April 15, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy baseball team closed out its four-game series with Holy Cross on Sunday at Max Bishop Stadium by splitting a pair of games. The Midshipmen won game one, 8-2, but fell in the final game of the series, 15-3. Navy is now 15-22, overall, and 3-9 in conference play, while Holy Cross is 21-16, overall, and 8-4 in the Patriot League.
Navy got strong pitching in game one as a total of four pitchers limited the Crusaders to just three hits, while the Mids' offense was able to extend the lead late to seal the game.
"Game one was a lot closer than the final score indicated," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Preston Gainey and Stephen Moore did a good job and we executed well offensively."
Chance Jones gave Navy a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single to left field, but Holy Cross responded to score twice in the top of the second. A walk, single and error by Gainey loaded the bases for the Crusaders to start the inning. The next batter, Andrew Barry, hit a ball to Greg Dupell at third base, who attempted to start a double play, but his throw to second was off target, allowing two runs to score.
Gainey and the Mids hung tough though, as two consecutive strikeouts and a groundout prevented any further damage.
"Preston was able to get out of that jam and he really showed a lot of competitiveness," said Kostacopoulos.
Trailing 2-1, the Navy offense bounced back to regain the lead in the bottom of the second. A one-out triple by Andrew Hahn got things going, and after a two-out walk to David Wiedeman, Alex Azor drove in the first run with a bloop single to shallow left field. Nikolai Simonsen followed with a double to deep center field that scored Wiedeman and Azor. Simonsen was thrown out at third on the play, but not until after both runs scored for a 4-2 Navy lead.
Gainey faced just one over the minimum in the third and fourth innings and after a single and walk with one out in the top of the fifth, Moore came out of the bullpen to replace him. Moore was able to get out of the fifth, leaving the bases loaded, and also worked around a pair of walks in the sixth.
"Stephen Moore was able to get five outs at a critical point in the game," said Kostacopoulos. "He has pitched well in the clutch for us now for two weeks in a row."
With Moore preventing Holy Cross from getting any closer, the Mids' offense built on its lead with a solo run in the fifth and then added three more in the sixth to put the game away. Kash Manzelli made it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Simonsen drove in his third RBI of the game with sac fly of his own for the first run of the sixth. A pair of two-out RBI singles by Dupell and Manzelli ran Navy's lead to 8-2.
"Nikolai definitely swung the bat better today and I thought overall we had better at-bats," said Kostacopoulos. "We've got to continue to swing the bats well this week and good things will start happening."
After Matt Jackson issued a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh, Joel Rinehart came out of the bullpen and got a 4-6-3 double play and then a groundout to end the game.
Gainey allowed three hits in his four and one-thirds innings of work as he earned his second straight win to improve to 2-2. In his one and two-thirds innings of work, Moore didn't allow a hit and issued two walks and struck out two.
Holy Cross starter Chris Kono took the loss as he yielded four runs off five hits in three-complete innings.
With game two scoreless in the top of third, Holy Cross took a 4-0 lead with the help of a two-out, two-RBI double by Stephen Wadsworth. The Crusaders then went on to send 12 batters to the plate in the top of the fifth and score seven runs to make the score 11-0. Wadsworth started things with a two-RBI single and designated hitter Chris Sintetos followed with a two-RBI double. Catcher Steven Tkowski made it three consecutive two-RBI hits with a two-run homer to left field. Mike Ahmed's double through the left side drove in the seventh run.
Navy got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth when Simonsen drove in two runs with a double to left-center field.
An RBI single by Tkowski, sacrifice fly by Brandon Cipolla and fielder's choice RBI by Barry boosted the Holy Cross lead to 14-2 in the sixth inning, and an RBI groundout by Alex Maldonado plated the 15th Crusader run of the day in the top of the ninth.
Navy's Jonathan Huggins capped the scoring with a solo home run to left field for his first-career hit in the bottom of the ninth.
Anthony Parenti, Navy's game-two starter, took the loss as he allowed four runs off three hits in three-complete innings. Parenti was one of seven Navy pitchers that saw action in game two.
Holy Cross' Nate Koneski scattered seven hits over six complete innings, striking out five and walking just one to earn his fourth victory of the season.
Navy will play a pair of non-league contests this week, beginning on Tuesday at Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Mids will then host Delaware State at Max Bishop Stadium on Wednesday.