Navy Meets Holy Cross at Home This Weekend
April 13, 2012
Navy Hosts Holy Cross at Midway Point of League Schedule
The Midshipmen host Holy Cross this weekend in their third of five regular-season Patriot League sets. The two teams will play doubleheaders at noon on Saturday and Sunday at Max Bishop Stadium.
The Crusaders enter the series alone in second place in the Patriot League with a 5-3-conference record, while Navy is tied for fifth at 2-6.
Meet the Mids
Saturday will be "Meet the Mids Day" as between games of the doubleheader the Midshipmen will be signing autographs. The first 100 kids in attendance will receive a free Navy Baseball Meet the Mids t-shirt.
Navy leads the all-time series, 52-26, and has taken three of the last five series between the teams, including 2011 (3-1) and 2007 (4-0) on the road, and 2008 (3-1) at home. After dropping the first game last season, Navy bounced back to win three consecutive (10-8, 11-2 and 5-2).
Navy and Holy Cross share just one common opponent in Central Connecticut State. The Crusaders fell to CCSU, 13-4, earlier this week, while the Mids went 1-1 in a pair of one-run games with the Blue Devils earlier this season.
When NCAA statistics were released on Monday, the Midshipmen ranked third in the nation in triples with 17. The Mids have ranked in the top 10 in the country in triples for four consecutive weeks and are 11-1 in games when they belt a triple this season. Nikolai Simonsen leads the league with four triples.
Last year Navy belted 23 triples, which was the 18th-highest total in the country.
The Navy defense has turned at least one double play in 10 of the last 11 games. Of the Mids' 15 double plays in the last 11 games, nine were inning-enders. Navy turned a season-high three double plays in its win over Coppin State on April 4, while it produced a total of six in its four-game series against Army.
Navy has a total of 26 double plays this season, while last season it produced 46.
Kostacopoulos Gets Win No. 700
Head coach Paul Kostacopoulos reached the 700-win plateau last Sunday as Navy defeated Bucknell, 3-2. He is the 37th-active NCAA Division I head coach to reach 700-career wins. In his 23rd season as a head coach and seventh at Navy, Kostacopoulos has a career record of 700-489-6 and has more career wins than any other current head coach in the Patriot League.
For hitting the milestone-win mark, Kostacopoulos was named to the College Baseball Hall of Fame's National All-Star Lineup this past week.
Pitching Staff Continues to Rack Up Ks
The Navy pitching staff continues to lead the Patriot League in strikeouts and enters the weekend with a total of 235. Holy Cross ranks second in the conference with 215.
Navy set a program record with 423 strikeouts in 2011.
The Captain is Climbing Navy's All-Time Hits Chart
With a career total of 186 hits, senior Alex Azor is just one away from tying Tony Mauro for seventh place on Navy's all-time hits chart. Azor went 6-for-15 (.400) in last weekend's series at Bucknell and leads the team in conference play with a .414 batting average.
Azor returned to the Navy lineup on March 14 after missing 11 games due to injury and made his presence known immediately as he tripled in his first at-bat against Eastern Illinois. The Miami, Fla., native has reached base safely in all 18 games in which he has appeared since returning to action on March 14.
Azor is tied for 11th place on the program's career doubles chart with 32.
One After Another
Greg Dupell became the third Midshipman to homer in consecutive games this season when he went deep in the first inning of game two against Bucknell on Sunday and again in the first frame versus George Mason on Wednesday.
For Dupell, it marks the second consecutive year he has homered in back-to-back games. Last season, he went deep in both games of a doubleheader at Army on April 10. Jeff Bland started 2011 by going yard in games one and two.
Milanes Produces Five-Game RBI Streak
Navy designated hitter Dave Milanes had a team-high five-game RBI streak that came to an end last weekend. Milanes, who has been hampered by injuries this season, drove in a run in each of the final two games of the Army series, against Coppin State and in the first two games of last weekend's series at Bucknell.
Milanes is the first Midshipman to record an RBI in five consecutive games since Jonathan Wright last season. Wright recorded an RBI in five consecutive appearances from April 10-18, 2011.
Nelson Enters Navy Career Lists
Junior starting pitcher Ben Nelson has worked his way onto Navy's all-time strikeouts and games-started lists. With four Ks in his last outing, Nelson now has 157 for his career and is five strikeouts away from moving into a three-way tie for 13th place in Navy history. With 31-career starts, Nelson is beginning to move up the Navy all-time games started list. With one more start, Nelson will be in 14th place. The Navy record for games started is 45, set by Mark McCoy (2005-08).
Nelson ranks third in the conference in strikeouts with 40 entering this weekend.
Rinehart Gets it Done
After picking up a safe in two innings of work against Georgetown on March 28, junior reliever Joel Rinehart moved into a tie for second place on Navy's all-time saves list with 11. With four wins and two saves this season, Rinehart has been the Mids' most valuable arm out of the bullpen in 2012. Rinehart picked up both of Navy's wins in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational as against Eastern Illinois, he pitched the final three and two-thirds innings, allowing one run off one hit and didn't issue a walk. In pitching the final two innings against Northwestern, Rinehart blanked the Wildcats, setting up the Mids walk-off victory in the bottom of the ninth.
In 12 appearances totaling 25.1 innings, the native of Kingwood, Texas, has 28 strikeouts and just seven walks.
Gainey Earns First Win as a Starter
Sophomore Preston Gainey earned his first victory as a starter last week in Navy's 3-2 win over Bucknell on April 8. In a complete-game effort, Gainey held the Bucknell offense to just four hits and both runs he yielded were unearned. The right-hander struck out five and retired six of the final seven Bison batters to help Navy get the win.
Gainey enters the weekend with a 1-2 record and a 4.22 ERA.
Young Players Stepping In
Navy has received significant contributions from its underclassmen over the past two seasons. This year, the Mids' lineup has featured no fewer than a total of five freshmen or sophomores in 25 of 33 games, while on the mound, freshman pitchers Anthony Parenti and Stephen Moore have combined for eight starts. A total of 11 freshmen and sophomores have combined for 57% of the team's hits, while nine first or second-year players have combined to drive in 63% of the team's runs.
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.
Dupell is Navy's Current Iron Man With Alex Azor's string of 97 consecutive starts coming to an end earlier this year, Greg Dupell is now Navy's active leader in consecutive starts with 87. Dupell started the final 54 games of 2011 and is the only Mid to have started all 33 games this season.
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.
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 will play a pair of midweek games as it will travel to Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday and then host Delaware State on Wednesday at Max Bishop Stadium. The Mids will hit the road to face Lafayette next weekend.