Mids Split Series With Bucknell; Kostacopoulos Wins 700th Game
April 8, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The Navy baseball team rallied to defeat Bucknell, 3-2, in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday in Lewisburg, Pa., but fell, 10-3, in game two to settle for series split. Navy's victory in game one gave head coach Paul Kostacopoulos the 700th victory of his 23-year career. Kostacopoulos is the 37th-active NCAA Division I head coach to reach the 700-win plateau.
With the weekend split, Navy is now 14-18 overall and 2-6 in the Patriot League. Bucknell is 16-17 and 3-5 in the conference.
"I thought we battled really hard to win the first game and Preston Gainey was outstanding," said Kostacopoulos. "For us to be down 2-0 without much going, and then be able to score three runs was a big for us."
Bison starting pitcher Ryan Ebner began game one by retiring nine consecutive and yielded just two hits entering the sixth with a 2-0 lead. Ebner began the top of the sixth inning by issuing just his second walk of the game as Alex Azor took ball four on a full count.
After two ground outs that moved Azor to third base, Dave Milanes then got on with another full-count walk, bringing up Chris Campbell. Campbell took advantage of his opportunity and crushed a triple to right-center field that scored both runners to tie the game at two.
It looked like the Mids would settle for the pair of runs when the next batter, Chance Jones, sent a pop fly toward the shortstop, Robb Scott. Scott initially appeared to make the catch, but the ball fell out of his glove. Running on contact, Campbell easily scored from third base to give Navy a 3-2 lead.
Pitching with the lead for the first time, Gainey retired six of the final seven Bison batters, including striking out Bob Donato to end the game.
For Gainey, it was his first win as a starter as he finished with five strikeouts and scattered just four hits.
Ebner took the complete-game loss, falling to 2-5 on the year.
"We had to play a lot of pressure baseball in the first three games of this series," said Kostacopoulos. "Fortunately, we were able to keep it together and win a couple of those."
Bucknell took a 2-0 lead in game one when it scored two unearned runs with two outs in the bottom of the second. With one on, Russell Seidell hit an infield single and Robb Scott followed with a shot to David Wiedeman at shortstop that popped out of his glove, bringing in the first run. Donato followed with a bunt down the left field line that came to a halt just short of Campbell at third base, allowing Seidell to make it 2-0.
Game two started with both teams trading solo runs in the first and second innings. Greg Dupell gave Navy a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when he belted his first home run of the year, and Rob Krentzman tied the game for Bucknell in the bottom of the second with a two-out RBI single.
The Bison used three consecutive one-out hits in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. David Duffett's triple to deep left-center field scored both runners on base and ended Navy starter Stephen Moore's day.
Bucknell loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth, but got just one run as reliever Jordan Heller induced a double play and got a ground out to end the inning.
The Midshipmen battled back in the top of the fifth with two singles and a walk to pack the bases with no outs. Dupell made it 4-2 as a he drew a walk and Campbell followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to pull the Mids within one at 4-3.
With Navy unable to do any more damage in the top half of the fifth, Bucknell used three walks to again put a runner at every base. With two outs, a pinch-hitting Reed cashed in with a three-RBI triple. Donato followed with an RBI single and the Mids' one-run deficit quickly disappeared as the Bison went ahead, 8-3.
Bucknell added solo runs in the sixth and seventh, while Seidell held the Mids to just one hit over the final three innings to pick up the save.
Dan Goldstein, who started game two for the Bison, went six complete innings, allowing all three Navy runs off eight hits in earning his first win of the year.
Moore took the loss in game two, falling to 0-3 on the season.
"To get a split on the road, especially against a quality team like Bucknell, we were able to get our feet back under us in the conference," said Kostacopoulos. "Now we've got to get back to work at practice this week and keep improving to work toward our goal of getting to the postseason."
Navy will be back in action on Wednesday when it hosts George Mason at 3 p.m. at Max Bishop Stadium.
- With four hits in game two, Dylan Wheeler established a new career high ... Wheeler's previous career high of three hits came on nearly two years ago to the day on April 6, 2010 against George Washington.
- In three career appearances against Bucknell, Preston Gainey has two saves and one win.
- Greg Dupell's home run in game two was the first for Navy since Chris Cannon's solo home run on March 10 against UMBC.