April 9, 2014
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – After falling behind early by six runs on Wednesday afternoon, the Navy baseball team (16-19) exhibited six innings of a hard-fought brand of comeback baseball on the road at Maryland Eastern Shore (7-17). Unfortunately for the visitors from Annapolis, they would come out on the short end of an 8-7 final score to drop its second game of a home-and-home series with the Hawks.
Seniors David Norman (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Kash Manzelli (Dunwoody, Ga.) led the Mids on Wednesday with strong at bats throughout the game. Norman reached base in four of five plate appearances with three hits and a walk, while Manzelli had a hit or RBI in three of his five at bats. In his first start on the field since suffering an injury on March 23, Brad Borosak (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) went 2-for-4 with a team-high two runs scored and an RBI.
On the mound, Kyle Condry (Fr., Highland Village, Texas) and Andrew Bartek (So., Jefferson, Ga.) gave Navy 5.2 innings of two-run relief to aid the Mids’ comeback effort.
“We didn’t get off to a good start going down 6-0 after three innings, but we battled back, made a ballgame of it and really gave ourselves a chance,” said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “The effort was there though the execution wasn’t there as a whole, but I was pleased to see us exhibit the effort that we did after a rough start.”
The host Hawks jumped out early on Navy pitcher Brian Wikoff (Fr., Shrewsbury, N.J.), who was making his first collegiate start. After giving up an unearned run in the bottom first, the first-year hurler was touched up for four runs on three hits and two walks in the second. A single run by UMES in the third closed the book on Wikoff and gave the Hawks an early 6-0 lead.
Navy fought back in the top of the fourth with a trio of runs. Brandon Beans
(Sr., Hartsville, S.C.) began the rally with a one-out walk. Norman followed Beans with a double down the left field line to give the Mids runners on second and third. Adrian Chinnery
(Fr., Wilmington, Del.) plated Beans with an RBI groundout while Borosak drove in Norman for Navy’s second run. A single through the right side by Blue scored Borosak to end the frame at 6-3.
UMES answered with a single run in the bottom of the fourth to stretch its lead back out to 7-3. A 4-6-3 double play was turned by the Mids to evade further damage in the inning.
Condry settled in after a rocky fourth and allowed just two of the next seven batters to reach. With UMES’ offense stalled out, Navy was able to chip away with a run in the top of the seventh. The inning’s leadoff hitter, Manzelli took a Will Turley offering and pulled a towering home run out over the right field wall.
After the Hawks notched their eighth and final run in the bottom of the seventh, the Mids responded with their second three-run inning of the game in the top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Patrick Brady (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) began a streak of three consecutive Navy batters reaching base as he opened with a walk off of UMES reliever Jordan Bone. After advancing on a wild pitch, Brady would come into score on a Borosak single and bobble by the right fielder. Borosak and Robert Currie (So., Atlanta, Ga.) rounded out Navy’s scoring drive as they crossed home plate on a Blue sacrifice fly and a Manzelli groundout.
With the score 8-7, UMES threatened to net an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth off Bartek, but the hard-throwing righty struck out Justin Dattilo swinging with two men on to finish the inning.
The Hawks’ closer Devin Repine held the Mids to just a two-out single by Norman in the ninth to finish the 8-7 contest and earn his second save of the season.
For the game, UMES outhit Navy, 14-11. Norman led a quartet of Mids with multiple hits as he finished with three base knocks. Currie (2), Manzelli (2) and Borosak (2) rounded out the group.
“It was nice to see Brad back in the lineup and have a couple of hits because he’s a key part of what we do,” said Kostacopoulos. “It’s important that he had a chance to get on the field and see live action before heading into a big Patriot League series this weekend; that was definitely a positive for us.”
Turley earned the win for the Hawks, while Wikoff was saddled with the loss after going 2.1 innings with two strikeouts and allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits and three walks. In two innings of relief work, Bartek struck out four UMES batters.
Navy will be back in Patriot League action this weekend with a pair of road doubleheaders at Lafayette. Beginning on Saturday at 12 p.m., the Mids and Leopards will compete in four games over 32 innings.