Baseball Travels to Lafayette for Key Series
Junior Chris Campbell
April 20, 2012
Navy Travels to Lafayette For Key Series
The Midshipmen will travel to Easton, Pa., this weekend to take on Lafayette in their final regular-season road series. Saturday's doubleheader will begin at 11 a.m. and Sunday's twin bill is slated to begin at noon.
The Leopards enter the series with a one-game lead on the Mids for the fourth and final playoff spot. Lafayette is 4-8 in Patriot League play, while Navy is 3-9.
Navy leads the all-time series, 61-36-2. In the last series in Easton, Pa., in 2010, the Leopards took three of four games. Navy's last series win in Easton came in 2008 as the Mids won three of four games.
Last season, the teams split a tightly contested four-game set in Annapolis. Navy took game one, 4-2, while the Leopards took games two and three, both by one run. The Mids took the finale, 4-2, to clinch the Patriot League regular season title.
The Leopards enter play this weekend with a six-game losing streak ... Lafayette's four conference wins have come against Lehigh (two) and Holy Cross (two) ... As a team, the Leopards are hitting .232 ... Bobby Fargnoli leads the squad in batting average (.261) and RBIs (21) ... Andrew Santomauro is the only Leopard to have appeared in all 38 games and leads the team with 38 hits ... On the mound, the Leopards own a 5.15 team ERA and opponents are hitting .298 off the pitching staff ... Reliever Sean McGrath is tied for the team lead in appearances with 20 and has a team-high 32 Ks ... The pitching staff has a total of 220 strikeouts and 150 walks ... In the field, Lafayette posts a .953 fielding percentage and has made a total of 65 errors ... The Leopards have 35 stolen bases this season and have been thrown out on stolen-base attempts 17 times.
When NCAA statistics were released on Monday, the Midshipmen ranked fourth in the nation in triples with 19. Since then, Navy added three more this week to bring its season total to 22. The Mids have ranked in the top 10 in the country in triples for five consecutive weeks and are 13-3 in games when they belt a triple this season. Nikolai Simonsen and Andrew Hahn lead the league with five triples each.
Navy's 22 triples are tied with the 2006 team for sixth place in program history. The Navy record for triples is 30, set by the 1995 team.
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 nine of the last 10 games. Of the Mids' 33 double plays this season, 20 have come in the last 14 games. 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.
Last season Navy produced 46 double plays.
The Captain is Climbing Navy's All-Time Hits Chart
With a career total of 192 hits, senior Alex Azor is now alone in seventh place on Navy's all-time hits chart. Azor went 5-for-13 (.385) in last weekend's series against Holy Cross. His .405 batting average in Patriot League play leads the team and is fourth best in the conference.
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 24 games in which he has appeared since returning to action on March 14.
Azor ranks 11th on the program's career doubles chart with 33.
Dupell Gets Hot
Junior infielder Greg Dupell carries a season-high eight-game hitting streak into this weekend's series. Dupell is hitting .500 over the last eight games, as his current hitting streak is one game shy of tying a career long.
Dupell has been productive during his hitting streak with 12 RBIs as he has driven in runs in seven of the eight games.
The native of Tampa, Fla., enters the weekend with a team-leading 33 RBIs. Last season, Dupell earned second-team All-Patriot League honors as he tied Alex Azor for second in the conference in hits (69). His 35 RBIs ranked seventh in the league.
Manzelli Starts a Streak
Kash Manzelli has a five-game hitting streak entering play this weekend, tying a season high. Manzelli started the year with a hit in each of the first five games and is 6-for-16 (.375) in his last five contests. The sophomore produced a pair of RBIs in the win over Holy Cross on April 15 and again at UMES on Tuesday.
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 six Ks in his last outing, Nelson now has 164 for his career and is six strikeouts away from moving into a tie for 11th most in Navy history. With 32-career starts, Nelson is beginning to move up the Navy all-time games started list and currently stands in 14th place. The Navy record for games started is 45, set by Mark McCoy (2005-08).
Nelson enters the weekend with a total of 47 strikeouts, which ranks third in the Patriot League.
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 April 8 and again in the first frame versus George Mason on April 11.
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.
700 and Counting
Head coach Paul Kostacopoulos reached the 700-win plateau in Navy's 3-2 win over Bucknell on April 8. He became 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 702-493-6 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 on April 12.
Pitching Staff Continues to Rack Up Ks
The Navy pitching staff has led the Patriot League in strikeouts all season and enters the weekend with a conference-high total of 267.
Navy set a program record with 423 strikeouts in 2011.
Gainey Earns Back-to-Back Wins
After picking up his first win as a starter on April 8 with a 3-2 victory over Bucknell, sophomore Preston Gainey made it two in a row as he earned the win against Holy Cross last week. In Navy's 8-2 win over Holy Cross, Gainey scattered three hits in four and one-third innings and allowed just one unearned run.
Against Bucknell, Gainey used a complete-game effort to hold the Bucknell offense to just four hits as he yielded just two unearned runs. The right-hander struck out five and retired six of the final seven Bison batters to help Navy get the win.
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 26.2 innings, the native of Kingwood, Texas, has 28 strikeouts and just eight walks.
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 26 of 39 games, while on the mound, freshman pitchers Anthony Parenti and Stephen Moore have combined for nine starts. A total of 11 freshmen and sophomores have combined for 51% of the team's hits, while seven first or second-year players have combined to drive in 51% 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 93. Dupell started the final 54 games of 2011 and is the only Mid to have started all 39 games this season.
After a midweek trip to George Washington on Wednesday, Navy will host Lehigh in the final regular-season series of the season on April 28-29.