Feb. 28, 2013
Mids Host Central Connecticut in First Home Series
Navy and Central Connecticut will meet for the eighth consecutive season this weekend at Max Bishop Stadium. The four-game set will begin on Friday at 2 p.m., continue on Saturday with a doubleheader at 11 a.m. and wrap up on Sunday with a single game at noon.
Friday -- Dollar hot dogs
Saturday -- First 50 people receive a free Navy foam goat
Sunday -- First 100 participate in Baseball Bingo
Scouting Central Connecticut
This weekend will mark CCSU's first action of the season ... The Blue Devils went 28-24 overall and 19-14 in Northeast Conference play last season and were picked to finish second, behind Bryant, in the league in 2013 ... First Team all-conference selections J.P. Sportman and Tyler McIntyre return to an offense that brings back six of its top-10 hitters in 2013 ... Sportman led the team at the plate with a .353 batting average, 36 runs scored and 33 RBIs ... On the hill, CCSU returns 25 wins from last year, including starters Jack Greenhouse (3.58 ERA), Casey Brown (4.33 ERA) and Cody Brown (4.41 ERA).
Last Year Against the Blue Devils
Navy and Central Connecticut split a pair of games last season as the Mids won game one, 4-3, then fell the next day, 3-2. With Navy leading 3-2 in the top of the ninth in game one, CCSU tied the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Kash Manzelli walked and Josh Moore singled to give Navy runners at the corners. Dylan Wheeler then reached on a fielder's choice, scoring the run from third to give Navy a 4-3 win.
In game two, CCSU's Cody Brown struck out eight in eight-complete innings as the Blue Devils held Navy to just five hits.
Nelson Starts Strong
Senior starting pitcher Ben Nelson has won his first two starts of the season, earning Patriot League Pitcher of the Week accolades both times. In the Mids' 3-1 win over Air Force, Nelson tossed a nine-inning complete game, racking up eight strikeouts while not issuing a walk. He retired the side in order through the first three innings, and allowed only three singles and no runs in the final five frames in the 11th complete game of his career.
In two starts totaling 16.0 innings, Nelson has a 1.12 ERA with 14 Ks and just one walk.
... and Moving Up The Career Charts
Nelson's 14 Ks this season have moved him into seventh place on Navy's all-time strikeout list with a total of 198. He also ranks in a tie for ninth place on the Patriot League's all-time K list. The native of Winter Haven, Fla., has 37-career starts - tied for eighth best in school history. He needs eight more starts this season to tie the Navy career record.
Huggins Steps In and Steps Up
Sophomore Jonathan Huggins started all four games in center field against Air Force last weekend and certainly made the most of the opportunity. Huggins had a hit in each of the four games and went 6-for-14 (.429) in the series. He also stole a base and scored two runs. The Boynton Beach, Fla., native came into the season with one hit (a solo home run) in 11-career at bats and no starts.
Manzelli Leads in RBIs
Junior first baseman Kash Manzelli leads Navy in RBIs with six this season. Manzelli has hits in five of the team's eight games and has driven in a run each time. His four hits against Coppin State were a career high.
He enters the weekend with a .333 batting average and a team-high .481 on-base percentage.
Dupell is Navy's Current Iron Man
Greg Dupell is Navy's active leader in consecutive starts with 114 entering this weekend's series. The senior started the final 54 games of the 2011 season and was the only Mid to start all 52 last season.
Quality Starts = Wins
Navy is 3-0 this season when its starting pitchers go at least six innings. Ben Nelson has gone seven and nine innings in his first two starts, respectively, while Anthony Parenti went six innings in Navy's 3-2 win over Air Force. Last season, the Mids were 10-11 when their starting pitcher lasted at least six innings. Nelson was 3-1 in games in which he threw at least six innings in 2012, while Johnny Schoberl was 3-3.
Freshmen Making an Early Impact
Navy has had six freshmen see action so far this season. The Mids had a pair of rookies in Robert Currie (center field) and Drew Hayes (second base) in the Opening Day lineup for the first time since 2008 when Nick Driscoll and Jonathan Wright both started. Currie, who has a hit in all four games in which he has appeared this season, is hitting .357.
On the mound, the lefty Luke Gillingham has made three appearances, including one start last weekend against Air Force. Gillingham is 1-1 and in 9.2 innings of work this season he has seven Ks and has yet to issue a walk. Fellow freshman Sam Sorenson has also appeared in three games and earned his first-career save in Navy's 3-2 victory over Air Force.
Dupell Returns, But in the Outfield
Two-time second-team All-Patriot League selection Greg Dupell is Navy's top-returning run producer with 84-career RBIs. Over the last two years Dupell has played both first and third base, but the Mids lost three outfielders after last season and the versatile senior made the switch to left field.
Dupell's 12-career home runs are tied for ninth on the program's all-time list. Last season he ranked in the top five in the conference in several categories, including: RBIs (44, second), runs (38, fifth), home runs (5, fifth), triples (6, first), doubles (14, third) and total bases (100, third).
Solid in the Field in 2012
Navy's .971 fielding percentage last season was the second best in school history with only the 1987 team's .973 mark ranking higher. The Midshipmen committed 56 errors in 2012, compared to their opponent's total of 81.
Wiedeman Earns Second Conference Honor After Opening Weekend
Sophomore shortstop David Wiedeman was named Patriot League Player of the Week for the second time in his career after going 4-for-10 on opening weekend. His three hits in the series finale were a career high, while the three RBIs tied a single-game best.
He is currently hitting .348 and is the only Mid to have reached base safely in all eight games this season. Wiedeman also started out hot in 2012 as he hit. 346 and had nine RBIs through the first eight games.
Rinehart on Navy's All-Time Saves List
Senior reliever and team captain Joel Rinehart picked up the first of 2013 in the season-opening win over Norfolk State. He now has 13 saves for his career - three shy of tying J.D. Melton for the top spot on Navy's all-time saves list. His 58-career appearances rank in a tie for third in program history.
For the second consecutive season, Rinehart was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List. The award is given annually to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.
Mids Among the Nation's Best in Triples
The Mids belted their first two triples of the season in the home opener on Feb. 20. Last season Navy led the Patriot League and ranked eighth in the nation in triples with 27. The Mids' triples per game average of 0.52 was fifth highest in the country.
The 27 triples tied for the second-highest total in school history, just three shy of tying the 1995 squad for first place. Greg Dupell and Andrew Hahn led the Patriot League with six triples each.
CollegeBaseballInsider.com surveyed all six Patriot League coaches for its conference preview, released on Feb. 14. Chris Cannon was selected as the `best defensive catcher' and Greg Dupell was selected as one of the `best pure hitters,' `biggest power threats' and `hitters you least want to face.'
The Senior Class
With 10 seniors, Navy has its largest senior class since 2010. The group has combined for 615 games played and 427 starts entering the season.
The 10 seniors received their service assignments in late November. Three Mids will be commissioned as Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenants, including: Johnny Schoberl (Marine Corps Ground), Dave Milanes (Marine Corps Ground) and Jake Coffey (Marine Corps Pilot). The balance of the class will be commissioned as Ensigns in the Navy, including: Greg Dupell (Pilot), Craig Veech (Pilot), Dylan Wheeler (Pilot), Ben Nelson (Naval Flight Officer), Chris Campbell (Naval Intelligence), Stephen Geiss (Surface Warfare) and Joel Rinehart (Nuclear Surface Warfare).
Graduates of the Naval Academy serve a minimum of five years in the Navy or Marine Corps, while pilots serve eight years upon earning their wings.
Mids on TV
CBS Sports Network will televise game one of the Lafayette-Navy doubleheader on Sunday, April 21 in Annapolis. It marks the second consecutive season the Mids will appear on the network and third time since 2010.
Navy will take on George Mason Wednesday in Fairfax, Va., before heading to Florida to take part in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational where it will play six games in seven days.