Navy Drops Two at Holy Cross on Sunday
April 26, 2009
WORCESTER, Mass. - The Navy baseball team had its Patriot League Tournament hopes dashed on Sunday, as it dropped both ends of its doubleheader against Holy Cross at Fitton Field, 9-5 and 9-2. The Midshipmen fell to 18-26-1 on the year and finished Patriot League play with an 8-12 mark. The Crusaders improved to 21-23 overall and 11-7 in league action.
Navy entered the day needing to perform one game better than Lafayette in order to earn a spot in the Patriot League Tournament. However, the Midshipmen were unable to make use of Army's twinbill sweep of the Leopards in Easton, Pa., on Sunday afternoon.
"We are obviously disappointed that we didn't do what we needed to do to make the postseason," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Today we did not take advantage of the opportunity we had."
In the opener, Holy Cross struck first with a run in the bottom of the first before Navy came back with a two-run second. Michael Speciale (Jr./Pearland, Texas) led off the frame with a double down the left-field line before Steven Soares (Jr./Coral Springs, Fla.) launched his seventh round-tripper of the year.
The Crusaders responded with a two-run second inning, but the Midshipmen answered again, this time with three runs in the third to take a 5-3 lead. Mike Guadagnini (So./Virginia Beach, Va.) and Matthew Curley (Jr./Boston, Mass.) had back-to-back singles to start the inning to put runners on the corners. Kendall Bolt (Jr./Stockton, Calif.) followed with a RBI-single to left and after a one-out walk by Soares, Jeff Bland (So./Basking Ridge, N.J.) doubled down the left-field line to bring in Curley and Bolt. With runners on second and third with just one out, Navy could not build onto the lead as it struck out and grounded back to the pitcher to end the frame.
Holy Cross reclaimed the lead with a three-run fourth and tacked on three more runs in the fifth to make the score 9-5.
"At one point or another, and sometimes all at the same time, we struggled with all-three facets of the game - hitting, pitching and defense," said Kostacopoulos. "We lacked consistency in all three areas and it showed up in the first game."
Navy starter Sam Long (So./Newnan, Ga.) was tagged for the loss and had his record fall to 3-3 on the year. He allowed eight runs - six earned - on nine hits over four-plus innings with one walk and four strikeouts.
Eight different Midshipmen recorded a base knock in the opener. Bolt led the offense with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate, while Soares reached safely twice. The Mids were out-hit, 12-9, and struck out 10 times.
During the nightcap, Navy fell behind 4-0 after four innings before having golden opportunities in the fifth and sixth - as it loaded the bases each time with nobody out. However, the Midshipmen could not push any runs across in the fifth, as a 5-2-3 double play and a flyout ended the threat. The Crusaders scored a run in the bottom of the fifth before having the same opportunity in the sixth. A 1-2-3 double play nearly thwarted another chance, but a walk reloaded the bases before Bland recorded the third hit batsmen of the inning to bring in a run. The sacks remained loaded, but a flyout to center ended the stanza with just one run coming across.
"To have the bases loaded twice and ground into two double plays without at least scoring a run on those really put a damper on us coming back," stated Kostacopoulos. "That was a time when we could have used some big hits, but instead we grounded into double plays."
Trailing 6-1 going into the eighth, Navy made things interesting by scoring once and sending the tying run to the plate. Jonathan Wright (So./Arden, N.C.) drew a bases-loaded walk to make the score 6-2, but Guadagnini fell behind in the count, 0-2, before grounding into a fielder's choice at second base.
While collecting a mere four hits in the nightcap, the Midshipmen were plunked seven times - all by Holy Cross starter Bobby Holmes - and drew five walks. Speciale went 1-for-3 with a walk and a hit by pitch, while Guadagnini recorded two base knocks.
Navy starter TJ Kerins (Fr./Marietta, Ga.) was credited with the loss, as he allowed six runs on eight hits over six-plus innings with only one walk and three strikeouts. His record fell to 2-3 on the spring.
"TJ (Kerins) hung in there and gave is what he had," said Kostacopoulos. "At least he was able to advance the game a little and got us into the seventh inning - which is what a starter is supposed to do. We just needed to support him with some runs."
The Midshipmen will return to action on Tuesday when they take on Delaware State at Soldier Field. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. and live stats will be available via GameTracker on www.NavySports.com(.)
- Navy is now 53-23 all-time against Holy Cross ... despite the losses, the Midshipmen own a 21-10 all-time advantage over the Crusaders in games played in Worcester, Mass.
- The Patriot League Tournament field was set with Sunday's action ... No. 1 Bucknell (13-7), No. 2 Army (13-7), No. 3 Holy Cross (11-7) and No. 4 Lafayette (9-11) comprise this year's field that will start their action on May 9-10 ... it's the first time since 2006 that the Midshipmen are not among the teams competing for the league title.
- Steven Soares launched his seventh home run of the season in the first game on Sunday ... the seven long balls ties him for fifth place on the program's all-time list, alongside Luke Braham (1998), Mark Zematis (1998), Marcus Lee (1994), Andy Loferski (1983) and Andrew Frahler (1947).
- Soares's round-tripper was also Navy's 29th of the year ... it is just one shy of matching the 1998 squad's total of 30 home runs that ranks as the second-highest mark in school history.
- Mike Guadagnini extended his hitting streak to a team season-long 13 games on Sunday ... during that stretch, he's batting .414 (24-for-58) with four doubles, a triple, a home run and 13 RBIs ... after starting the year hitting .200 after 14 games, he's improved his average to .366 ... over those 31 games, he's batting .435 (57-for-131) with 34 runs scored, 11 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 20 RBIs ... he finished the Patriot League season with a team-best .400 (32-for-80) batting average, to go along with 21 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, two home runs and 13 RBIs.
- Kendall Bolt drove in his 47th run of the season during the opener on Sunday ... that single-season total ranks as the ninth-highest mark in school history ... Michael Speciale knocked in 47 runs last year and Mitch Harris drove in the same amount during the 2007 campaign.
- TJ Kerins walked only one in his 6.0 innings of work on Sunday ... he has walked only 13 in 51.0 innings this spring ... in Patriot League action, he issued just five walks in 24.2 innings of work.
- Mike Hoosier robbed Holy Cross's Eric Oxford of a home run in the seventh inning during the series finale ... against the fence in right-center, he jumped up and pulled back a ball that would have left the stadium.