Navy Edged by Yale, 2-1
March 24, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy junior right-handed pitcher Mitch Harris (Mt. Holly, N.C.) struck out nine batters and scattered four hits over six innings, but proved to not be enough as Yale clipped the Midshipmen, 2-1, in a Saturday pitcher's duel at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium in Annapolis. The Mids fell to 16-9 with the loss, while the Bulldogs improved to 6-11 on the year.
"We really couldn't muster a couple of hits clustered together to push the tying or go-ahead run across today," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Once again this year, Mitch was great for us on the mound. Ironically, this was probably his best performance of his career in regards to his command. He really hit his spots."
Harris was the tough-luck loser for the Mids, despite striking out as many or more batters than innings pitched for the seventh time in as many starts in 2007. The Navy right-hander held the hosts hitless over the first-four innings and issued only one free pass during his 84-pitch outing, 59 of which were strikes. His record dropped to 5-2 on the year.
Yale tallied its first hit of the game with a Ryan Lavarnway solo home run over the left field fence to open the fifth inning.
Navy answered right back in the bottom half of the fifth to tie the game at one. With two outs and runners on first and second, junior center fielder Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.) singled through the left side to plate senior second baseman B.J. Bickel (Benson, N.C.)
The Bulldogs took the lead for good in the seventh, as Lavarnway singled home Marc Sawyer, who led off the inning with a double, to give the guests a 2-1 advantage.
Navy senior reliever James Lee (Asheville, N.C.) did not allow Yale to extend its lead with a strong three innings of work. He did not allow a hit or a walk and faced only one over the minimum with a strikeout. The right-hander needed only 27 pitches to registered the final-nine outs for the Mids.
The Midshipmen would make a rally attempt in both the eighth and ninth innings. Hollins drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third on a groundout. After Harris walked, Yale reliever Brian Irving induced a groundball to third to get out of the jam.
In the ninth, freshman catcher Steven Soares (Coral Springs, Fla.) was hit by the first pitch and freshman Matthew Curley (Boston, Mass.) came in to pinch-run. Following a sacrifice that allowed Curley to move into scoring position, Irving was able to get a fly out and a groundout to end the ballgame.
Hollins led Navy's offense at the top of the order, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a RBI on the afternoon. Harris and Soares each produced a hit and reached base safely twice for the Mids, as they out-hit the Bulldogs, 6-4.
"Renaldo did his job as the leadoff hitter," commented Kostacopoulos. "He has been more consistent as the season has gone on, getting on base and making things happen."
Brandon Josselyn earned the win for Yale, as he allowed six hits and one run with one walk and five strikeouts in a 7.2-inning outing. He improved to 1-1 on the year.
The Midshipmen and the Bulldogs will play the rubber game of the three-game set tomorrow at 12 noon. Navy won the first game of the series in comeback fashion, plating two runs in the eighth, for a 4-3 win on Friday. Live stats for Sunday's action will be available via GameTracker on www.navysports.com (.)