May 8, 2011
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The Navy baseball team plated 13 runs on 13 hits over the last three innings of what would turn into a 14-3 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore Sunday afternoon in Princess Anne, Md.
"Just playing the game after a week off was important, let alone winning as we did," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Baseball is a repetitive game and even a few days off can remove the rhythm from everything that normally is routine. You could see that today in the early part of the game. We struggled early, but then started to get that rhythm back."
The Navy offense struggled to manufacture any kind of production in the early innings against UMES starting pitcher Tyler Witte. Witte allowed just one hit and faced the minimum number of Navy batters through four innings. The Mids were then able to put a run on the board in the top of the fifth to tie the score at 1-1. David Norman opened the frame with a double. After a groundout to the left side of the infield kept him at second, he moved to third base on a groundout to second base by Nick Driscoll. Kash Manzelli would single to right field to allow Norman to score.
UMES answered in its half of the frame when Shaq Bagwell doubled with one out against Navy's third pitcher of the game, Wes Olson. Olson would strikeout Tre-von Johnson for the second out of the inning, but a throwing error by Navy second baseman James Newsome on a grounder hit by James Newsome let Bagwell cross the plate to give the Hawks a 2-1 advantage.
The score would remain 2-1 until the top of the seventh inning when the Mids tallied six runs on seven hits. Greg Dupell opened the inning with a single, then moved to second on a wild pitch by Witte. Norman followed with a single of his own to place runners at the corners with no outs. Taylor Cato then sent a bouncing ball in between the UMES shortstop and third baseman to score Dupell and knot the game at 2-2. Driscoll next stepped to the plate and sent a grounder into the same gap to load the bases.
Witte was replaced at that point by Bernard Parker, who immediately allowed a deep sacrifice fly to center that scored Norman and advanced the other two runners up one base apiece. Jonathan Wright
entered the game as a pinch hitter for Andrew Hahn
, and he promptly singled to right field to score both Cato and Driscoll. After Dylan Wheeler
singled, Brandon Beans
doubled to left-center to score Wright and make the score 6-2. Parker was replaced on the mound by Sean Woods, who induced Alex Azor
into a sacrifice fly that plated Wheeler.
UMES manufactured a run in its half of the seventh, then the Mids put three more runs - on just two hits - on the board in the eighth inning to break the game open. Cato and Driscoll opened the inning with a walk and a single, respectively, and that led to Cody Cauffman taking over the pitching duties for the Hawks. Kash Manzelli hit a groundball to shortstop James Newsome, who ran to second base in an attempt to record the forceout before throwing to first for a double play. However, a rushed Newsome lost control of the ball before he reached the bag and that allowed Driscoll to advance from first to third on the play while Cato scored and Manzelli reached first base without an attempt being made on him.
Driscoll scored when Navy's next batter, Wright, hit a grounder to third that led to Manzelli being out at second base on a force play. Wheeler struckout for Navy's second out of the frame, then Beans walked to extend the inning. The Mids were rewarded when Azor doubled to score Wright that gave the Mids a 10-3 lead.
UMES was held scoreless in the bottom of the eighth inning, then the Mids scored four runs on four hits in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach. The big hit came when Manzelli drove in a pair of runs on a single with the bases loaded.
Navy's five pitchers scattered eight hits in the game while striking out 12 batters and not allowing a base on balls. Olson, who pitched the fifth, sixth and two-thirds of the seventh inning, picked up the win to improve to 6-1 on the season.
"We received solid pitching from everyone," said Kostacopoulos. "They didn't miss a beat with the week off from games. I think how our pitchers threw was the highlight of the game."
Five different Mids tallied multiple hits in the game, with Cato's three hits leading all players. Cato and Norman both scored three runs in the game, while Manzelli, who entered the game without a run batted in all season, tallied five RBI's against the Hawks.
"Witte did a great job against us," said Kostacopoulos of the UMES starting pitcher. "He had the lead going into the seventh inning. We were able to get something going against him in the seventh and then UMES had to go into its bullpen. But the final score was not indicative of how close the game really was."
Navy will face Delaware State Wednesday before playing host to Bucknell Saturday in the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament.
"This game sets us up for the week we need to have," said Kostacopoulos. "We want to have a good performance against Delaware State and then have two good practices heading into the tournament."