Navy and Princeton Split a Pair on Saturday
March 23, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy baseball team downed Princeton, 2-1, in comeback fashion to win game one of a doubleheader on Saturday at Max Bishop Stadium, but the Tigers came back to take game two, 10-4. Navy is now 10-12 with the split, while Princeton is 2-15.
The Mids took game one with the help a complete-game effort from Ben Nelson as they got their fourth consecutive come-from-behind victory. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Dave Milanes belted a double down the line in right field to score a pair of runs to give Navy the lead for good, 2-1.
For Nelson, it was his 12th-career complete game and second complete-game victory of the season. He scattered four hits, struck out six and walked one as he improved to 5-1 on the season.
"It was another great effort from Ben," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "He got out of a few tough situations to keep us at 1-0. Baseball is the kind of game where if you can hang around long enough, get a couple breaks and get a big hit, you can put yourself in position to win."
Both Nelson and Princeton starting pitcher Zak Hermans started strong as the offenses combined for just one hit through three innings of play. A leadoff double by Danny Hoy to deep center field in the top of the fourth gave the Tigers the first runner in scoring position of the game. A wild pitch moved Hoy over to third base and then an errant throw from catcher Chris Cannon on a pickoff attempt allowed Hoy to score.
After yielding a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth, Hermans retired five consecutive and then stranded another base runner in the bottom of the fifth. Nelson responded in the top of the sixth when he got Ryan Alberts looking at strike three for the third out, leaving runners at the corners.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hermans issued his first free pass of the day as Robert Currie drew a one-out walk. A single by Brad Borosak gave Navy pair of runners, setting up Milanes for the game-winning hit. Milanes' shot carried to right field and bounced just inside the foul line, scoring both Currie and Borosak without a throw home.
Nelson had what was a season-low three Ks entering the seventh, but with the game on the line, the senior struck out the side to secure the victory.
"I really appreciated the way he finished the game," said Kostacopoulos. "He locks in when he has to and got the job done for us."
Hermans took the loss, despite allowing just four hits and registering eight strikeouts.
The Mids took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game two off an RBI triple by Greg Dupell to deep right field. Navy then made it 3-0 in the second inning with the help of a costly error. With runners at the corners, Currie sent a ball toward right fielder Steve Harrington. Harrington got under the ball, but as he squeezed his glove, the ball popped loose, allowing both Connor Deneen and David Wiedeman to score for a 3-0 Navy advantage.
A pair of singles and a walk to start the top of the third inning loaded the bases for the Tigers and they went on to push across three runs to tie the game. A bases-loaded walk to Mike Ford got the Tigers on the board and then an infield single scored a pair of runs to tie the game. Alec Keller scored easily on the play and after it appeared Navy called time, but did not, an alert Danny Hoy also scored.
After scoring the tying runs in the third inning, Keller (3-for-5) and Hoy (3-for-3) each drove in a pair of runs in the top of the fourth and sixth innings to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead. Keller's RBI double untied the game in the top of the fourth and Hoy followed with an RBI single to right field. In the sixth, Keller drove in another run on an RBI groundout while Hoy's two-out, RBI double down the left field line made it a 7-3 game.
Navy starting pitcher Anthony Parenti struggled early, and left the game after issuing his fifth walk of the day in the top of the fifth inning. He took the loss to fall to 1-2 on the season, yielding five runs off eight hits.
Ford gave up three runs on nine hits in seven-complete innings for the Tigers. The Mids had base runners in every inning, but Ford never let them gain any momentum as Navy stranded runners in six of the first seven innings.
The Tigers tacked on three more runs in the top of the eighth with the help of a two-RBI double from Ford. An RBI single by David Norman closed out the scoring in the bottom of the ninth, making the final score, 10-4.
"We issued seven walks and they swung the bat well," said Kostacopoulos about the loss in game two. "When you issue that many walks, bad things are going to happen. We definitely have to clean that up."
The two teams will close out the series tomorrow with a single game at noon.