March 22, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – In its final non-conference weekend series of the regular season, the Navy baseball team (11-10) opened its four-game set with Princeton (4-10) by splitting a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. The Mids came out on the short end of a fast-paced pitcher’s duel in Game One, 1-0, before flexing their offensive muscle in Game Two and earning a 9-4 come-from-behind victory.
After collecting Navy’s only hit in the first game of the day, Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.) continued as the team’s leading offensive performer in the second contest as he hit 3-5 with a double and four RBIs. Patrick Brady (Fr., Charlotte, Fla.) left his mark on Game Two as he drove in two runs and scored twice, including the eventual game-winner.
On the mound, Anthony Parenti (Jr., Elizabeth, N.J.) took the hard-luck loss in Game One with a complete game six-hitter, while the freshmen duo of Tyler Ridgeway (Olympia, Wash.) and Kevin McKelvey (West Covina, Calif.) gave the Mids clutch performances out of the bullpen to allow Navy to come from behind and win Game Two.
“The two games were very different,” said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “The pitchers in the first game pitched really well. Princeton’s pitcher [Michael] Fagan had three pitches going and we only got 23 batters to the plate so we never really had a good chance to figure him out and get hits. He did a great job and I tip my cap to him. I also think Tony battled hard; it was a 1-0 game. The two lefties dominated the game and Princeton got the run that they needed.”
With each team trotting its ace out in Game One, offense was hard to come by. Princeton had slightly more success versus Parenti as the Tigers got runners on base in each of the first five innings. Parenti, the second-most victorious pitcher in the NCAA, pitched around trouble in the first two of those innings before Princeton took advantage and manufactured the game’s only run on a walk and two singles in the top of the third.
Navy had its best chance to even the score in the bottom of the sixth as Robert Currie (So., Atlanta, Ga.) drew a two-out walk and stole second base to give Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.) a runner in scoring position. Unfortunately for the Mids, Fagan buckled down and force Blue into a ground out to the second baseman.
Princeton’s third inning run stood up as the game-winner as the contest would go final at 1-0. For the game, the visitors outhit Navy, 6-1. Manzelli went 1-for-3 with the Mids’ only base hit.
Fagan earned the win for the Tigers to improve to 2-1 on the season, while Parenti was saddled with his first loss of the season to drop to 5-1. Parenti completed the game with a line of 7.0 innings pitched, six strikeouts and one run allowed on six hits and two walks.
The entire seven-inning contest was played in 1:37.
In Game Two, the offense was slow to engage, but once the fourth inning rolled around Navy and Princeton saw its bats awaken and start to put runs on the scoreboard.
The Mids were the first to score as they got to the Tigers’ starter Cameron Mingo with two hits and a walk. After reaching base via a free pass with two outs, freshman Leland Saile (Land O’Lakes, Fla.) moved to second base on a Drew Hayes (So., Collegeville, Pa.) single before Brandon Beans (Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) roped a single to center field to score Saile.
With the score 1-0 in favor of Navy, Princeton fought back in the top of fifth inning with a pair of runs off of starter Luke Gillingham (So., Coronado, Calif.) to take the lead, 2-1.
This back-and-forth play continued over each of the Mids’ and Tigers’ next at bats, as Navy responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth before Princeton plated two in the top of the sixth. Currie and Brady registered the RBIs for the hosts in the fifth with a triple and a squeeze bunt, respectively.
Navy found the answer for Princeton in the top of the sixth after the Tigers netted their two runs on three consecutive hits. Down 4-3, the Mids went to their bullpen and trotted out Ridgeway, who was coming off a scoreless collegiate debut on Thursday. The freshman righty quelled any more offense for Princeton in the top of the sixth and continued his strong appearance into the seventh before giving way to his fellow first-year hurler, McKelvey, who retired his first two batters to send the action into the bottom of the inning.
After Brad Borosak (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) was retired on a ground out by Chris Bodurian, Currie swung and missed at strike three, but was able to reach first base as the pitch bounced away from Princeton’s catcher on a wild pitch. A walk to Brady would give Navy two on with one out. Travis Blue came through in the clutch as he stroked a single through the right side of the infield to score Currie, who was in motion from second base with a hit-and-run called. The next batter, Manzelli, would drive in Brady with a single to left-center field to put the Mids ahead, 5-4.
Though five runs would prove to be sufficient, Navy tacked on four more runs in the eighth to salt away the victory by a 9-4 score. Brady and Manzelli headlined the Mids’ effort in the eighth as Brady drove in Beans on his first collegiate hit, a single to right field, while Manzelli cleared the bases with a two-out double to score three.
For the game, both teams registered 10 hits. Manzelli (3), Currie (2) and Hayes (2) all had multi-hit games for Navy.
McKelvey earned the win in relief to improve to 2-0 on the season. The southpaw threw 2.1 innings of two-hit scoreless relief. Navy’s starter Gillingham received a no-decision as he went 5.1 innings with four strikeouts and four runs allowed on eight hits and one walk.
“We did a better job in Game Two of putting together competitive at bats,” said Kostacopoulos. “They gave us some free bases on walks, we stolen a few bases and were able to manufacture some runs. Kash came through with the big hit, but I think the key to the game was our middle relievers did a really good job with getting guys out in pressure situations and matchups. Ridgeway did a nice job and McKelvey followed him up with a strong outing as well. That was the key because the game could’ve gone either way in those middle innings.”
“Kash is swinging the bat better. He’s been getting closer over the last 10 games, though sometimes the statistics haven’t shown it. He’s hitting the ball hard, having better at bats and doing a better job of staying in his strike zone instead of chasing pitches. He’s coming along.”
Navy will complete its four-game series on Sunday with another doubleheader against Princeton. Game One of Sunday’s twinbill is slated to begin at 12 p.m. at Max Bishop Stadium.