Navy Takes Wire-to-Wire Win over Coppin State
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team cruised to a comfortable 11-3 victory over Coppin State on Wednesday as the Mids (19-12) jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Playing their sixth game and four games, the Mids’ lineup touched up the Eagles (5-18) for 15 total hits with five going for extra bases. Navy used six pitchers in a predetermined staff day to lock down the victory at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.
“Getting six runs in the first inning was big and what was even bigger was that we got them with two outs,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “Once we built up that lead the game hit a little bit of a lull. Give Coppin State credit as they came back and put the pressure on us, but I was happy with how we answered. It was one of those games where we did a lot of good things. On offense we picked up 15 hits, which is good and we also played really good defense. We’re finding our way on defense and we’re much more relaxed out there. I feel that we have a better clock in our head and we’re not rushing things so that certainly helps.”
Offensively, the trio of Adrian Chinnery (Sr., Wilmington, Del.), Evan Lowery (Fr., Williamsburg, Va.) and Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.) highlighted Navy’s effort as all three batters notched three hits. Chinnery drove in a game-high three runs, while Lowery tallied two RBIs.
On the mound, six Navy hurlers saw action as Jackson Zoch (So., San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) started and threw two hitless innings before giving way to J.P. Colton (So., Maitland, Fla.), who also went two scoreless innings. The trio of Nicholas Elder (Fr., Roanoke, Va.), Sean Kamhoot (Jr., Gainesville, Fla.) and Ben Lowe (Jr., Memphis, Tenn.) closed out the final 4.1 innings and held Coppin State scoreless.
“When you go into a game with that staff day mentality you never know what you could get, but I thought our guys did a really good job overall,” said Kostacopoulos. “Playing six games in four days has caused us to use a lot of different pitchers and we could have certainly gotten thin on a day like today, but our guys performed and held them to three runs.”
The outlook of Wednesday’s contest was overwhelmingly affected by Navy’s huge first inning as the Mids sent 12 batters to the plate in the lengthy frame. After the dust had settled, the Mids were responsible for six runs on seven hits. A leadoff double by Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.) kick started the action before the next two batters were retired. With two outs, Leland Saile (Sr., Land O’Lakes, Fla.) drove in the first run of the game and notched his 41st personal RBI of the year. Following Saile’s at bat, the next seven Mids reached base and four recorded RBIs as Lowery had an RBI single, Chinnery had a two-RBI single, Gabe Schilke (Fr., Fredericksburg, Va.) had an RBI single and Knowles came up a second time and deposited a single into center field for an RBI.
Of note, Schilke’s single to right field was the first base hit of his career in only his second-ever collegiate at bat.
With the score 6-0 in favor of Navy, the pitching staffs of both teams restricted their opponents’ offense over the next two and half innings until the Mids scored a single run in the bottom of the four. A leadoff walk to Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.) ultimately turned into the game’s seventh run via a sacrifice fly to center field by Jacob Williamson (Fr., Sims, N.C.).
Coppin State responded with its only crooked number on Wednesday as the Eagles tagged newly-inserted Navy reliever Austin Rader (Fr., Round Hill, Va.) for three runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Up 7-3, Navy added two runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings to make it 11-3. In the sixth, a triple by Lowery became a run when Zach Biggers (Fr., Walhalla, S.C.) bounced a ground-rule double over the left-center field wall. Once at second base, Biggers came into score in the ensuing at bat as Chinnery connected for a single into left field. Extra-base hits aided the Mids in the seventh as well, as Blue reached on a double and eventually scored on a Lowery sacrifice fly before Williamson hit a ground-rule double to right field to plate Born.
Holding an eight-run lead after seven, Kamhoot and Lowe closed out the victory for Navy as the junior pair combined to strike out the side in the eighth before Lowe forced three ground ball outs in the ninth.
Kamhoot’s final line over the seventh and eighth was 1.1 innings, zero hits, zero walks and two strikeouts, while Lowe went 1.1 innings with one hit, no walks and one strikeout.
For the game, Navy outhit Coppin State, 15-6. Chinnery (3), Lowery (3), Blue (3) and Knowles (2) all had multiple hits for the Mids. The three-hit day for Chinnery was his second multi-hit effort over the past four contests.
“Adrian’s last 15 or so at bats have been much better for him,” remarked Kostacopoulos about Chinnery showing signs of breaking out of his late March slump. “He’s on the ball again and that’s always a good sign.”
For pitching two scoreless innings at the start of a predetermined staff day, Zoch was credited with the victory to go to 1-0 on the 2017 season.
Navy will now turn its attention to Patriot League action as the Mids will welcome the Lafayette Leopards to Annapolis this weekend for a four-game series starting on Saturday with a 12 p.m. doubleheader.