Baseball Faces Holy Cross This Weekend
April 12, 2013
Navy Travels to First-Place Holy Cross
Navy will travel to Worcester, Mass., to take on first-place Holy Cross in its third Patriot League series of the season. Saturday's doubleheader has been moved up to begin at 2 p.m. due to potential weather concerns. Sunday's twin bill will begin at noon. The Crusaders are 6-2 in the conference, while Navy is one of three teams currently sitting at 4-4.
Navy and Holy Cross share just two common, non-conference opponents in Yale and Central Connecticut. The Crusaders swept a four-game, home-and-home series from the Bulldogs, March 23-24, and Navy defeated Yale, 6-5, on March 16 in its final game at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. Holy Cross is coming off a 5-4 loss to Central Connecticut on Wednesday. Earlier this season, the Blue Devils took three of four games from the Mids.
Pitching Staff Leading the Patriot League
The Navy pitching staff continues to lead the Patriot League in several key categories. Entering the weekend, Navy leads the conference in ERA (4.15), opponent batting average (.257) and strikeouts (239).
Manzelli Stays Consistent
Junior Kash Manzelli has reached base in a team-high 12 consecutive games entering this weekend's series. He has improved his average by .030 over the last 12 games and currently ranks as one of the conference's top-offensive threats. The first baseman ranks in the top five in the Patriot League in several offensive categories, including: hits (43, second) batting average (.355, third) and runs scored (26, tied for fifth). He has a five-game hitting streak heading into play on Saturday.
Dupell at The Top of the League in RBIs
As he has been for the last two seasons, Greg Dupell remains one of the team's most reliable run-producing threats. He is currently tied for the league lead in RBIs with 26 and his combined 18 extra-base hits (12 doubles, three triples, three home runs) also leads the conference. The senior's 12 doubles rank 41st in the nation.
... In the Navy Record Book
Greg Dupell has worked his way into the top-15 in several of Navy's offensive career record categories. The two-time, second-team All-Patriot League selection enters play this weekend fifth in program history in triples (13), tied for sixth in home runs (15), tied for sixth in doubles (40) and ranks 13th in hits (170).
Despite Missing Time, Nelson Still Ranks Among the Nation's Best
While he has been out of action the past two weekends, senior starting pitcher Ben Nelson continues to rank among the nation's leaders in several categories. 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. His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.25 ranks sixth in the nation and his walks allowed per nine innings average of 0.86 is 15th best in the country.
Just eight of the 31 hits he has surrendered have been extra-base hits in the 41.2 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 11 of its 17 wins this season. Most recently, three of the Mids' last four victories have been in come-from-behind fashion. Navy had five consecutive come-from-behind wins from March 16-24, 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 seven of its 11 come-from-behind wins.
Patriot League Series Notes
Bucknell (April 6-7)
Stephen Moore gave up just one run in his second consecutive start ... Navy improved to 2-0 in extra-inning games by taking game one of the series, 2-1, in 11 innings ... Kash Manzelli led Navy at the plate in the series, hitting .467.
Army (March 31-April 1)
Navy batters were hit a total of 16 times in its four-game series with Army; Chris Campbell led all Mids as he was plunked five times ... Navy's .319 team batting average over the four games was its highest in a Patriot League series since hitting .322 against Lafayette last season ... The three wins marked the first time Navy took three of four at West Point since 2003.
No Free Passes
The Navy pitching staff has issued two or fewer walks in 13 games this season, going 10-3 in those contests. The Mids haven't walked an opposing batter in five games this season. By comparison, Navy did not issue a walk in four if its 52 games in 2012.
Navy is 7-3 in one-run games this season and 18 of the Mids' 34 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.
Freshman reliever Sam Sorenson has been a solid presence in the bullpen this season as he is tied for the league lead in saves with three. In 14 appearances, which are second only to Joel Rinehart on the team, Sorenson is 3-0 with a 4.78 ERA. He is holding opponents to a .216 batting average.
Rinehart is Navy's Career-Appearances Leader
With a league-leading 17 appearances this season, senior reliever and team captain Joel Rinehart now has 72 for his career, which ranks first in Navy history. Joe Koessler (2003-06) previously held the program record of 68.
With 14 saves, Rinehart is two 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.
...And Delivers at the Plate
Joel Rinehart took advantage of his only career at-bat in game one of the series against Bucknell, delivering a two-out single that helped Navy rally for a 2-1 win. With a runner on second and two outs in the 11th, Rinehart singled up the middle to keep the inning alive and David Wiedeman followed with a walk-off RBI single. Rinehart came into the game in the eighth spot in the lineup in the 10th inning. He became the first Mid to record a hit in his only at-bat of the season since Jeff Murdza in 2007. He also became the first Mid who pitches exclusively during his career to go 1-for-1 in a game since Doug Rau in 1973.
Dupell is Navy's Current Iron Man
Greg Dupell is Navy's active leader in consecutive starts with 140 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.
Michael Speciale was the last Mid to start at least 140 consecutive games as he started 167 consecutive between 2007-10. Speciale started the final 11 games of his freshman season and then every game in each of the next three seasons.
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.
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 senior class will be honored prior to game one of the April 20 doubleheader vs. Lafayette.
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 at 1 p.m. 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 end its run of six consecutive road games on Wednesday when it travels to Princess Anne to take on Maryland-Eastern Shore at 3 p.m.