March 31, 2007
Game One Box Score (Navy 7, Holy Cross 6)
Game Two Box Score (Navy 12, Holy Cross 8)
WORCESTER, Mass. - Navy freshman reliever JD Melton (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) tossed four innings of no-hit, shutout relief to earn two saves on Saturday afternoon as the Midshipmen opened the 2007 Patriot League season with a doubleheader sweep of Holy Cross at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass. Navy won the opener, 7-6, before posting a 12-8 victory to improve to 20-9 on the year. Holy Cross fell to 2-11 on the season with the two setbacks.
"Today, we won both games by swinging the bat really well, something a little different than much of this season," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We hit the ball well, which was better to see. Holy Cross really battled in both games. I have to give them a lot of credit for never giving up. They really showed me a lot of character."
Melton recorded his first save of the afternoon when he came in and retired the only batter he faced with the tying run on third and the winning run standing on first. The Navy freshman came back in the nightcap to provide 3.2 innings of hitless, shutout work with no walks and two strikeouts to earn his second save of the day. The product of Myrtle Beach, S.C., has not allowed a run to score over his last-15.1 innings of work. His six saves during his first season donning the Navy blue and gold break the school's freshman record of four saves by Todd Bizba in 1985, and places him second on the single-season saves list behind Ryan Hefner's 10 saves last year.
"JD was hands down, our best guy on the mound today," said Kostacopoulos. "Not looking at the margins of victory, the second game was rougher than the first, as outs were really hard to come by. The game was a grind and he really gave us what we needed."
In the opener, Navy jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a Thomas Hamilton (Houston, Texas) RBI-single and a two-out error by the centerfielder. The Mids pushed the lead to 3-0 in the third, as Hamilton produced his second RBI-single of the contest with two outs.
The Crusaders knotted the score at three after four innings, but the Midshipmen immediately answered back with a run in the fifth and three in the sixth. For the third time in as many at bats, Hamilton drove in a run with a single in the fifth inning to re-take the lead. One inning later, junior Mitch Harris (Mt. Holly, N.C.) pounded a three-run shot over the left-field fence to extend the margin to four at 7-3.
Holy Cross cut Navy's lead to 7-6 with a two-out rally during the last half of the seventh. The host Crusaders singled in a run, took advantage of a throwing error to load the bases and plated two on a slow roller up the middle. With the tying run standing 90 feet away, Melton was summoned into the game and induced a game-ending flyout to center.
Harris got the win on the mound, as he battled through 6.1 innings to improve his mark to 6-2 on the year. He allowed six hits and five runs, three of which were earned, with five walks and eight strikeouts. He has fanned more batters than innings pitched during each of his eight starts this year. The eight punch-outs upped his career total to 202, becoming the fifth pitcher in school history to reach the 200-strikeout mark and only the second pitcher to do so before his senior year.
In addition to his exploits on the mound, Harris helped his own cause with a 3-for-4 performance in the opener with three runs scored and three RBIs. Hamilton also went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Michael Garcia (Kailua, Hawai'i) scored three runs.
The nightcap of Saturday's twinbill proved to be one of streaks, as the Midshipmen stormed out to an 11-0 after two and a half innings before the Crusaders plated eight unanswered runs over the next-four innings.
Navy pushed eight runs across in the top half of the second, sending 12 batters to the plate. The eight runs scored in an inning are the most this season and the highest output in an inning since a 10-run outburst against Holy Cross on April 1, 2006, in Annapolis. Steven Soares (Coral Springs, Fla.) and Mike Hoosier (Pomona, N.Y.) each smacked two run doubles, Garcia plated two on a single and Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Drew Lydon (White Plains, Md.) both delivered RBI-singles.
In the third inning, Kendall Bolt (Stockton, Calif.) scored on a wild pitch before Harris belted a two-run, opposite field, 400-foot shot over the right-centerfield fence to make the score 11-0. The round-tripper was Harris' sixth on the year, tying him for seventh on the program's all-time single-season list. He also became the first Navy baseball player to hit home runs in back-to-back games since Jared Munde at the Service Academy Spring Classic last year.
Holy Cross answered back for the second-straight game, scoring twice in the third, once in the fourth and fifth and four times in the sixth to pull within three at 11-8. That would be as close as it would get, as Melton held the Crusaders in check over the final three-plus innings. The Mids extended the lead to 12-8 in the seventh when Garcia doubled home Hollins, who led off the inning with a double.
All nine of Navy's starters registered a hit in the second game, as they combined to out-hit their hosts, 14-11. Garcia posted his second four-hit effort of the season and drove in three runs to lead the offense. Hollins went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored, while Harris, Hoosier and Soares each knocked in a pair of runs.
"Michael Garcia had two really good offensive games today," commented Kostacopoulos. "He had good at bats, moved runners along and got on base all day today."
Junior starter Mark McCoy (Parkland, Fla.) picked up the win, as he scattered 10 hits and six runs, four of which were earned, with two walks and a strikeout in five innings of work. His record improved to 4-3 on the year with Saturday's nightcap victory.
Navy and Holy Cross will conclude the four-game set tomorrow with a doubleheader scheduled for 12 noon at Fitton Field. Live stats will be available via GameTracker on Navy's website, www.navysports.com (.)