Baseball Cruises to Seventh Straight Win with 13-5 Victory at Eastern Shore
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Navy continued exhibiting its strong brand of baseball on the road on Wednesday when the team upended Maryland Eastern Shore by a score of 13-5. The Mids (25-12) leaned on a its offense to post a 6-0 lead through three innings, as well as a strong first collegiate start by Nicholas Elder (Fr., Roanoke, Va.) before pulling away further from the Hawks (7-24) at Hawk Stadium in Princess Anne.
“First off we got a really good start by Nick,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “This was his first career start and his first extended appearance and he did a really nice job for us going four scoreless.
“Offensively, we got a big inning early on and kept the pressure on from there with eight more runs over the course of the game. It was another good offensive effort by the team. We got contributions from many different parts of our lineup, but our top-three were really good today.”
Outside of Elder, the offensive trio of Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.), Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.) and Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.) combined for eight hits with five runs scored and five RBIs. Though not to be shortchanged in the success of the Mids’ offense on Wednesday, the five-, six- and seven-hole hitters in the form of Evan Lowery (Fr., Williamsburg, Va.), Zach Biggers (Fr., Walhalla, S.C.) and Adrian Chinnery (Sr., Wilmington, Del.) collaborated for seven hits, five runs scored and three RBIs.
After a quiet first inning, Navy’s bats kicked into gear in the top of the second as the Mids sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs on six hits. Back-to-back singles by Biggers and Chinnery began the big inning and from the nine-hole Michael Coritz (Fr., Clifton, Va.) started the run production as the freshman third base hit an infield single to score Biggers and give Navy a 1-0 lead. Knowles chipped in next with an RBI double down the right field line. An RBI groundout by Blue plated the Mids’ third run before Born made it 4-0 on an RBI infield single off the pitcher’s glove. Lowery drove in the final run of the frame with a single to left-center field.
That five-run lead would be all the Elder would need as he kept the Hawks off the scoreboard for his entire four-inning appearance as the Mids continued to build out their initial advantage. The freshman hurler had three-up, three-down frames in the second and fourth innings, while he showed off the results of pitchers’ fielding practice in the third as the anchor of a 3-6-1 double play with Chinnery and Blue.
Elder exited the game with a final line of 4.0 innings, two hits, no walks and no runs allowed over 42 pitches.
Navy scored its sixth run in the top of the third when Coritz singled up the middle to plate Alex Smith (Fr., Stafford, Va.).
With the score 6-0 after four full innings, Eastern Shore tallied an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth off of J.P. Colton (So., Maitland, Fla.) to make it 6-1.
Navy immediately responded in the top of sixth with three runs. The Mids took advantage of an unsuccessful call to the bullpen by the Hawks that saw two relievers combine to walk three batters and throw a wild pitch. Eastern Shore also had a fielding error and a passed ball during that half inning. A mishandled ball off the bat of Born scored Knowles for the first run before Blue scampered in on a wild pitch to make it 8-1. Lowery scored Born on an RBI groundout to round off the inning.
The back-and-forth action continued in the bottom of the sixth when the Hawks scratched one run off its eight-run deficit.
Ben Lowe (Jr., Memphis, Tenn.) pitched a scoreless seventh for Navy and the game moved into the eighth at 9-2 before the two teams combined to score seven runs, four for the Mids and three for the Hawks. Similar to their two prior big innings, the Mids did their damage with a consistent spaced out attack. Consecutive singles by Lowery and Biggers started to build the pressure before Chinnery came through with a third-straight single to plate Lowery. A sacrifice fly by Gabe Schilke (Fr., Fredericksburg, Va.) made it 11-2 before Knowles rocketed a triple down into the right field corner and drove in Navy’s final two runs of the game.
Eastern Shore’s last offense push came in the bottom of the eighth and saw the Hawks score three runs to tighten the game to a 13-5 score.
Jackson Zoch (So., San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) closed out the home team with a scoreless ninth inning. The right-hander forced three weak infield pop ups to complete the game.
In Navy’s 13-5 win, the Mids outhit the Hawks, 18-12. Knowles (3), Born (3), Chinnery (3), Blue (2), Lowery (2), Biggers (2) and Coritz (2) all had multiple hits for Navy.
In a predetermined staff day, Elder was declared the winner to claim his first collegiate victory.
In total, 19 Midshipmen saw playing time on Wednesday versus the Hawks.
“We came into this week with a plan to play a lot of different people, not only in today’s game, but in yesterday’s as well,” remarked Kostacopoulos. “We’ve played a lot of baseball recently so we made a concerted effort to get some people rest. We got the players in that we needed to and got a whole bunch of guys some more in-game experience so we’re happy about that.”
Navy will now turn its attention back to Patriot League play as the Mids will travel to Bethlehem, Pa. for a four-game weekend series with the Lehigh Mountain Hawks beginning on Saturday, April 15.