Baseball to Meet UMBC in Three-Game Set This Weekend
Ben Nelson is secheduled to start Friday's game.
March 8, 2012
Navy Meets UMBC Prior to Heading South
Navy will take on UMBC in a three-game set this weekend, beginning on Friday in Baltimore at 5 p.m. The two teams will meet in Annapolis on Saturday at 1 p.m. and close the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. before Navy heads to Florida for four games.
Jones Powers Offense
Sophomore Chance Jones is off to a hot start at the plate this season. In eight starts, including five behind the plate and three as the designated hitter, Jones has a team-leading 15 RBIs and his .333 batting average is tops among the team's regular starters. The native of St. George, Utah, has at least one RBI in seven of the eight games in which he has played this season. He has six multi-RBI games and four multi-hit games.
Young Players Stepping Up at the Plate
Navy received significant contributions from its underclassmen a season ago and 11 games into the 2012 season, the freshmen and sophomores have again been called into action and are pulling their weight. In the last four games, Navy has started no fewer than a total of six freshmen or sophomores.
The underclassmen have been making the most of their time as the six freshmen or sophomores that have started at least seven games have combined for 57% of the team's hits and 65% of the team's RBIs. All 10 freshmen and sophomores that have seen action in 2012 have combined for 67% of the team's hits and 71% of the team's RBIs.
Last season, at total of 12 freshmen and sophomores combined for over 60% of the Mids' RBIs and over 50% of the team's hits.
...On the Mound, Too
Freshman pitchers Anthony Parenti, Brad Borosak and Stephen Moore have all fared well out of the bullpen for the Mids this season. In a team-leading six appearances, Parenti has allowed just one earned run in six complete innings and picked up his first-career win on Feb. 26 against Air Force. Borosak, who has also started two games at second base, has made four appearances out of the bullpen totaling six and one-third innings. He has an ERA of 2.84 with six strikeouts and just two walks.
Moore was impressive in his first-career start against No. 25 Maryland on March 7 as he scattered five hits over four and two-thirds innings and allowed three runs. On the season, Moore has appeared in a total of 11 and one-third innings and has seven strikeouts.
Pitching Staff Starts Well
Entering play this weekend, teams are hitting just .229 against the Navy pitching staff, which is currently the lowest opponent batting average of any Patriot League team. The staff has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 2:1 and an ERA of 3.95.
The Mids set a new program record for strikeouts in a season last year with 423, and with 93 already in 2012, they have 13 more Ks than through the first 11 games of 2011.
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.
Sipe is expected to make his fourth start of the season this weekend and enters with a 1-1 record and 2.63 ERA.
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.
Kostacopoulos Approaching Win No. 700
Eleven games into the 2012 season, head coach Paul Kostacopoulos is now nine 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 691-476-6 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.
Nelson Already in Mid-Season Form
After a solid 2011 campaign that saw him win six games and garner Patriot League Tournament MVP honors, Ben Nelson has started this season without missing a beat. Nelson has pitched a combined 18 and two-thirds innings in his three starts this season and has allowed just four earned runs - good for a 1.93 ERA. The junior has 18 strikeouts and just four walks and is holding opponents to a .186 batting average.
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 watch 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, Joe Miller 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.
Mids Take Time for More Than Just Baseball While in Kinston
While facing Air Force at the Freedom Classic in Kinston, N.C., earlier this season, the Mids took time prior to the doubleheader on Feb. 25 to play kickball with kids of all ages from the Raising Awareness for the Developmentally Disabled group. The entire team and coaching staff took part in several games of kickball, while stopping take photos throughout the event.
Navy will travel to Winter Haven, Fla., for the second consecutive year to take part in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. The Mids will meet Eastern Illinois (Wednesday, 10 a.m.), Bradley (Thursday, 6 p.m.), Illinois State (Friday, 2 p.m.) and Northwestern (Saturday, 9 a.m.). All four games will be played at Chain of Lakes Park Stadium.