Baseball Sweeps Non-Conference Twinbill with Longwood
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – In its final weekend of action before Patriot League postseason play, the Navy baseball team kept sharp with a doubleheader sweep of Longwood on Saturday. Hosting the Lancers (14-31) in a twinbill at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium, the Mids (36-12) earned a walk-off extra-inning win in game one by a score of 2-1 before leading wire-to-wire in game two and taking a 7-1 decision.
Navy’s pitching staff controlled the majority of the action on Saturday as a group of five Midshipmen hurlers allowed just one earned run over 17.0 innings and held the Lancers’ bats to nine hits. Starting pitchers Noah Song (Jr., Claremont, Calif.) and Sean Kamhoot (Sr., Gainesville, Fla.) led the way as each threw 6.0 innings. Song received a no-decision in game one as he allowed two hits and an unearned run, while striking out eight. In the second contest, Kamhoot improved to 5-1 on the year with six innings of three-hit, shutout baseball. He struck out four. Jared Leins (Fr., Raleigh, N.C.) was credited with the win for hurling a scoreless eighth inning in game one, while Colin Brady (Sr., Seneca, S.C.) picked up his fourth save of 2018 with three innings of one-run relief in the second game.
Offensively, Navy received production from throughout its lineup on Saturday. Four Mids tallied three hits over the course of the doubleheader and two more had multiple RBIs. Zach Biggers (So., Walhalla, S.C.), Liam Lowery (Jr., Williamsburg, Va.) and Ben Lowe (Sr., Memphis, Tenn.) led the Mids’ attack. Biggers recorded three doubles off of Lancer pitching, while Lowery and Lowe each had two RBIs in the second game.
“Noah pitched really well in game one,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “Again, we were down to two outs in our last ups and we figured out a way to tie it. Jared pitched well in the top of the eighth and then we were able to win it in the bottom half of the eighth. That was a good team win.
“In the second game, I thought we had a complete team effort in terms of hitting, pitching and defense. Everyone that played in game two contributed to that win. That was really good to see. That was a good brand of baseball. Sean had another really nice start for us on the mound.”
Game One: Navy 2 – Longwood 1 (8 innings)
The action on Saturday began as a pitchers’ duel between Song and Steven Farkas of Longwood. The number one pitchers for both schools opened the contest with three straight innings of scoreless play. Song retired the Lancers nine-up, nine-down during this span with four strikeouts, while Farkas faced one over the minimum as Stephen Born (Sr., Strafford, Pa.) singled in the first inning.
The visitors from Farmville, Va. finally broke the 0-0 deadlock in the top of the fourth when Sammy Miller led off with a walk. Following a passed ball and ground ball advanced Miller, the Lancers’ centerfielder came into score on a Nate Blakeney single to left field.
The Mids’ offense continued to pressure the Lancers with runners in scoring position in the fourth and sixth innings, but were unable to push across that tying run.
Held to a pitch count, Song exited the contest with a final line of 6.0 innings, two hits, one run (unearned), two walks and eight strikeouts. Song’s 2018 strikeout total now sits at 106, the sixth-most in program history for a single-season.
Down to its final regulation at bats in the scheduled seven-inning contest, pinch-hitter Ryan Duffey (Fr., Duxbury, Mass.) sparked the rally with a one-out walk. Substituted out for pinch-runner Jonah Llanusa (So., Choctaw, Okla.), a wild pitch in the ensuing at bat and a single to left field by Evan Lowery (So., Williamsburg, Va.) quickly knotted the game at 1-1.
Invigorated with the newly tied ballgame, Leins came out of the bullpen and downed Longwood in the top of the eighth to set the table for Navy’s walk-off theatrics in the bottom half of the frame. Biggers was the catalyst as the Mids’ for the game-winning run as he roped a double down the left field line. After Christian Hodge (Jr., Winder, Ga.) drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second, Jacob Williamson (So., Sims, N.C.) launched a deep fly ball to the warning track for the game-winning RBI single.
For the game, Navy outhit Longwood, 6-3. Biggers had a game-high two hits.
Leins earned the pitching victory to improve to 4-1 on the season. In addition to his four victories, the Mids’ freshman closer has a team-high five saves over 17 appearances.
Game Two: Navy 7 – Longwood 1
The script was flipped in game two as the Mids’ offense immediately made its presence known as Logan Knowles (Sr., Port Orchard, Wash.) and Biggers went back-to-back with a single and double to put runners on second and third with no outs in the bottom of the first inning. Navy’s third and fourth hitters, Born and Hodge plated the duo with consecutive RBI groundouts.
Spotted an early 2-0 lead, Kamhoot settled into his zone on the mound and retired 12 of the first 13 Lancers he faced through the fourth inning. During this run of action, the senior right-hander struck out three Longwood batters and only had the ball leave the infield on three occasions for fly outs.
The visitors’ best chance to score off of Kamhoot came in the top of the fifth with the bases loaded and one out, but the senior hurler reared back and struck out Ryan Shull and forced Sammy Miller into a fly out to left field.
With the score now 4-0, the Mids continued tacking on runs over their final two innings on offense with a single run in the seventh and two more in the eighth. Knowles scored in the seventh after an errant throw by Longwood’s shortstop on a potential double play got away from the first baseman, while Lowe powered in both runs in the eighth on a double down the left field line.
Longwood broke up Navy’s shutout bid in the top of the ninth with two outs with back-to-back doubles.
In the 7-1 victory for Navy, the Mids outhit the Lancers, 11-6. Knowles, Born, Evan Lowery, Liam Lowery and Lowe all had two hits in the contest.
Kamhoot earned the win with a final line of 6.0 innings, three hits, no runs, two walks and four strikeouts.
Brady notched his fourth save of the season as he hurled 3.0 innings of one-run, three-hit relief. He struck out one Lancer over his 36-pitch outing.
Navy and Longwood will conclude their three-game series with a single nine-inning tilt on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. at Max Bishop Stadium. Prior to the contest, Navy will honor its six-man senior class in a ceremony beginning at 12:40 p.m.
With four Patriot League teams in action on Saturday, the postseason picture for the Midshipmen cleared up exponentially as Army and Lehigh split a doubleheader at West Point and Lafayette swept a road twinbill at Holy Cross. Incorporating those outcomes, Navy clinched the 2018 Patriot League regular season title and top seed in the upcoming tournament with its 18-7 league record. This four-peat is a first for the 28-year old Patriot League conference, as was Navy’s three-peat in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The matchups for next weekend’s semifinals will be #4 Holy Cross at #1 Navy and #3 Bucknell at #2 Army.