Baseball Falls Twice on Patriot League Opening Day at Bucknell
March 29, 2014
LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Navy baseball team (13-13) opened the Patriot League portion of its schedule with a pair of road setbacks at Bucknell. Playing both games through varying levels of rain at DePew Field on Saturday, the Mids were never able to get their offense on track and fell victim to one subpar inning in each contest as they lost Game One, 2-1 and Game Two, 4-1.
The pitching trio of Luke Gillingham (So., Coronado, Calif.), Anthony Parenti (Jr., Elizabeth, N.J.) and Tyler Ridgeway (Fr., Olympia, Wash.) did their jobs on Saturday as all three posted strong outings and combined for a 1.29 ERA with 11 strikeouts over 14 innings. Gillingham and Parenti were both hard-luck losers on the day as Gillingham was charged with four unearned runs, while Parenti received only five hits of offensive support.
At the plate, Robert Currie (So., Atlanta, Ga.) and Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.) highlighted Navy’s effort as each player recorded multiple hits for the doubleheader. Currie combined to go 3-for-7 on the day with a triple and two runs scored and Manzelli went 2-for-7 with two RBIs.
“It was a tough day with us losing two games,” said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “Our pitchers really threw well all day. In Game One it was a tight 2-1 contest that could’ve went either way and then in Game Two we had three errors in one inning that led to four runs and our offense wasn’t able to overcome that hole. That was really the story of the day; we pitched well, but just made way too many mistakes to give ourselves a chance.”
Game One’s action started off fast as Currie crushed a leadoff triple in the top of the first inning to right field. Two batters later, Manzelli came through with a single to center field to give the Mids a 1-0 lead.
Bucknell looked to even it up in the bottom of the frame as the Bison were able to get runners on second and third versus Parenti. With the tying run just 90 feet away, the junior lefty got out number three with an emphatic swinging strikeout of Rob Krentzman.
Navy threatened in each of the next two innings as Connor Deneen (So., Tustin, Calif.) and Drew Hayes (So., Collegeville, Pa.) each reached second base; Deneen on a double and Hayes via a single and stolen base. Unfortunately for the visiting Mids, neither base runner would come into score.
With the score just 1-0 in favor of Navy, Bucknell put the pressure on Parenti and the Mids again in the bottom of the third with three consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. Shortstop Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.) came up big in Navy’s Houdini act with a catch of a sharp line-drive and a crisp turn of a 6-3 double play to keep it 1-0.
Brandon Beans (Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) gave the Mids their best scoring chance over the final four frames of the seven-inning contest in the top of the fourth as he reached third base courtesy of a hit by pitch, a Blue sacrifice bunt and a Deneen ground out.
After their first two scoring attempts were quelled by Navy, the Bison finally manufactured some runs in the bottom of the fifth in what would be their only scores of the game. Three straight singles and a throwing error on a bunt plated Bucknell’s first run before a squeeze bunt by Corey Furman pushed in Greg Wasikowski for the eventual game-winning run.
Though the Mids would get two runners on base in both of the sixth and seventh innings, the Bison pitching duo of Bryson Hough and Tucker Rekucki held Navy at bay and secured the 2-1 victory.
For the game, Bucknell outhit Navy, 7-5.
Hough earned the win to improve to 3-3 on the season, while Parenti fell to 5-2 with a final line of 6.0 innings pitched, three strikeouts and two runs allowed on seven hits and one walk. This complete game was the third of the season for Parenti and second in two weeks.
After an hour and a half break in between contests due to a constant rain and the threat of postponement, Game Two got underway at 2:15 and saw a similar script unfold to Game One. Navy’s first batter, Currie led off once again with a base hit, this time with a single through the left side of the infield. Unlike the first game though, Currie was quickly eliminated in the next at bat on a 4-6-3 double play.
The Mids seemed to have a decent read on Bucknell’s starting pitcher Dan Weigel as they reached base in each of the first three innings, but in all of the stanza’s the lanky southpaw got away unscathed.
With the game scoreless, the Bison broke open the contest with four runs in the bottom of the third. A trio of errors in the inning by Navy wreaked havoc and directly led to all runs being unearned in the wet and rainy frame. After being charged with two errors in a span of four batters, the fifth Bison up, Jon Mayer made Navy pay for its subpar defense with a single that eventually plated three as the ball skipped on the wet turf by Beans in left field.
Down 4-0, Navy responded in the top of the sixth with its first run of the game as Currie came into score on a Manzelli hit up the middle.
Outside of the third, Gillingham was in control throughout his season-high seven innings on mound as he posted three-up and three-down sides in the fourth and sixth and solo hits in the fifth and seventh frames.
Navy’s last attempt to solve Bucknell’s pitching came in the eighth when pinch-hitter Ryan Turner (So., Boone, N.C.) and Patrick Brady (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) went back-to-back with a double and walk to put two Mids on the base paths with no outs. Bucknell reliever Mike Castellani navigated this pressure-packed situation with three straight outs to keep it a 4-1 game.
Ridgeway held the contest at a three-run margin as he came on in relief in the eighth and hurled an efficient inning with a pair of strikeouts and a ground out.
A three-up, three-down ninth inning closed the door on Navy on the day with a 4-1 final score.
For the game, both teams registered four hits. Currie and Bucknell’s Brett Smith each recorded two hits in the contest out of the leadoff spot in the batting order.
Weigel earned the win for the Bison to move to 1-4 on the season, while Gillingham was saddled with the loss to drop to 0-4 on the year. The sophomore lefty finished the day with 7.0 innings pitched, six strikeouts and four runs allowed (zero earned) on four hits and two walks. This start was the first for Gillingham in 2014, in which he averaged less than one batter on base per inning.
“Luke threw really well for us,” said Kostacopoulos. “He gave us seven strong innings and did a really nice job. You also have to give credit to Tony, he threw really well for us too in Game One. We just didn’t play defense and come through with the hits that we needed to support either one of them.”
Navy and Bucknell will attempt to conclude their four-game series on Sunday with another doubleheader at DePew Field. The first pitch of Game One is scheduled for 12-noon. Stay tuned to NavySports.com for any changes to Sunday’s action as the weather forecasts shows significant chances of rainfall throughout Saturday night and Sunday in the Lewisburg area.