that's something that doesn't happen very often, but when it does you're going to have a pretty good day" said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We were comfortable at the plate today and it showed with those clutch hits."
The Midshipmen showed their two-out resilience early on, as they found themselves with two on and two outs in the bottom of the second inning. After Brandon Beans (Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) and Connor Deneen (So., Tustin, Calif.) reached on an error and walk, Jack Keller (Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.) came through with a two-out triple that rocketed over the centerfielder's head and to the base of the wall to plate both runners.
Spotted a 2-0 lead, McCormick came out and locked in with his first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the top of the third. He led off the frame with back-to-back strike outs, both of the looking variety. The freshman hurler would then retire the Hornets in the fourth inning without a ball leaving the infield. Keller aided his pitcher's success with a pickoff of Mike Alexander at first base.
With its pitching and defense taking care of business, Navy extended its lead in the bottom of the fourth by scoring three runs. Consecutive singles by Beans and Deneen set the stage for Saile to drive in his first run of the contest on a single to right field. A run-scoring double play ground out by Keller plated the Mids' second run of the inning before Brad Borosak (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) drove in run number three on a base hit to center field.
Up 5-0, McCormick's day would go two more innings before exiting. In each of his fifth and sixth innings, Navy's defense helped its first-year pitcher by turning 4-6-3 double plays.
The Mids blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored a season-high seven runs. Saile was the story of the inning as the freshman led off with a double to center field before getting a second at bat and doubling once again, this time to left field and plating three runs. Navy's four other runs in the sixth came courtesy of a wild pitch, a bases loaded walk and a two-run single by Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.).
Delaware State scratched out its only run in the top of the seventh. The scoring would go final at a 12-1 margin as the Mids' last two relievers, Tyler Ridgeway (Fr., Olympia, Wash.) and Charlie LaMar (Jr., Clearwater, Fla.) carved up the Hornets for four strikeouts over the final five batters.
For the game, Navy outhit Delaware State, 11-4 with Saile (3) and Borosak (2) leading the way with multi-hit outings.
"It was a confidence game for him [Saile]," said Kostacopoulos. "He's a younger player that's learning a lot as he's out there. It was nice to see him perform like that today."
McCormick (1-1) earned his first collegiate win with a final line of 6.0 innings pitched, three strikeouts and no runs allowed on three hits and a walk. An efficient start, he finished his outing with just 65 pitches thrown. Delaware State's starter Harry Thomas (0-1) took the loss for his three innings of work; he left trailing when the game was 2-0.
"Mike did another good job for us and threw really well," said Kostacopoulos. "This was a good hitting team and he did a great job minimizing their effectiveness. Our defense helped him too; Jack threw a guy out and we turned two key double plays that really got the ball rolling the way we wanted it to."
Navy will next be in action on Saturday when they welcome Princeton for the first of two weekend doubleheaders. Game One of Saturday's twinbill is slated to begin at 12 p.m. at Max Bishop Stadium.