Baseball Closes Regular Season with 3-0 Win over Susquehanna
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team used a dominant pitching performance to earn its 37th win of the year on Sunday afternoon over Susquehanna University with a 3-0 shutout victory. In a matchup that served as preparation for both teams’ upcoming postseason competitions, the Mids (37-15) used seven pitchers in the combined shutout, while the Riverhawks (22-17) had six hurlers step to the mound at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.
“We went with multiple pitchers to get everybody some work and they all did a good job,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “This was a day were you’ve got to fill up the strike zone and they did that. They really controlled the game from the mound. Susquehanna only once had a runner reach third base.
“Give their [Susquehanna] pitchers credit, they threw well. We’ll have to go back to work this week and fix a few fundamental things. The most important thing initially for the first part of this week though is for the players to re-focus and get through their final exams. They’ve got a lot on their plates right now and we’ve got to respect that. Starting up on Wednesday we’ll have some time to get back out to the field and start working to really prepare for Bucknell.”
Noah Song (So., Claremont, Calif.) and Kyle Condry (Sr., Highland Village, Texas) led the pitching effort for Navy as the duo recorded seven strikeouts over the first four innings. As a staff the Mids allowed seven hits, all singles, to Riverhawk batters and only once allowed a baserunner to reach third base. Over nine innings, Navy posted a 13-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Offensively, Adrian Chinnery (Sr., Wilmington, Del.), Travis Blue (Sr., Orange, Calif.) and Stephen Born (Jr., Strafford, Pa.) were highlights for the Mids as each of the upperclassmen recorded a hit and an RBI during the contest.
The action on Sunday began quietly as both teams were scoreless over the first two innings. Song notched two strikeouts in each frame, while Bobby Grigas, for the Riverhawks of the D3 Landmark Conference, countered with two strikeouts in the first and one in the second.
Condry was the next arm out of the bullpen for Navy and he mirrored Song’s performance with two scoreless innings. The senior right-hander struck out three. During his outing, the Mids took the lead in the bottom of the third off of Susquehanna’s Tyson Thrush. After a leadoff double by Christian Hodge (So., Winder, Ga.), the next batter, Chinnery flaired a single to center field to score Hodge and break the 0-0 tied.
The parade of normal regular starting pitchers continued for Navy over the fifth and sixth innings as George Coughlin (Sr., Arvada, Colo.) and Andrew Sauer (So., Johns Creek, Ga.) made brief one-inning appearances. In the fifth, Coughlin recorded a strikeout and two ground outs with the second grounder being of note as Zach Leone made solid contact towards Hodge at first base, who deflected it to Michael Coritz (Fr., Clifton, Va.) at second and recovered in time back at the bag for a 3-4-3 put out. In the sixth, Sauer struck out two Riverhawks and forced the third into a 4-3 ground out.
In the bottom of the sixth with the score at 1-0, Navy had its most productive inning of the day at bat as seven players came to the plate. Following back-to-back walks to Coritz and Logan Knowles (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.) to starting the stanza, Blue stroked a grounder through the right side of the infield to score Coritz. On the ensuing at bat, Born lofted a high fly out to right field for a sacrifice fly.
Up 3-0, Navy began trotting its high-usage relievers out in the seventh. Brian Wikoff (Sr., Shrewsbury, N.J.) was the first out of the bullpen and the southpaw made quick work of Susquehanna with a three-up, three-down frame with two strikeouts over 10 pitches.
Sean Kamhoot (Jr., Gainesville, Fla.) and Jett Meenach (Sr., Flower Mound, Texas) were the final two relievers to appear and each held the line for the shutout. Kamhoot allowed a hit and struck out one in the eighth before Meenach gave up one hit, but turned over three Riverhawks with groundouts.
In the 3-0 win, Navy was outhit, 7-5. In addition to the four previously mentioned hits, Jacob Williamson (Fr., Sims, N.C.) also tallied a base hit for the Mids on Sunday as he had a ground-rule double in the bottom of the fifth. That double gave Navy two on the day and pulled the 2017 squad within two of the all-time single-season mark of 105 set by the 2008 club.
Condry earned the win for the Mids to improve to 7-1 on the season, while Meenach notched his eighth save of 2017. That moves Meenach into sole possession of the third position for most saves in a single-season, as well as into a tie for third with Sam Sorenson (’16) for most career saves with 14.
37 victories in a season ties Navy's 2015 team for the second-most in the history of the baseball program. Last year's NCAA Tournament-bound club won 43.
Navy will next be in action on Saturday, May 13 with the first day of the best-of-three Patriot League Semifinals at Max Bishop Stadium. The first-seeded Mids will host the fourth-seeded Bucknell Bison in a doubleheader that is slated for a 12 p.m. first pitch. Both games will be nine innings. If the series is split at the conclusion of Saturday, the ‘if necessary’ game three will go off on Sunday, May 14 at 1 p.m.