March 29, 2013
Navy Travels to Army to Open Patriot League Play
The Midshipmen will begin conference play this weekend when they travel to Army for a four-game series that will be played Sunday and Monday. It marks the second consecutive year and only the third time since 2003 that the service-academy rivals will meet to open the Patriot League schedule.
Determining the "Star" Winner
The winner of the four-game Army-Navy series will claim the coveted "Star". If the series ends in a tie at two games apiece, the winner of the first game of the series will be awarded the Star.
Navy in Patriot League Openers
Navy is 13-7 all-time in Patriot League-opening games and has a 55-21 mark in conference-opening sets. The last time Navy opened Patriot League at Army was 2003 when it won three of four games, including the opener, 5-4.
Army and Navy share five common opponents though this point in the season. Both programs met Indiana, Miami (Ohio) and North Dakota State at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational where Navy went 0-3 against the trio and Army 1-2 as it defeated the RedHawks. Also while in Florida, the Mids defeated Yale and Army took on the Bulldogs in a series and won all three games. Delaware State is the fifth common opponent, whom Navy defeated, 12-10, and Army fell to, 6-5 in 10 innings.
Mids Get Hot, Win Six of Last Seven
Navy is 6-1 over its last seven games, including a 5-1 mark during its season-long, six-game home stand. At the plate, Navy is hitting .295 over its last seven games, which is .034 higher than its current season average, while its slugging percentage of .440 is .093 better than the team's current mark.
On the mound, Navy's numbers over the last seven games have been nearly identical to its season averages. The pitching staff has a 4.00 ERA over the last seven games, just 0.15 below its season average. Opponents are hitting .255 against Navy in the last seven games, .003 lower than the season average.
The Pitching Staff in the NCAA Rankings
When NCAA statistics were released on Monday, the Navy pitching staff ranked 42nd in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings with an average of 8.1. Navy's strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.72 is currently 26th-best in the country. The Mids enter this weekend's series with 187 total strikeouts.
Leading the Patriot League
The Navy pitching staff enters the weekend leading the Patriot League in ERA (4.15), batting average (.257) and strikeouts (187).
Milanes Breaks Loose
Senior Dave Milanes enters this weekend with a team season-high seven-game hitting streak. Milanes, who was named Patriot League Player of the Week on Monday for the first time in his career, has raised his average by .077 over the last seven games and is now hitting .291. He is 13-for-30 (.433), with six extra-base hits and 11 RBIs over the last seven games.
Nelson Continues His Stellar Start; Ranks Among the Nation's Best
Senior starting pitcher Ben Nelson has been exceptional through the first six weeks of the season. In six starts, he is 5-1 with a league-best 1.30 ERA while being named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week on three occasions. With 45 Ks and just four walks in six starts this season, Nelson ranks eighth in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Nelson's 45 Ks rank 26th in the country and his walks per nine innings average of 0.86 ranks 25th.
Just eight of the 31 hits he has surrendered have been extra-base hits in the 41 2/3rds innings he has thrown this season.
... and Continuing to Move Up The Career Charts
Nelson's 45 Ks this season have bumped him into a tie for fifth place on Navy's all-time strikeout list with a total of 229. He also ranks in a tie for sixth on the Patriot League's all-time K list. The native of Winter Springs, Fla., has 41-career starts and needs four more starts this season to tie the Navy career record, currently held by Mark McCoy.
Don't Count `Em Out
Navy has trailed its opponent at some point in eight of its 12 wins this season. Most recently, the Mids won five consecutive games in come-from-behind fashion. The Mids defeated Yale, 6-5 (trailing 2-1 in the seventh), Delaware State, 12-10 (trailing 9-5 in the fourth), Princeton, 8-2 (trailing 2-0 in the second), 2-1 (trailing 1-0 in the sixth) and 9-4, (trailing 3-0 in the fourth).
Navy has trailed in the fourth inning or later in five of its eight come-from-behind wins.
Milanes Posts Seven RBIs, Joins the 5-for-5 Club
Dave Milanes became the second Mid this season to go 5-for-5 at the plate when he did so in the March 20th win over Delaware State. Milanes had two, three-RBI doubles, a solo home run and a pair of singles as he drove in seven runs - the most by a Mid since John Cocca also had seven RBIs against Holy Cross on April 21, 2001. The seven RBIs ties the record for the third most in a game in program history.
Milanes joined Kash Manzelli as the other Mid that has gone 5-for-5 this season. Manzelli's five-hit game came on March 10 in Navy's 12-0 win over LIU-Brooklyn. It's the first time Navy has had two players post five-hit games in the same year since Alex Azor and Jeff Bland (twice) in 2011.
Doubles and Homers for Dupe
Senior Greg Dupell has ranked in the top-25 in doubles, nationally, each week since statistics were released. Currently, Dupell ranks 22nd in the country with 10 doubles this season, which is just four behind the national leader.
Dupell has registered a total of 14 doubles in each of the last two seasons. The Navy record for doubles in a season is 21, set by Steve Mauro in 1994.
With two home runs in the last five games, he now has 14 for his career, which is tied for seventh in program history.
The two-time, second-team All-Patriot League selection is Navy's leading-active run producer with 97-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.
Navy is 6-2 in one-run games this season and 13 of the Mids' 24 games have been decided by one or two runs. Last season, 21 of Navy's 52 games were decided by one or two runs, while in 2011 the Mids went 14-10 in such games.
No Free Passes
The Navy pitching staff has issued two or fewer walks in 11 games this season, going 8-3 in those contests. The Mids haven't walked an opposing batter in four games this season. By comparison, Navy did not issue a walk in four if its 52 games in 2012.
Freshman reliever Sam Sorenson has been a solid presence in the bullpen this season with a team-leading three saves. In 10 appearances, which are second only to Joel Rinehart on the team, Sorenson is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA. He is holding opponents to a team-low .180 batting average.
Last week, he went 1-0 with one save in his two appearances, earning Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors.
Rinehart Nearing the Navy Career-Appearances Record
Senior reliever and team captain Joel Rinehart has a team-leading 12 appearances already this season, giving him a total of 67 in his career. He needs just one more to tie Joe Koessler (2003-06) for the program record.
With 13 saves, Rinehart is three shy of tying J.D. Melton for the top spot on Navy's all-time saves list.
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. Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relations contacts. The initial list of 75 will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 16, including the national saves leaders.
Dupell is Navy's Current Iron Man
Greg Dupell is Navy's active leader in consecutive starts with 130 entering play this weekend. The senior started the final 54 games of the 2011 season and was the only Mid to start all 52 last season.
Beans Stepping Up at the Plate
With multiple hits and five RBIs in four of the last six games, Brandon Beans has bumped his average by .058 and enters this weekend with a team-leading .308 batting average. The junior has a pair of four-hit games this season and ranks second on the team with seven multi-hit games.
Army-Navy in 2012-13
Navy is 10-9-1 across all sports against Army this season, including a 9-7-1 mark in Star Games. Navy's Star wins have come in men's cross country, women's cross country, women's soccer, men's swimming & diving, women's swimming & diving, football, women's indoor track & field, men's indoor track & field and wrestling.
Navy needs two more N-Stars to clinch a tie and three more to clinch the N-Star series over Army. Navy is 15-0-1 over the last 16 years against Army in the Star Series and 29-3-2 over the last 34 years in the Star series.
Mids Among the Nation's Best in Triples in 2012
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.
Big Numbers Against Delaware State
Navy's 18 hits in its win over Delaware State on March 20th was its most since producing 19 in a win over UMES on Feb. 22 last season. Navy's five doubles in the game were its most since they had six against Coppin State on March 2, 2011.
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 travel to Towson for a 3 p.m. game on Wednesday and then return home to face Bucknell on Saturday and Sunday.