April 21, 2012
Coach Paul Kostacopoulos Podcast
EASTON, Pa. - The Navy baseball team combined to score 34 runs in two games as it swept a doubleheader from Lafayette, 13-3 and 21-3, on Saturday afternoon at Kamine Stadium in Easton , Pa. Navy's 34 runs marked its highest run total in consecutive Patriot League games scoring 35 in 19-7 and 16-3 wins over Army in 1998.
Navy took game one behind a five-RBI performance from Alex Azor and complete-game effort from starting pitcher Preston Gainey. Azor went 4-for-5 at the plate and his five RBIs tied a career high.
Game two was more of the same for Navy as the Mids hit three home runs and starting pitcher Johnny Schoberl held the Leopards to just three hits in seven-complete innings. Greg Dupell knocked in a career-high five RBIs as well in the win.
"We had some guys have some really great days," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "It was one of those days where the bats were alive. It was a complete day on offense and our two starting pitchers were outstanding."
The two wins improved the Mids' conference record to 5-9 as they are now in fourth place in the league. Navy is 18-23, overall, while Lafayette dropped to 10-29-1. Lafayette is now a game behind Navy in the standings with a 4-10 mark.
Leading 6-3 in the top of the sixth inning of game one, Navy sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs off five hits and two Lafayette errors to put the game out of reach. Azor had two hits in the inning, including a bases-clearing, three-RBI double. Kash Manzelli and David Wiedeman had RBI singles and Chris Cannon plated a run on a sacrifice fly. An error on a ball hit by Chance Jones gave Navy its first run of the inning.
Navy took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with the help of a two-out Lafayette error. Jones drove a pitch to deep right-center field and right fielder Andrew Ruck tracked it down, but the ball popped out of his glove. The error allowed Nikolai Simonsen to score for the first run of the game.
Lafayette evened the game at one in the bottom of the second, and like Navy scored with the help of an error. An error by Wiedeman on a ball hit by Kevin McCarville with two outs brought in the tying run.
A sacrifice fly by Tim Lazor gave Lafayette its only lead of the day, 2-1, in the bottom of the third inning. The run seemed to rally the Mids as they responded to score three times in the top of the fourth. Singles by Josh Moore and Wiedeman set the table for Azor, who belted a Gentile offering to the wall in right-center field for a two-RBI triple. Simonsen followed with a single up the middle - his third hit of the day - to score Azor and give Navy a 4-2 lead.
Andrew Hahn extended the Navy lead to 6-2 in the top of the fifth with a two-out home run. Hahn's blast was his first of the season and easily cleared the center-field fence over 400 feet away.
Gainey yielded the final Lafayette run of the day in the fifth inning and gave up just one hit the rest of the way. The sophomore earned his third consecutive win, allowing three runs (two earned) off four hits.
"Preston pitched really well," said Kostacopoulos. "He makes the pitches when he has to. When you can get a complete-game effort in a league game, you're going to be happy with that."
Gentile fell to 0-9 as he gave up six runs (three earned) off nine hits in five-complete innings.
With game two scoreless in the top of the second inning, Hahn blasted his second, two-run homer of the day. Hahn's two-out homer cleared the right-center field wall and gave Navy a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the third frame, Azor continued his career day at the plate by doing something he had never before done in his time at the Naval Academy. Leading off the inning, Azor turned on a 1-1 pitch and sent it over the wall in right field for his first-career home run.
"He threw a change up inside and I was able to get the barrel out and put a good swing on it," said Azor. "It was a great feeling - I thought it would go off the wall. Once it went over, it was great to finally get a home run, but I was happier that we won."
The Leopards got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the third as Kevin Casey's two-run home run made the score 3-2.
The Midshipmen capitalized on three Lafayette errors with two outs in the top of the fourth inning and scored five runs to take a commanding 8-2 lead. Wiedeman drove in the first run of the inning with a bloop single to shallow right field that scored Cannon. An error by right fielder Andrew Ruck allowed Wiedeman to take second base, and a throwing error in the next at-bat allowed him to score.
Dupell later made the score 8-2 with a towering three-run homer to right field. The homer was his team-leading fourth of the season and 11th of his career.
Simonsen picked up his first hit of game two in the top of the sixth as his two-out double scored Hahn for a 9-2 lead. A walk and an error kept the inning alive and Manzelli made the Leopards pay as he cleared the bases with a grand slam. The home run was the third of the game for Navy and the first of Manzelli's career.
Navy boosted its run total to 21 in the top of the eighth with eight runs off five hits. A total of four Mids picked up RBI hits in the inning, including: Dave Milanes (double), Hahn (single), Greg Bryant (single) and Dupell (double).
Lafayette plated the final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single by Matt Lerner.
Schoberl finished with four strikeouts and two walks to improve to 5-2. Lafayette's Ethan Perro lasted just three and two-third innings, yielding eight runs, but just three earned, off five hits. Perro is now 1-5 on the year.
"We've struggled to score runs all year and it was nice to see us plate some runs today," said Kostacopoulos. "You see the looks on the faces of the players and they're relieved that we scored some runs."
The two teams are slated to meet in a doubleheader tomorrow at noon, however potentially inclement weather could alter the schedule. Visit NavySports.com for follow Navy on twitter at twitter.com/NavyAthletics for the latest update.
Azor now has a total of three five-RBI games in his career ... Prior to Saturday, Azor's last five-RBI performance came May 2, 2010 against Lafayette.
Hahn became the fourth Midshipman to homer in consecutive games this season, joining Greg Dupell, Brandon Beans and Chance Jones ... Jones was the last Mid to homer in both games of a doubleheader as he hit a three-run and two-run blast in both games against Air Force on Feb. 25.
Dupell now has 11-career home runs, which moves him into a four-way tie for 11th place on Navy's all-time home run list.
Game two marked the first time since an 11-3 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on April 14, 2010 that Navy hit three home runs in a game.
Manzelli's grand slam was the first by a Midshipman since Jonathan Berkowitz hit a bases-clearing homer in a 13-5 win over Coppin State on March 4, 2010.