April 13, 2014
EASTON, Pa. - After splitting Saturday's doubleheader at Lafayette, the Navy baseball team found itself in another set of hard fought games on Sunday afternoon at Kamine Stadium. The Mids (18-21, 4-8 PL) and Leopards (10-18, 3-7 PL) battled once again and split for the second straight day as Navy took Game One, 9-8 before falling in Game Two by a score of 9-7.
For the doubleheader, Brad Borosak (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) and Drew Hayes (So., Collegeville, Pa.) drove in a team-high four RBIs, while Adrian Chinnery (Fr., Wilmington, Del.), Kash Manzelli (Sr., Dunwoody, Ga.) and Travis Blue (Fr., Orange, Calif.) all registered three hits off Lafayette pitching on the day.
On mound, Andrew Bartek (So, Jefferson, Ga.) won Game One in relief of Luke Gillingham (So., Coronado, Calif.), who threw 5.1 innings and struck out six Leopards in his start.
"The first game was such a battle," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Being able to win that 9-8 and coming from behind and then holding on for the win was big. The second game was another battle with each team going back-and-forth. The whole series was really tough, as everybody played hard and everybody did their part in trying to make their team successful."
In Game One, Navy jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Blue got the offense going with a one-out single to left field. After Manzelli stroked a single to center field and David Norman (Sr., Fayetteville, Ga.) drew a walk, Hayes stepped in and put forth a hard-fought at bat that lasted into double-digit pitches. On the tenth offering from Lafayette starter David Bednar, the sophomore third baseman connected and smashed a bases clearing triple to the right-center field gap to make it 3-0 in favor of the visiting Mids. Two batters later, Hayes would come into score on a sacrifice fly to left field by Borosak.
With the score 4-0 for Navy, Lafayette responded in the bottom of the first with a leadoff home run by Andrew Santomauro over the left field wall.
The score would stay at 4-1 into the bottom of the third when the Leopards plated a pair of two-out runs on a Tim Lazor single to center field.
The back-and-forth action continued in the next frame when Navy answered Lafayette's scoring with a run of its own. Another 10-pitch at bat was the source of offense as Leland Saile (Fr., Land O'Lakes, Fla.) worked Bednar deep in the count until fanning on strike three, but the wild movement on Bednar's breaking ball caused it to roll to the backstop and score Borosak, who reached earlier on a double to the left-center field gap.
With the score 5-3 in favor of the Mids, Gillingham pitched around Lafayette threats in each of the fourth and fifth innings. At one stretch during those innings, the sophomore lefty retired four of five batters on swinging strikeouts.
Navy's lead did not make it through the sixth as Lafayette sent seven men to the plate and scored two runs with two outs to tie the game at five-all.
Faced with the threat of extra innings, the Mids came out in the seventh with a bang as they turned two hits, two hit by pitches and a walk into four runs. Hayes drove in his fourth run of the game with a hit by pitch as he wore a Connor McMahon offering in the shoulder with the bases loaded. Two batters later, Borosak broke the game open with a bases clearing triple to the right-center field gap, reminiscent of Hayes' hit in the first inning.
Holding a four-run lead at 9-5, Navy's relief duo of Andrew Bartek (So., Jefferson, Ga.) and Borosak were tested in the bottom of the seventh by Lafayette's second straight inning with seven batters. This time in the seventh, the Leopards plated three runs on an Andrew Santomauro bases clearing triple before Borosak forced a Jackson Kramer fly out to Currie in center field for out number 21 in the seven-inning contest.
For the game, Lafayette outhit Navy, 13-7. Borosak and Manzelli were the leading hitters for Navy as Borosak went 2-for-2 with a double, triple and a sacrifice fly and four RBIs. Manzelli finished Game One with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate and one run scored.
Bartek earned the win in relief to improve to 2-0 on the season. Gillingham took a no-decision as he went 5.1 innings with six strikeouts and five runs allowed on nine hits and one walk.
The Mids' quest for their first Patriot League series win of the season was put in jeopardy early in the second game as the Leopards got to Navy's starter George Coughlin (Fr., Arvada, Colo.) with two runs in the bottom of the first inning.
The hosts didn't hold that 2-0 lead for long as the Mids responded right away in the top of the second with a five-spot on the scoreboard. Hayes began the action as he led off with a hit by pitch off the ear hole of his helmet. Another hit by pitch, this one to Brandon Beans (Sr., Hartsville, S.C.), and a single by Saile loaded the bases for Chinnery, who promptly lined a single up the middle to score two. Two batters later, Blue matched his freshman teammate with a two-run single of his own to make it 4-2. A sacrifice fly by Manzelli rounded out the scoring in the second inning.
Lafayette challenged to score in its half of the second, but a slick turned 6-5 put out by Blue and Hayes at third base nailed the Leopards' lead runner Parker Hills before Coughlin closed the inning with a fly out of Kramer.
After touching up Lafayette's starter Ari Kaufman for five runs over two innings, the Mids found it much harder to gain traction against the Leopards' first reliever, Cory Spera. The lanky righty hurled 2.1 scoreless innings versus Navy. This quiet spell for the Mids, gave the Leopards a chance to tighten the 5-2 game to within one run by scoring a pair of unearned runs in the fourth inning.
With the score 5-4, Navy plated its sixth run in the fifth inning courtesy of a leadoff double by Manzelli, a wild pitch and an error on a grounder off the bat of Borosak.
The back-and-forth nature of the game continued into the bottom of the fifth when Lafayette tied it up with an RBI ground out by Ronnie Sessa and a single to right field by Mike Coniglio.
Lafayette continued swinging a hot bat into the sixth inning when they took the lead for good with a two-spot on the scoreboard. An RBI groundout by Alex Woinski and a home run off the bat of Tyler Hudson guided the Leopards into the lead.
Navy cut into Lafayette's 8-6 advantage in the eighth as Chinnery singled to left field before Currie found the fertile right-center field gap and registered the fourth combined three-bagger of the doubleheader and sixth of the series.
A home run by the Leopards' Tim Lazor in the bottom of the eighth would add an insurance run that would not have to be called upon as the hosts held on for the 9-7 win.
For the game, Lafayette outhit Navy, 12-10. Chinnery led the Mids with a career-high three hits. He came into the game with only five in 29 at bats. Currie and Blue joined him with multiple hits as the duo atop the lineup each went 2-for-4. Of note, Manzelli's fifth inning double extended his hit streak to a team-high 11 straight games.
On the mound, Coughlin took a no-decision as he went 4.1 innings with one strikeout and allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks. Michael McCormick (Fr., Speedway, Ind.) took the loss with 0.2 innings of relief work.
For the series, both teams swung the bat with solid success as Lafayette registered a .303 average over 122 at bats, while Navy hit .290 in 131 at bats. Of the Mids' 38 hits 10 were of the extra-base variety, including five triples. The top four batters in Navy's lineup: Currie, Blue, Manzelli and Norman combined for 23 of the team's 38 hits during the four-game slate. Manzelli led the way with a .533 (8-15) batting average with four extra-base hits and five RBIs.
"Robert has been tremendous all year; he got his 50th hit today and has 20 stolen bases. He's just had a phenomenal year," said Kostacopoulos. "It's not just today or this weekend, day-in and day-out, he's really done a great job for us. Travis Blue really swung the bat well all weekend, as did Kash in the three-hole. We also got solid contributions from David Norman so I'm really pleased with the job that the top of the order did for us this weekend."
Navy will be back in action on Wednesday at the University of Maryland. First pitch between the Terps and Mids is slated for 3 p.m. in College Park.