Navy Baseball Completes Four-Game Weekend Sweep of Lehigh
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Navy baseball team won its 10th and 11th straight games and completed a four-game Patriot League sweep of Lehigh on the road at Walker Field at Legacy Park on Sunday. The Mids (29-12, 10-2 PL) used a shutout pitching performance by the duo of Kyle Condry (Sr., Highland Village, Texas) and Jett Meenach (Sr., Flower Mound, Texas) to give Navy a 1-0 win in game one over the Mountain Hawks (11-24, 2-10 PL) before the Mids' offense slugged its way to an 11-5 victory in game two with four home runs, including a three-run homer by Christian Hodge (So., Winder, Ga.).
"In game one Kyle was a very efficient pitcher, who led us into the seventh and then Jett came in at the end and did the job to close off a 1-0 win," remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "To win a 1-0 game, you're doing that with an awful lot of top-end pitching. We also played good defense. At the end of the day, that win was really on the back of Kyle.
"We got a lot better offense in game two and did it with the long ball. Seven of our runs were generated by home runs. Again we played good defense and didn't allow them back in the game. Our relievers threw strikes to hold the lead. That was key; we didn't hurt ourselves and let them come back. Overall, our home runs were really big, especially Hodge's three-run home run to stretch the lead out."
On the mound, Navy received four quality performances on Sunday led by Condry's 6.1 innings of three-hit pitching in his game one start. In relief, Meenach got the game one save, while Rece Goodman (So., Irvine, Calif.) and Colin Brady (Jr., Seneca, S.C.) combined for 4.2 innings of one-run relief in the second contest.
Offensively, Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.) recorded a team-high five hits over the doubleheader, while Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.), Evan Lowery (Fr., Williamsburg, Va.), Jacob Williamson (Fr., Sims, N.C.) and Hodge all hit game two home runs.
Navy 1 - Lehigh 0
The first game on Sunday saw both Condry and Lehigh starter Levi Stoudt open with three quick, consecutive innings of zeroes on the scoreboard. Both starters were aided in their scoreless efforts by superb defensive play as Knowles was robbed of a base hit with a diving catch in the top of the third with Adrian Chinnery (Sr., Wilmington, Del.) on second base and potentially in line to score. Zach Biggers (Fr., Walhalla, S.C.) led the Mids' defense early on as he sprinted into right field from his second base position and made a diving over-the-shoulder catch on Matt Hand in the bottom of the third.
Two more complete innings of zeroes went up in the fourth and fifth as Stoudt put down the Mids six-up, six-down. In the bottom of those frames, the Mountain Hawks tagged Condry for single hits, respectively. With a single by Connor Donovan in the fourth, Condry's no-hit bid was over after 3.2 innings.
Still scoreless and heading into the top of the sixth, Navy broke onto the scoreboard as the top of order scratched out a single run. With one out, Knowles singled up the middle before advancing to third base when a hard hit ball off the bat by Blue was misplayed by Lehigh's shortstop. Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.) took advantage of the error and promptly plated Knowles with an RBI ground out to the right side of the infield.
With the score 1-0 in favor of the Mids, the host Mountain Hawks tried to knot the score in the bottom of the sixth as their leadoff hitter reached with single to left field before Condry buckled down and forced three straight fly outs, his 12th, 13th and 14th fly outs of the game.
In the final inning of regulation, Hodge doubled to left field with one out, but was stranded as Stoudt put down the final two Navy batters of the frame.
Lehigh's final at bats saw the team fly out and draw a walk off of Condry before Meenach was called in from the bullpen. Chris Kersey, the first batter that Meenach faced, greeted the reliever with a double to right field, but a well-run 9-4-2 put out at home plate cut down the potential game-tying rule. After recovering the ball, Leland Saile (Sr., Land O'Lakes, Fla.) threw into Biggers in shallow right field before he spun and fired a strike home to Chinnery, who tagged out pinch-runner Steven Fitzgerald at home. After his defense obtained that second out, Meenach closed out the one-run win with a routine ground out to shortstop.
For the game, Lehigh outhit Navy, 4-3. Knowles recorded two of the Mids' three hits.
Condry earned the victory to improve to 4-1 on the year with a final line of 6.1 innings, three hits, two walks and no runs allowed. The senior struck out two Mountain Hawks over his start. Over his first three Patriot League starts, Condry has recorded a 0.89 ERA with two runs allowed over 20.1 innings.
Meenach's 0.2-inning outing allowed him to collect his sixth save of 2017.
Navy 11 - Lehigh 5
After pitching ruled game one, both offenses came out fast in the second contest as Navy scored two in the top of the first and Lehigh responded with two of its own in the bottom of the frame. In a matter of eight pitches, the Mids jumped out to a 2-0 lead as Knowles led off with a single and Blue cranked an offering from the Mountain Hawks' starter Cole McManimon over the left field wall for a two-run home run.
The game progressed at a 2-2 score into the third inning before the Mids re-took the lead with back-to-back solo home runs with two outs. Lowery was the first Navy hitter to take McManimon out as he lofted a high ball just over the right field wall. Williamson left little to chance with his home run as he shot his round-tripper over the right field wall as well.
Sauer settled in a bit and kept the game at a 4-2 margin as he put down Lehigh in order in the bottom of the third before facing four Mountain Hawks in the bottom of the fourth.
Navy added to its lead in the fifth as once again the team kicked its offense into gear with two outs as Saile, Lowery and Williamson tallied three straight singles with Williamson's hit going for an RBI to make it 5-2. The next batter, Hodge plated three runs for Navy with one swing of the bat as he rocketed a home run on a line past the scoreboard in left field to increase the Mids' lead to 8-2.
Lehigh immediately responded in the bottom of the fifth with a three-spot to tighten the game back up to an 8-5 score.
Navy extended its lead out to six runs in the top of the seventh with three unearned runs as Lehigh's defense committed two errors. After Born reached with a leadoff walk, Saile singled through the right side to put two on. An error on Lowery's sacrifice bunt attempt loaded the bases before Williamson hit a grounder to third base that bounded through the third baseman's legs to score two. Biggers drove in the Mids' final run with an RBI single to left field to score Lowery.
The bullpen duo of Goodman and Brady shut down Lehigh the rest of the way with a combined total of 4.2 innings and five hits allowed. The Mountain Hawk's third run in the fifth inning would be the only run allowed by Goodman over his 2.2 innings, while Brady put a bow on the win with two scoreless frames over the eighth and ninth.
For the game, Navy outhit Lehigh, 14-10. Knowles and Lowery each recorded a team-high three hits, while Saile and Williamson each added two hits.
In a no-decision, Sauer was charged with four runs on five hits and no walks over 4.1 innings. The sophomore right-hander struck out five before exiting.
Goodman's one-run outing in middle relief earned him the victory in game two to improve to 1-1 on the year. The win was his first of his collegiate career over 13 appearances. He finished with a line of 2.2 innings, three hits, one walk and one run allowed with two strikeouts.
With four home runs on Sunday, the Mids' season total is now up to 31, the second-highest single-season mark in Navy program history.
For the series, Navy's offense hit seven home runs, while its defense fielded 102 flawless chances for a 1.000 fielding percentage.
"Defensively this weekend, we made the plays we were supposed to make and even some really special ones," remarked Kostacopoulos. "In game one today, when they sent the runner home for the potential game-tying run, we hit the cut-off and Biggers made a perfect throw to get the runner at home by a good amount. That's a big play! We did good things on defense this weekend. It wasn't our best offensive series, but we did enough other good things to go 4-0."
Navy will next be in action on Wednesday at home with a non-conference matchup versus George Mason at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. First pitch between the Mids and Patriots is set for 3 p.m. The next Patriot League series for Navy will be on the road at Army on Saturday and Sunday.
Patriot League Standings (Through 3 Weekends)
Holy Cross: 8-4