Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader at Lehigh; Secures Spot in Conference Tournament
April 27, 2013
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Navy baseball team defeated Lehigh 5-3 and 6-1 in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon in Bethlehem, Pa., earning a spot in the Patriot League Tournament for the third consecutive year. Joel Rinehart got the save in game one, retiring all six batters he faced. In game two, Luke Gillingham went the distance and struck out a career-high 12 batters.
"One walk and 12 strikeouts says it all for Luke," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "He had command of all three pitches and he led us in game two as far as setting a tempo and not giving Lehigh too many opportunities to score."
The Navy (26-20, 11-7) offense did a good job taking advantage of scoring opportunities as it plated 10 of its 11 total runs with two outs.
"We were very good with two outs today and that is something that we've struggled with a little," said Kostacopoulos. "That was really the difference today."
Navy took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning of game one, scoring all three runs with two outs. Greg Dupell started things with a leadoff double and scored three batters later when Chris Campbell drove him in with a single into right field. Brad Borosak then drilled a ball to deep center field, easily scoring Campbell. Borosak slid into the third safely on the play and when the relay throw went high and into the Lehigh dugout, he was awarded home.
After Lehigh (18-27, 5-13) got on the board with a solo run in the bottom of the second inning, Navy struck again with two outs in the top of the third. Consecutive two-out singles by Manzelli and Dupell gave the Mids runners at the corners and David Wiedeman delivered. Wiedeman drove a double to deep center field, brining in both runs for a 5-1 Navy advantage.
Lehigh also took advantage of having runners in scoring position with two outs in the third and fourth innings, scoring solo runs in each inning to cut Navy's advantage to 5-3. Navy starter Stephen Moore worked around an error in the bottom of the fifth to halt Lehigh's string of three consecutive innings with a solo run.
Rinehart sent the Mountain Hawks down in order in the sixth and seventh to preserve the win and pick up his third save of the season. He now has 15 for his career, one shy of tying the Navy record.
"Joel didn't let them have a chance. He really pounded the strike zone and did a great job," said Kostacopoulos.
For Moore, it was his fourth victory of the year and his third in the Patriot League. He yielded three runs on seven hits in five-complete innings, while striking out four and walking one.
Lehigh's Colin Gotzon took the loss, as he allowed all five runs (four earned) on seven hits.
Navy continued the scoring with-two-outs theme in game two, breaking a 0-0 tie with three runs in the top of the third. Robert Currie's two-out double to right-center field gave Navy runners at second and third and Brandon Beans capitalized with a two-RBI single through the middle. Dave Milanes then delivered a double to left field on a full count to bring in the third run of the inning.
Craig Veech's RBI double to deep center field drove in the first of two runs for Navy in the top of the third. Currie added a two-out RBI single up the middle to extend Navy's lead to 5-0.
Gillingham didn't allow a runner past second base until allowing a single and double to start the bottom of the fifth inning. With runners at second a third and no outs, a wild pitch brought in a run for Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks looked poised to get into the game with leading hitter Justin Pacchioli at the plate. Pacchioli attempted a squeeze bunt toward first base, but Gillingham got to the ball quickly and tossed it home to get Brandon Wilt in a rundown. Wilt was tagged out and the Mids then completed the unorthodox double play when the shortstop, Wiedeman, tagged out Pacchioli who was trying to take second base.
"It was a huge play because they could have turned that into a big inning," said Kostacopoulos.
After getting out of the fifth inning by allowing just the one run, Gillingham retired nine consecutive Lehigh hitters. In the ninth, he struck out the leadoff hitter, Tyler Brong, and then got John Elson swinging at strike three to end the game.
Gillingham's 12 strikeouts were the most by a Mid this season since Ben Nelson had 13 in a win over Yale on March 16. The freshman has picked up wins in each of his last three starts and is now 4-3 on the season.
Milanes finished game two with three hits, while Currie and Veech both added a pair.
Lehigh's Nick Cassell took the loss as he lasted just 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits.
Navy, Holy Cross, Army and Bucknell have all qualified for the Patriot League Tournament, however seeding will not be determined until after Sunday's games are completed.
Navy and Lehigh will meet in a doubleheader tomorrow at noon.