ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
Navy and Lafayette combined to play 20 innings of baseball on Saturday and when it was all done just before 8 p.m., both teams came away from Max Bishop Stadium with a win. Navy won the opener, 4-3, in 10 innings and then fell in game two, 7-6, also in 10 innings. With the split, Navy is 21-20 on the year and 7-7 in the conference. Lafayette is 7-32 overall and 4-10 in the Patriot League.
"Both teams just battled really hard today. It was one of those days where you just go back and forth and neither team would relent," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "It was 20 innings of baseball; it was definitely a grind."
Lafayette committed five errors in game one and it was the final one that allowed Navy to come away with the win. With the game tied at three and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Robert Currie sent a ball toward third baseman Scott Kelleher. Kelleher fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw was off-target, allowing Connor Deneen to score from second base and give Navy the win, 4-3.
Joel Rinehart pitched three scoreless innings in relief to earn the win, improving to 3-1 on the year.
With Navy leading 1-0 courtesy of a Dave Milanes RBI single, a pair of walks and an error in the top of the fourth inning gave the Leopards a chance to score their first runs of the game and they took advantage. A perfect bunt by Parker Hills rolled slowly toward third base and stopped just off the line, bringing in the first run. Campbell Lipe then delivered a base hit that got through the right side, scoring two more runs for a 3-1 Lafayette lead.
Navy stranded solo runners in the fourth and fifth innings and then pulled to within a run in the sixth on an RBI double down the right field line by Greg Dupell. A two-out single by Kash Manzelli into left field in bottom of the seventh tied the game at three.
Rinehart took over for starter Stephen Moore in the top of the eighth and got off to a rocky start. After allowing a leadoff single, an error by Ryan Moody at third base and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Leopards. But Rinehart struck out Kevin Casey and then got Hills to pop up to Moody to work out of the jam without yielding a run.
Rinehart stranded a pair of Leopards on base in the top of the 10th, setting up Navy's 12th come-from-behind win of the season.
Moore went seven innings for the second consecutive weekend. He yielded three runs (two earned) off four hits and tied his career high with six strikeouts.
Lafayette's Casey took the loss. He threw the final 3.1 innings in relief.
A two-RBI single by Dupell gave Navy a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning of game one, but three consecutive walks by Johnny Schoberl in the top of the second put Lafayette in position to get on the scoreboard. The Leopards followed the three consecutive walks with three straight base hits to grab a 4-2 advantage.
RBI singles by Thomas Dunleavy and Lipe in the top of the fourth extended Lafayette's lead to 6-2 and also forced Schoberl from the game.
The Leopards got out of the third and fourth with inning-ending double plays, but the Mids cut the deficit in the bottom of the fifth. A hard-hit two-out, two-RBI single by Currie scored Manzelli and David Wiedeman to make the game 6-4.
With reliever Stephen Geiss keeping the Leopards from extending their lead, Navy headed to the bottom of the ninth still trailing by a pair of runs. A single by Wiedeman and walk to Chris Campbell put the tying runs on base for the Mids. Facing Lafayette closer Alex Farina with two outs, pinch-hitter Jonathan Huggins drilled a double to deep left field. The ball carried all the way to the wall, allowing both runs to score and knot the game at six.
With daylight evaporating, the two teams moved on to the 10th inning. Rinehart came on in relief for the second consecutive game after Geiss allowed a leadoff single. He retired the first two batters, but Andrew Santomauro then drove a double to right field, scoring Casey to give Lafayette a 7-6 lead.
Navy was able to draw a walk and get a single in the bottom of the 10th, but reliever Air Kaufman got Drew Hayes looking at strike three to end the game.
Geiss pitched well out of the bullpen, striking out six for the second consecutive outing in 5.2 innings. He is now 1-1 with the loss.
"Steve did a great job and gave us opportunities to get back in the game," said Kostacopoulos.
Farina earned the win and Kaufman picked up his first save.
Wiedeman led Navy with a career-best four hits in game two, while Santomauro also had four for the Leopards.
Navy stranded runners in every inning, leaving a total of 16 on base in the game.
The two teams will meet again in a twin bill tomorrow. Game one will begin at 1 p.m. and will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.