Baseball Hosts Central Connecticut State and Towson This Weekend
March 2, 2012
Navy Returns to Action as it Hosts Towson & CCSU
After six days off, the Midshipmen return to Max Bishop Stadium for a trio of games this weekend. On Saturday, Navy will host Central Connecticut State at 1 p.m., while on Sunday it will host CCSU at 10 a.m. and then Towson at 2 p.m.
Saturday's game was originally scheduled for 2 p.m., but was moved up one hour due to possible inclement weather.
Strong Start for Pitching Staff
The Navy pitching staff has had a solid start to the 2012 season, especially when comparing the start to the first seven games of 2011.The team ERA of 3.63 is less than half (7.60) of what it was through the first seven games of 2011, and in surrendering 31 fewer hits, opponents are hitting nearly .120 lower than at this point last season (.340).
The Mids set a new program record for strikeouts in a season last year with 423, and with 64 already in 2012, they have 25 more Ks than through the first seven games of 2011.
Jones Powers Offense
Sophomore Chance Jones had a breakout weekend against Air Force. Jones started two games behind the plate and one as designated hitter and hit .417 (5-for-12), had eight RBIs and slugged the team's first two home runs of the season. Jones' team-leading 12 RBIs are more than any other Mid had through seven games last season, as it took 15 games in 2011 for then-RBI leader Dave Milanes to record his 12th RBI. Michael Speciale was the last Mid to reach 12 RBIs in fewer than seven games as he racked up 12 in the first four contests of 2010.
Jones enters the weekend with a team-best .450 batting average and an on-base percentage of .500.
Young Players Stepping Up
Navy received significant contributions from its underclassmen a season ago and seven games into the 2012 season, the freshmen and sophomores have again been pulling their weight. Through seven games, the six freshmen and sophomores that have started at least five contests have combined for 61% (39-of-64) of the team's hits and 66% (29-of-44) of the team's RBIs.All nine freshmen and sophomores that have seen action in 2012 have combined for 69% of the team's hits and 73% of the team's RBIs.
Freshman David Wiedeman has started all seven games at shortstop and ranks second on the team in hits (eight) and RBIs (nine). Jones and fellow sophomore Kash Manzelli both have nine hits to lead the team.
Last season, 12 freshmen and sophomores combined for over 60% of the Mids' RBIs and over 50% of the team's hits.
Sipe and Schoberl Bouncing Back
After missing parts of 2011 due to injury and having off-season surgery, starting pitchers Zach Sipe and Johnny Schoberl both have made a healthy return to the Navy staff.
In his first start on Feb. 18 against North Carolina A&T, Sipe pitched five complete innings and didn't allow an earned run as he picked up his first win since April 6 last season. After starting a combined 22 games in his first two seasons, Sipe was limited to a career-low 14.2 innings in 2011 due to his arm injury.
In two starts totaling 11.1 innings this season, Sipe has yet to allow an earned run and has given up only four hits. The last Mid to pitch at least 11.1 innings without allowing an earned run was Luke Roberts who threw a total of 18.0 innings in 11 appearances out of the bullpen in 2009 before surrendering an earned run.
Like Sipe, Schoberl was also impressive in his first start of 2012 as he threw five-complete innings and allowed one run off three hits in Navy's 21-1 win over UMES on Feb. 22.
The junior earned second team All-Patriot League honors as he went 5-1 last season before suffering a season-ending finger injury on April 24.
Looking to Keep in Going
Andrew Hahn, David Wiedeman and Kash Manzelli have reached base safely in all seven games this season, while Jones has collected a hit in all five games in which he has appeared.
Kostacopoulos Approaching Win No. 700
Seven games into the 2012 season, head coach Paul Kostacopoulos is now 10 wins shy of 700 for his career. In his 23rd season as a head coach and seventh at Navy, Kostacopoulos has a career record of 690-473-6 and has more career wins than any other current head coach in the Patriot League. Entering 2012, he was 36th on the NCAA Division I Winningest Active Coaches list as ranked by victories.
Against the Blue Devils and Tigers Last Season
In what turned out to be rain-shortened series last season, Navy took both games of a twin bill from Central Connecticut State on March 5, winning 3-2 and 9-2, in Annapolis. Navy got a 3-2 come-from-behind win in game one, and in game two Navy scored three runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings for the eventual win. Johnny Schoberl had a career-high 12 strikeouts in game two as the Blue Devils managed a total of just three hits.
In the only meeting between Navy and Towson on March 9, the Mids rallied from an 8-5 deficit with a two-run homer by Craig Veech in the sixth inning and a solo shot by Greg Dupell in the top of the ninth to tie the game. The teams played a scoreless 10th inning before the game was called due to darkness for the first Navy tie since 2009.
Offense Opens Home Slate in Style
Against Maryland Eastern Shore in the first home game of the season on Feb. 22, the Mids' offense exploded for 21 runs off 19 hits in posting their highest run total and largest margin of victory since defeating Hartford, 24-2, on March 22, 2003. Five Midshipmen recorded multi-hit games as Navy hit the 20-run mark for the first time since a 20-5 win over Lafayette in 2010.
Rinehart on Stopper of the Year Watch List
Junior reliever Joel Rinehart was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year watch list, which is awarded annually to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.
Rinehart picked up a save in Navy's 3-1 win over North Carolina A&T on Feb. 17 and now has 10 for his career, which ranks third on the program's all-time saves list. Last season he led Navy with a 1.81 ERA in 23 appearances, which ranked second in the Patriot League.
The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 16, including the national saves leaders. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists and released June 6, prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition.
Navy Baseball Hits the Airwaves
Live audio will be available for 24 regular-season games on NavySports.com as part of the Navy All-Access package this year. Of the 24 games that will be streamed online, eight of those contests will also air live on WNAV (99.9 FM/1430 AM) in Annapolis with Pete Medhurst and Ben Gordon-Goldstein handling the play-by-play duties.
Live video streaming via Navy All-Access at NavySports.com will also be provided for several games this season. For the most up-to-date information on Navy's live streaming schedule, check NavySports.com.
Mids to Appear on TV, Too
CBS Sports Network will televise game one of the Army-Navy doubleheader on Sunday, April 1 in Annapolis. It will mark Navy's first appearance on national television since CBS Sports Network also carried game one of a doubleheader between the Mids and Black Knights on April 11, 2010.
Senior Service Selections
Navy's four seniors received their service assignments on Nov. 30, 2011. Both Alex Azor and Josh Moore will be commissioned as Marine Corps Officers (Marine Corps Ground), while Andrew Hahn (Surface Warfare) and Zach Sipe (Naval Flight Officer) will be commissioned as Navy Officers.
Graduation for the class of 2012 will take place this spring on May 29. Naval Academy graduates serve a minimum of five years in the Navy or Marine Corps, while pilots serve eight years upon earning their wings.