April 17, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
Navy and Bucknell opened a four-game set on Sunday at Max Bishop Stadium with each team picking up a win. The Bison edged Navy, 2-1, in game one, while Navy took game two by a score of 5-2.
With the split, Navy is now 21-15-1, overall, and 6-4 in conference play. Bucknell is 15-21, overall, and 3-7 in the Patriot League.
Navy won game two behind a pair of solid pitching performances from Johnny Schoberl and Wes Olson. The two combined to hold the Bison to six hits, while striking out a total of 12 batters.
"Johnny and Wes were outstanding today," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Johnny was tenacious and was able to grind out six quality innings."
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning of game two and having stranded four runners on base through two innings, the Navy offense countered to score three runs.
Greg Dupell, who drove in Navy's first run of the game in the first inning, hit a one-out single in the bottom of the third to get things going. Jonathan Wright followed with a base hit to center field, and then Jeff Bland made it three consecutive hits as he scored Dupell with a base knock to tie the game.
Two batters later with two outs, Nick Driscoll stepped to the plate and belted a single to right center field to score both runners and give Navy a 4-2 lead.
Driscoll, who went 0-for-3 in game one, bounced back with three hits in game two.
"It was nice the coaches had the confidence in me to keep me in the lineup for the second game," said Driscoll "I started seeing the ball a lot better.
"The hit (in the third inning) was a huge confidence-booster for me. I think it will pay big dividends for me the future."
The Mids' big third inning seemed to settle Schoberl, who didn't allow a hit the rest of the way before Olson took over in the seventh inning. Schoberl scattered five hits over six complete innings and had eight strikeouts as he improved to 5-1.
A leadoff single by Alex Azor to start the bottom of the sixth inning ended Bucknell starting pitcher Dylan Seeley's day. Later in the frame with the bases loaded and facing the second Bison reliever of the inning, Wright grounded out to second base, brining in Azor to boost the lead to 5-2.
Olson took control of the game from there on as he allowed just one hit over the final three innings and picked up his second save of the season.
"Wes had a great line today," said Kostacopoulos. "He came in and did an outstanding job."
Seeley, who allowed five runs off 11 hits, took the loss in game two to fall to 1-6.
Prior to Navy's 12-hit effort in game two, the Mids produced just four hits in game one. Bucknell starting pitcher Ryan Ebner held Navy hitless through three innings and picked up seven strikeouts to earn the complete-game win.
Taylor Cato picked up Navy's first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning and later came around to score. With two outs and Cato having worked himself over to third base on a pop-up and stolen base, respectively, Wright brought him in for 1-0 Navy lead with a single through the middle.
Navy starting pitcher Ben Nelson held Bucknell to three hits through four innings, but a leadoff double by Drew Constable in the fifth started a rally for the Bison.
A single through the left side by Doug Shribman tied the game and another base hit by Gerry Runyan then ended Nelson's day.
Joel Rinehart replaced Nelson and gave up a single to load the bases. Bob Donato then drew full-count walk to bring in the eventual winning run.
Rinehart struck out the final two batters of the inning to prevent any further damage and allowed just one hit the remainder of the game.
Navy's best opportunity to pull even came in the sixth inning when Wright hit a two-out double down the left field line that moved Bland over the third base.
But Ebner got Josh Moore to ground out in the next at-bat to end the inning.
"We had a couple of opportunities to do something, but we still only had four hits," said Kostacopoulos of game one. "You have to put more pressure on the other team to be able to win - you're not going to win many games with four hits."
Nelson, who allowed six hits and struck out two batters, took the loss for Navy to move to 4-4 on the year.
The series, which was pushed back a day due to rain, will conclude on Monday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. at Max Bishop Stadium. Admission is free.
Navy is now in a three-way tie for first place in the Patriot League, joining Army and Lafayette, who are also both 6-4 in conference play.
Navy has held opponents to four or fewer runs in eight of its last 10 games.
With Nick Driscoll's triple in game two, Navy now has 18 triples this season, which is tied for the 13th most in a season in program history.
The Mids are now 12-3-1 when they record at least 10 hits.
Alex Azor went 1-for-4 in game one and 2-for-5 in game two, bringing his hitting streak to 10 games.