April 23, 2012
EASTON, Pa. -
The Navy baseball team completed a four-game sweep of Lafayette on Monday afternoon in Easton, Pa., taking both games of a doubleheader, 10-2 and 4-1. The sweep lifts Navy's conference record to 7-9 and the Midshipmen are now alone in third place in the Patriot League. At 4-12, Lafayette is now tied with Lehigh for fifth place. Navy's sweep was its first over a Patriot League opponent since taking all four from Lehigh in 2007.
In game one, Navy scored runs in each of the first five innings and starting pitcher Ben Nelson held Lafayette to just five hits in a complete-game effort. Kash Manzelli tied a career-high three hits and Josh Moore drove in a career-best three runs.
Manzelli continued his hot streak in game two with three more hits and a pair of RBIs. Starting pitcher Anthony Parenti threw five-complete scoreless innings and Joel Rinehart earned his third save of the season.
"Whenever you can get four wins in a weekend, it's a good weekend," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "We swung the bats much better, played solid defense and pitched well, so there certainly was not a lot to find fault with."
Navy (20-23) didn't take long to get on the scoreboard as it capitalized on a Lafayette error to score three runs in the first inning of game one. With Nikolai Simonsen on first via a base hit, Greg Dupell sent what looked like a sure double play ball toward second baseman James McCool. McCool mishandled the ball to give the Mids runners on first and second base and the next batter, Manzelli, drove in Simonsen with an RBI single to center field. Moore followed with double that fell in short right field, just inside the foul line, to score Dupell and Manzelli.
Another Lafayette error led to a run for Navy in the top of the second as a misplay by Leopard shortstop Brian Davila allowed Alex Azor
to reach base with two outs. Azor then swiped second base to get into scoring position and Simonsen delivered with an RBI single to center field for a 4-0 Navy lead.
Four consecutive singles to start the top of the third inning tacked on two more runs for Navy. With Dupell and Dave Milanes already on base, Manzelli picked up his second RBI single of the day. Moore then made it 6-0 as he knocked in his third run of the game.
"I thought it was big to get out to an early lead," said Kostacopoulos. "If we can give Ben a few runs, he's going to pitch that much better. That was critical to get those early runs and Ben did a great job."
Navy continued to extend its lead with runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Dupell doubled in Simonsen in the top of the fourth and a two-out, two-RBI single to left field off the bat of Azor in the top of the fifth gave Navy runs in five consecutive innings. Azor was able to take second base on the relay throw and then third on a throwing error. Azor later scored on a wild pitch to boost Navy's advantage to 10-0.
The Leopards (10-31-1) broke Nelson's shutout bid in the bottom of the sixth with two runs, including one on an RBI triple by Brad Hopek.
Nelson ended the game by retiring seven of the final eight Leopard hitters as he improved to 2-3. Nelson did not issue a walk and struck out five as he picked up his first complete-game victory since April 30, 2011 in 4-2 Navy win over Lafayette.
Leopard starter Jeff Snell gave up seven runs, but just three earned, off nine hits in three complete innings to fall to 1-3.
In game two, Manzelli continued his productive day at the plate when he led off the top of the second inning with his second home run of the series. Manzelli's blast came on a 2-0 pitch and cleared the right field wall.
Dupell, who went 2-for-4 in game one and 2-for-3 in game two, gave Navy a 2-0 lead with a two-out solo homer in the top of the third inning. Dupell turned on the first pitch from Lafayette starter Connor Ortolf and deposited it over the right field wall for his second homer of the series and fifth of the season.
Parenti faced the minimum in the second, fourth and fifth innings and gave up a total of just three hits before Stephen Moore replaced him in the top of the sixth. Moore got out of the sixth, but a leadoff single by Tim Lazor in the bottom of the seventh led to Lafayette's first run. Later in the inning with two outs, McCool sent a single into left field to score pinch-runner Brett Thompson and cut the Navy lead to 2-1.
In need of some insurance runs, Manzelli completed his three-hit effort at the plate with a two-out, RBI single to left field in the top of the ninth. A wild pitch from Leopard reliever Sean McGrath scored Milanes from third base for a 4-1 Navy lead.
Rinehart, who worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, issued two walks in the ninth, but struck out McCool for the final out of the game.
Parenti improved to 3-2 with the win and Ortolf, who lasted five and two-thirds innings, took the loss as he yielded two runs off six hits.
"Anthony did an outstanding job today," said Kostacopoulos. "We had two runs on two home runs, but weren't threatening to score more runs. He just kept pounding the strike zone and didn't allow them to get any momentum."
Kostacopoulos was pleased with the effort of the entire pitching staff as Navy allowed just nine runs in the series.
"I think what allowed us to pitch so well today was the fact that we didn't have to use our bullpen earlier in the series and that's a credit to our starting pitchers," said Kostacopoulos.
Navy will be back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Arlington, Va., to face George Washington at 3:30 p.m.
Greg Dupell's homer in game two was the 12th of his career, moving him into a three-way tie with Jeff Bland and Edward Abner for ninth place on Navy's all-time home run list.