Navy Falls in Non-Conference Bout with UMBC
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team dropped a home non-conference game on Tuesday afternoon to UMBC by a score of 10-1. Going into the eighth with the Retrievers (17-18) up just 3-0, the Mids (36-15) struggled to close out the game as they gave up seven runs over the eighth and ninth innings at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.
Coming off of a 3-1 weekend in conference play versus Bucknell, Navy looked to carry over that momentum, but UMBC’s starting pitcher Jacob Christian would have none of it. Originally a member of the Retrievers’ weekend starting rotation at the beginning of 2017, Christian flashed those skills and held the Mids off the scoreboard for the entirety of his 6.1 innings on the mound.
“Today was all about UMBC getting after us and staying after us with pressure,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “We didn’t have much of an answer on offense and that’s how the game played out from almost the first inning on.”
The action on Tuesday began slowly as both starting pitchers posted zeroes over the first two innings. Midshipmen starter Nicholas Elder (Fr., Roanoke, Va.) pitched around some threats in both of the innings as he stranded a Retriever on third in the first and forced a double play in the second. Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.) started the double play as the shortstop leapt to snag a line drive before doubling the UMBC runner at second off.
A leadoff double, wild pitch and sacrifice fly in the top of the third inning broke the scoreless contest and put UMBC up 1-0. Newly-inserted reliever Rece Goodman (So., Irvine, Calif.) minimized the damage as he forced a pop out to shortstop before getting a swinging strikeout to hold the line.
Navy looked to respond in the bottom half of the inning as Michael Coritz (Fr., Clifton, Va.) led off with a double down the left field line for his first career extra-base hit. After advancing to third following a ground out, the freshman ended up stranded 90 feet from home.
UMBC expanded its lead in the top of the fourth with two runs on three hits.
The score stayed at a three-run margin over the middle innings as Christian held Navy to just a fifth inning single by Coritz and a seventh inning single by Christian Hodge (So., Winder, Ga.), while the Mids’ upperclass pitching duo of Sean Kamhoot (Jr., Gainesville, Fla.) and Brian Wikoff (Sr., Shrewsbury, N.J.) threw scoreless innings over the sixth and seventh, respectively.
The dynamic of the game changed drastically in the eighth when UMBC batted around with 10 players coming to the plate. The final tab for that inning was five runs on five hits, two errors and a walk.
Navy threatened to cut into its 8-0 deficit in the bottom half of the inning as it loaded the bases with walks to Coritz and Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.) and a towering fly ball single by Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.), but the Retrievers came away unscathed with back-to-back put outs.
UMBC scored two more runs in the top of the ninth to make it 10-0 before Navy got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame with a single tally when Matthew Wilcox (So., Los Gatos, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk and eventually scampered in on a wild pitch to the backstop.
In the 10-1 setback, Navy was outhit 15-5. Coritz led the Mids with his second-career two-hit game, as he finished 2-for-3 with a base on balls.
“Mike played really well today,” said Kostacopoulos. “It was good to see him come off the bench and have success. He got some good reps and came away with some really good at bats and a strong effort on defense at both second base and later third base.”
On the mound, Elder took the loss to drop to 2-1 on the year with a final line of 2.1 innings, three hits, one run and four walks.
As the team turns its attention to final exams for the next few days, they’ll look to kick the rust off a bit on Sunday with its final regular season game of the year, a home matchup versus Susquehanna University. The single nine-inning contest between the Mids and Riverhawks is set for 1:30 p.m.
“We have to shake today off and have our guys turn their attention to the final exams that start Thursday,” exclaimed Kostacopoulos. “That’s a huge focus for them this week so we expect them to get the job done there. We’ll play a single game on Sunday and then start ramping up the activity next week for the playoffs.”