April 2, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team (14-15) got back to its winning ways on Wednesday at Max Bishop Stadium as the host Midshipmen defeated Coppin State (6-16) by a score of 6-5. A five-run second inning secured Navy a lead that it would not give up on its way to the mid-week victory.
The Mids’ offense was well-rounded on the afternoon as seven starters had hits and eight reached base over the course of the contest. Connor Deneen (So., Tustin, Calif.) led Navy with a game-high three hits and an RBI. Three other Mids recorded RBIs in game, including Robert Currie (So., Atlanta, Ga.), Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.) and Leland Saile (Fr., Land O’Lakes, Fla.).
On the mound, Sam Sorenson (So., Etters, Pa.) made his first career start and pitched 4.1 innings of two-hit ball before turning the game over to the bullpen. The back end of Navy’s relief corps on Wednesday led the way as Andrew Bartek (So., Jefferson, Ga.) threw 3.0 scoreless innings to collect the win before Brad Borosak (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) closed out game with a three strikeouts in the top of the ninth.
“Today was a tough game; we really struggled finding the strike zone with our first couple of arms, but Andrew Bartek and Brad Borosak did a really great job coming in over the last four innings and pretty much shutting the door on their offense” said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “Offensively, we had a big second inning and we were able to do enough to make that stand up and win the ball game.”
After a scoreless first inning, both teams’ offenses zeroed in during the second inning as Coppin State scored one before Navy answered in a big way in the bottom of the frame. The Midshipmen sent 10 hitters to the plate and scored five runs on five hits, a walk and an error. Brandon Beans
(Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) got the scoring going with one out as he was hit by a Darryl Martinez pitch and promptly stole second base. Two batters later, he’d come into score as Patrick Brady’s (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) bunt single saw Martinez field it and overthrow his first baseman. Currie would drive in Nick Paglialonga
(Fr., Lake Forest, Calif.) for the second run before Blue plated Brady with a double down the right field line. Navy’s final two runs in the inning came courtesy of a Saile single to center field and a Deneen base hit through the right side.
“We were fortunate to pick up a few hits and string together some good at bats in the inning,” said Kostacopoulos. “Nothing is coming easy for us right now offensively, so to get five runs in that inning was a major key to the game.”
The score would stay at 5-1 into the fifth as Sorenson controlled Coppin State over the third and fourth innings with a just one batter reaching base. The sophomore finished off the Eagles in the fourth with back-to-back strikeouts.
In the fifth, a one-out walk to Rafael Eigenmann started a two-run rally for the visitors as they netted their runs with two singles, a hit by pitch and a second walk.
With the score 5-3, Navy pushed its lead back out to four as Beans once again got on without a hit (this time it was a walk), stole second and eventually crossed home via a throwing error.
The back-and-forth action continued into the sixth when Coppin State cut the 6-3 margin to just a run with two more scores. The Eagles took advantage of two walks, a hit by pitch and a pickle play on the base paths to notch its two runs.
Those sixth inning runs would close the game’s scoring at 6-5 as the Mids got four innings of scoreless relief from Bartek and Borosak to lock down the victory. Bartek took over for Tyler Ridgeway (Fr., Olympia, Wash.) in the sixth and retired three straight batters before pitching around an error in the seventh and setting the side down in order in the eighth. The sophomore hurler notched strikeouts in each of his innings. Borosak then came out and mowed down the number three, four and five hitters in Coppin State’s lineup with swinging strikeouts in the ninth to earn his first save of the year.
For the game, Navy outhit Coppin State, 9-4. Deneen was the only batter in the game with multiple hits as he recorded three versus Eagle pitching.
“I’ve really got to credit our catcher, Nick Paglialonga, I thought he was our best player today,” said Kostacopoulos. “He caught as well as I’ve seen this year. This was not an easy game to catch as far as where we were in the strike zone and the amount of balls that he had to block in the dirt with runners on base. He really played well today.”
“We’re definitely looking forward to the weekend. We have a real tough Holy Cross team coming in. We’ll take tomorrow off; get some rest and ramp up our prep on Friday.”
Navy will next be in action on Saturday with the first doubleheader in a pair of Patriot League weekend twinbills. First pitch between the Mids and Crusaders is set for 12-noon on both days.