April 3, 2011
Coach Paul Kostacopoulos Podcast
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Navy baseball team defeated Lehigh twice on Sunday to take three of four games from the Mountain Hawks on the weekend. The Mids combined for 27 hits in the two games as they won game one, 9-4, and then took game two, 12-2, to improve to 17-12-1 on the season.
"It was a good team effort, offensively, today," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "I think we did a much better job today of not throwing away at-bats. We did a good job of making them throw the ball in the strike zone and not jumping at so many pitches."
Navy got a strong outing from Ben Nelson in game one, who pitched a complete game and scattered seven hits while allowing four runs. Nelson struck out six and didn't issue a walk as he improved to 4-2 on the season.
"I think I was a little too excited in the first inning today," said Nelson. "But after I settled in, I was able to get some people out."
Nelson took the hill with a five-run lead as Navy scored five runs with two outs in the top of the first inning.
Consecutive two-out walks gave Navy its first base runners and then a critical error by second baseman Ryan Gajdos, on a ball hit by Greg Dupell, opened the door for Navy's big inning. Alex Azor scored on the Gajdos error for the first of five Navy runs.
The Midshipmen kept the pressure on as three straight RBI singles by Jeff Bland, Nick Driscoll and Craig Veech gave them 4-0 lead. A passed ball later allowed Driscoll to score to give Navy its fifth run.
After Lehigh got two runs back off two hits in the bottom of the first inning, Navy responded in the top of the second.
Dan Ciccone, who replaced starting pitcher Jayme Edwards to start the second inning, was also a victim of the Mountain Hawks' defensive woes.
An error by Gajdos in the first at-bat of the second allowed Andrew Hahn to reach safely and two batters later, another error allowed Hahn to score from third base.
The next batter, Dupell made it 7-2 with a single through the right side that scored Azor. It was the first earned run of the game for Lehigh.
Bland recorded a RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning and two run homer by Lehigh's Austin Borden in the sixth made the score 8-4 heading to the final inning.
Hahn gave Navy an insurance run with an RBI single to left field in the top of the seventh.
Working the entire game with a lead, Nelson was able to settle in after the first inning as he retired the leadoff hitter in every inning but the seventh.
Edwards took the loss for Lehigh in game one and fell to 2-1.
The Navy offense, which recorded 10 hits in game one, got out to a fast start in game two and put the Mountain Hawks away early. The Midshipmen scored in all but three innings in game two as they put up 17 hits and never let Lehigh in the game.
Bland went 5-for-5 in game two as it marked the second time he recorded five hits in a game in the last two weeks.
Like the first inning of game one, Navy again took advantage of early Lehigh miscues in game two. Navy scored three runs off three hits and two errors in the top of the second inning to grab another early lead.
After Driscoll drove in a solo run in the top of the third inning, Navy extended its lead further with three more runs in the fourth. Dave Milanes, Dupell and Bland all drove in runs with consecutive hits to boost the Mids' lead to 7-0.
A passed ball and a RBI single by Brandon Beans pushed the lead to 9-0 in the fifth inning.
Lehigh broke the shutout bid with solo runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but the Midshipmen responded to ice the game with three more runs in the seventh and eighth.
Azor drove in a solo run in the seventh inning, while in the eighth, Veech singled in a run and a wild pitch by Lehigh's fourth relief pitcher of the day, Thomas O'Malley, added Navy's 12th run of the game.
Taylor Cato started on the mound for Navy in game two and he held the Mountain Hawks to just two hits in 4.1 innings of work. Cato left with a 9-1 lead in the fifth and picked up the win to move to 2-0 on the year.
Wes Olson took over for Cato and scattered four hits in 3.2 innings.
Lehigh's Jordan Warncke allowed five runs, just two earned, in 3.1 innings and suffered his first loss of the season.
Navy will return to action at home on Wednesday when it takes on Georgetown at 3:30 p.m.
With five singles, Jeff Bland recorded his second 5-for-5 game of the season...Bland also went 5-for-5 against Yale on March 19 in a 15-7 win.
A day after turning a season-high five double plays in game two on Saturday, Navy turned a total of four more in Sunday's two games...Six of Navy's nine twin killings on the weekend were inning-ending double plays.
Navy established a season high with six stolen bases in game two on Sunday.
This weekend's series win marked the fifth time in the last six seasons Navy has won its opening Patriot League series.
Navy is now 14-2 when holding opponents to five or fewer runs.
With five runs in first inning of game two, the Mids are now 9-1 when they score in the first inning.