Navy Baseball Falls in Sunday Contest to Longwood
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team dropped a 10-2 decision to Longwood on Sunday afternoon in the program’s final regular season contest of 2018. Hosting the Lancers (15-31) in a non-conference tilt in preparation for next weekend’s Patriot League semifinals, the Mids (36-13) were felled by a quick start by Longwood that saw the visitors jump out to a 6-0 lead through three innings.
Navy’s offense was led by the trio of Zach Biggers (So., Walhalla, S.C.), Jacob Williamson (So., Sims, N.C.) and Ben Lowe (Sr., Memphis, Tenn.), who each tallied two hits on Sunday against Longwood. On the mound, the freshmen duo of Sante Grossi (Riverside, Calif.) and Charlie Connolly (Wayne, Pa.) each posted zeroes on the scoreboard for the Mids.
“We got off to a slow start today and that really put us behind the eight ball for the rest of the game,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “I thought Sante and Charlie both threw well, so that was good to see. Both today and yesterday we were able to get a lot of players action so that was a positive. We kept the team on a good schedule as far as heading into the semifinals next weekend.
“We’re at our best when we stay on schedule. This was a good competitive weekend. You hope that this formula will pay off and have us ready to play on Saturday. Holy Cross is going to be a big challenge for us. When you get to the end of the year, every matchup is a big challenge. We have to do a good job of preparing this week and being ready to go on Saturday.”
One day after Navy’s pitching staff held Longwood to just two runs over 17.0 innings of doubleheader play, the Lancers came out swinging on Sunday. The visitors scored once in the first, four times in the second and once in the third to jump out to a 6-0 lead.
After Longwood extended its lead to eight runs in the top of the fourth, Navy’s offense gained traction versus Tyler Morgan, the Lancers’ starting pitcher in the bottom of the stanza. Biggers got things going for the Mids with a leadoff double to left field, Stephen Born (Sr., Strafford, Pa.), the ensuing batter, made it back-to-back doubles as he lined a run-scoring hit into the left field corner. After advancing to third on a ground out, Born came into score on an RBI ground out off the bat of Evan Lowery (So., Williamsburg, Va.).
With the deficit cut down to six at 8-2, Navy reliever Jack Ferguson (Fr., Atlanta, Ga.) retired Longwood in order in the top of the fifth to hold the line. The visitors from the Big South Conference later added two more runs in the top of the sixth to go up 10-2.
In the final third of the game, the Mids received three shutdown innings of relief from Grossi and Connolly. Grossi set down the Lancers in order in the seventh before notching another scoreless frame in the eighth. The California native struck out two Longwood batters over the course of his outing. Connolly pitched around a two-out single in the ninth to keep it at a 10-2 margin.
Navy’s best offensive threat came in the bottom of the seventh when Williamson led off with a double to left field. A one-out single by Lowe gave the Mids runners on first and third, but Morgan and the Lancers pitched around the threat and forced an inning-ending double play.
For the game, Longwood outhit Navy, 11-8. Biggers, Lowe and Williamson all had two hits for the Mids.
Navy’s starting pitcher Andrew Sauer (Jr., Johns Creek, Ga.) took the loss with a line of 1.0+ innings, four hits, five runs, one walk and one strikeout.
Prior to the contest, Navy honored it six-man Senior Class of 2018. Led by senior team captain OF Logan Knowles (Port Orchard, Wash.), the class of OF Stephen Born (Strafford, Pa.), RHP Colin Brady (Seneca, S.C.), RHP Sean Kamhoot (Gainesville, Fla.), 1B Ben Lowe (Memphis, Tenn.) and student assistant coach Jordan Baker (Sebring, Fla.) have been a part of a program-record 153 victories, four Patriot League regular season titles and a four-for-four showing in Star series competitions versus Army.
“The six members of our senior class have been incredible in their contributions to the Navy baseball program,” remarked Kostacopoulos. “The way they’ve approached being Midshipmen and the way they’ve approached being competitive Division I baseball players is really something that is going to prove to be an example to the future classes of how you have to conduct yourself to be successful here.”
Navy will pick up league play with the Patriot League Semifinals next Saturday versus Holy Cross. The top-seeded Mids will host the fourth-seeded Crusaders in a games one and two of the best-of-three series on Saturday, May 12 with the if-necessary game three slated for Sunday. First pitch of Saturday’s action is set for 12 p.m. at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.