Navy Finishes Series with Holy Cross on Monday with Doubleheader Split
NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. - For the second straight day, the Navy and Holy Cross baseball teams battled to a doubleheader split at a neutral site. On Monday, the teams played at the New England Baseball Complex and at the end of 16 innings of action, the Mids (17-10, 2-2 PL) came out on top by a score of 6-1 in game one, while the Crusaders (7-17, 2-2 PL) were victorious 8-7 in the second contest.
"Overall it was a well-played doubleheader by both teams," said head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We got strong pitching by Kyle and a big offensive game from Leland in game one before getting another nice start on the mound by Andrew, but at the end they rallied and took the lead. We didn't give up and scored one before they rolled up a double play. It was a really competitive day of collegiate baseball."
For the doubleheader, Leland Saile (Sr., Land O'Lakes, Fla.) had a monster performance with a combined three home runs and seven RBIs with two of the long balls coming in game one. He was backed up at the plate by Evan Lowery (Fr., Williamsburg, Va.) and Jacob Williamson (Fr., Sims, N.C.), who each notched home runs over the course of the twinbill.
"Leland was the story offensively over both ends of the doubleheaders with seven of our 13 RBIs on the day," said Kostacopoulos. "He's really seeing the ball well and going up to bat with a lot of confidence right now."
On the mound, Navy got two solid starts out of their hurlers as Kyle Condry (Sr., Highland Village, Texas) threw a complete game with one run allowed in the first contest before Andrew Sauer (So., Johns Creek, Ga.) gave the Mids five innings of three-hit, two-run ball in the second.
"Kyle pitched very well today in game one," remarked Kostacopoulos. "He was under complete control while pitching in some very offensive confines. He stayed ahead of their hitters and did a really nice job throwing a complete game.
"Andrew did a really good job too. He continues to handle his role in the starting rotation very well. We're very pleased with how he threw today and how he competed. The key for his growth is to continue getting him experience."
Navy 6 - Holy Cross 1
The action on Monday started off fast for the Mids as the visitors jumped all over the Crusaders' starting pitcher Joe Cravero with three runs on three hits in the top of the first inning. After two consecutive putouts to start the frame, the three-four-five portion of Navy's batting order did the damage as Saile drove in himself and Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.) with a two-run home run over the left field wall before Lowery took the first pitch of the ensuing at bat out of the field of play too with a home run of his own.
Up 3-0, Navy extended its lead out to 4-0 in the top of the third as a leadoff double by Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.) turned into a run via a single off the bat of Born.
Holy Cross answered Navy's single run in the bottom of the third as the used a single and double to touch up Condry for his only run allowed of the contest.
With the score 4-1 after three innings, Condry shut down the Crusaders the rest of the way as they went three-up, three-down in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Mids tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the sixth as Saile took another ball out over the left field wall for two RBIs as Born was once again on base.
In the 6-1 victory, Navy and Holy Cross were tied in the hits department at seven a piece. Saile led the way for the Mids with two hits. Saile's two-home run game was the first for Navy since April 10, 2010 when Michael Speciale went yard twice at Maryland Eastern Shore.
Of note, Born reached base in all four of his plate appearances as the junior leftfielder was 1-for-1 with three walks.
In his second straight complete game, Condry finished with a line of 7.0 innings, seven hits, no walks, one run allowed and six strikeouts over an efficient 77 pitches.
Holy Cross 8 - Navy 7
The Mids strong starting pitching carried over into the second game of the day at the New England Baseball Complex as Sauer held the Crusaders to three hits and two runs over his five innings on the mound. Holy Cross scored single runs in each of the first and fourth innings as Navy struggled in early game action versus Ben White. The Mids were only able to solve the senior right-hander for one run over his brief 50-pitch appearance as he's returning from an injury. In the top of the third, Born singled in Christian Hodge (So., Winder, Ga.) to make it 1-1 at the time.
Down 2-1 after four complete innings, Navy teed off of reliever George Capen in the top of the fifth as nine batters came to plate and registered five runs on four hits and an error. With two outs showing on the scoreboard, Saile connected for his third homer of the day as he sent a Capen pitch out over the center field wall to plate three runs. Two batters later following a walk to Lowery, Williamson joined Saile in the home run column with a long ball out to left field for a two more runs.
With the score 6-2 in favor of Navy, Holy Cross cut one off its four-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh. The Crusaders continued finding success off the Mids in the eighth to the tune of five runs.
Finding themselves now trailing 8-6 going into the ninth, the Mids went down swinging as Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.) led off with a single before Blue drove him in two pitches later with a double to center field. Blue eventually moved over to third base, but the Crusaders left him stranded as they turned a game-ending double play two batters later.
In its 8-7 loss, Navy outhit Holy Cross, 11-9. Knowles, Blue and Saile highlighted the Mids' effort with two hits each.
In a no-decision, Sauer finished with a line of 5.0 innings, three hits, three walks and two runs allowed over 81 pitches. Williamson took the loss as the final reliever for the Mids as the Crusaders touched up the two-way player for two runs over 0.2 innings.
With Monday's result, the series between the two 2016 Patriot League Championship finalists ended at two wins each. Navy held slight advantages in batting average (.321 to .311) and run scored (27 to 23) over Holy Cross.
"This was split 2-2 series in every sense of the word," remarked Kostacopoulos. "These two teams played four hard fought games with not many quiet innings that let anyone get too comfortable. Our players played extremely hard this weekend. Over these last couple of years, it seems as if every game between Navy and Holy Cross is a close contest."
Navy will have less than 18 hours off before its back to the diamond as the Mids will begin a run on Tuesday of two straight non-conference games at home. First up will be the first-ever matchup between Navy and Wofford at 3 p.m. at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium before the Mids welcome the Coppin State Eagles on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Tomorrow's Navy-Wofford matchup will see Thomas Wilson (Fr., Burbank, Calif.) start for the Mids versus the Terriers' redshirt-junior Chris Sheehan.