April 26, 2013
Navy Visits Lehigh in Final Regular-Season Series
Navy will head to Lehigh to play its final regular-season series, needing just one win to clinch a spot in the Patriot League Tournament for the third straight year. The two teams will meet in doubleheaders at noon on both Saturday and Sunday.
Navy and Lehigh share four common, non-conference opponents in UMES, Coppin State, LIU Brooklyn and Delaware State. The Mountain Hawks went 2-0 vs. UMES (Feb. 27 DH), 3-0 vs. Coppin State (March 9-10), 1-2 vs. LIU Brooklyn (March 22-23) and 0-1 vs. Delaware State. Navy went a combined 5-2 in their meetings against the four schools.
Mids 7-1 in Their Last Eight Games
After dropping the first two games of their series at Holy Cross, the Midshipmen have won seven of their last eight games with their only loss coming in extra innings to Lafayette on April 20. Navy is hitting .314 as a team over the last eight games, including six starters at .313 or above. The pitching staff his holding opponents to a .238 batting average and has yielded two or fewer runs in six of the last eight games. Defensively, the Mids have a .983 fielding percentage, which is .020 higher than its current season total.
Entering this weekend, Navy's five starters that are all hitting .278 or above have reached safely in seven or more consecutive games. Outfielder Brandon Beans has reached base safely in 11 consecutive games (.305), followed by Dave Milanes (.311) and Robert Currie (.278), who have both reached in each of the last 10 games. Kash Manzelli (.346) has gotten on base in nine straight games and it has been seven consecutive for Greg Dupell (.305).
Pitching Staff Leading the Patriot League
The Navy pitching staff continues to lead the Patriot League in several key categories. Entering the weekend, Navy is atop the conference in ERA (3.86), opponent batting average (.255) and strikeouts (310).
Junior Kash Manzelli has reached base in 21 of the last 22 contests and brings a nine-game hitting streak into this weekend's series. The junior has hits in 19 of those 22 games.
The first baseman ranks in the top five in the Patriot League in several offensive categories, including: hits (56, first), RBIs (29, t-third), batting average (.346, fourth) and runs scored (31, t-fifth).
Dupell at The Top of the League in RBIs
As he has been for the last two seasons, Greg Dupell remains one of the league's most reliable run-producing threats. He is currently tied for the league lead in RBIs with 35 and his combined 21 extra-base hits (15 doubles, three triples, three home runs) also leads the conference. As of Thursday, his 15 doubles ranked 36th in the nation.
In the Navy Record Book
Greg Dupell has worked his way into the top-10 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 fourth in doubles (43), ninth in hits (184) and 10th in RBIs (115).
Navy has played five extra-inning games this season and its four wins in extra frames are a program record. For the first time in 119 years, the Mids played three consecutive extra-inning games last weekend. In a pair of games April 20, both of which went 10 innings, Navy defeated Lafayette, 4-3, before falling in game two, 7-6. The next day, the Mids defeated Lafayette, 1-0, in nine innings in game one of the doubleheader.
Milanes Steps It Up
One of the bats that has contributed to the Mids' surge over their last eight games belongs to senior Dave Milanes. The catcher and designated hitter has bumped his batting average by .031 over the last eight games to .311. The nine-game hitting streak he brings into play this weekend is tied for the longest of his career.
Senior starting pitcher Ben Nelson has been out of action since March 23. In six starts this season, he is 5-1 with a 1.30 ERA and was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week on three occasions. After his last start on March 23, Nelson then ranked in the top-30 nationally in several categories, including: eighth in strike-out-to-walk ratio (11.25), 12th in complete games (two), 25th in walks allowed per nine innings (0.86) and 26th in strikeouts (45).
Ranks With Navy's Best
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, which is four shy of the Navy record.
Don't Count `Em Out
Navy has trailed its opponent at some point in 14 of its 24 wins this season. Three of the Mids' last four wins were come-from-behind victories (Lafayette - game one, April 20; Lafayette - game two, April 21; Delaware State, April 24). 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 nine of its 14 come-from-behind wins.
Moore Bolsters the Rotation
Sophomore Stephen Moore has stepped up in the absence of Ben Nelson, going 2-0 in his four conference starts while leading the league with a 2.64 ERA. Against Army on March 31, Moore held the Black Knights to just one run on five hits to earn the complete-game win. Moore limited Holy Cross to just one run on four hits and fanned a career-best six batters to earn another complete-game win. Last week against Lafayette, he struck out six and tossed seven-complete innings for the second straight week.
In conference games only he is holding opponents to a .216 average and has a 1.37 ERA, both of which rank third in the league. Moore has a total 41 strikeouts and just eight walks this season. He is 3-2 in six starts totaling 47.2 innings.
Veech Provides Power
Senior Craig Veech has made the most of his opportunities lately. In three starts between April 7-16, he posted a total of seven hits, including two home runs, and nine RBIs. He had a career day at Maryland-Eastern Shore on April 16, going 3-for-5 with a career-high five RBIs, four of which game on a grand slam in the fourth inning. The grand slam was the first by a Mid since Kash Manzelli against Lafayette last season on April 21.
Limiting the Free Passes
Navy is the only team in the league with two pitchers - Stephen Moore and Luke Gillingham - that have each issued eight or fewer walks in 44.0 or more innings pitched.
The pitching staff has issued two or fewer walks in 18 games this season, going 13-5 in those contests. The Mids haven't walked an opposing batter in six games this season. By comparison, Navy did not issue a walk in just four if its 52 games in 2012.
Navy is 9-5 in one-run games this season and 22 of the Mids' 44 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 18 appearances, which are second only to Joel Rinehart on the team, Sorenson is 3-0 with a 3.69 ERA. He is holding opponents to a .205 batting average.
Rinehart is Navy's Career-Appearances Leader
With a team-high 20 appearances this season, senior reliever and team captain Joel Rinehart now has 75 for his career, which ranks first in Navy history. Joe Koessler (2003-06) previously held the program record of 68.
With 14 career 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.
...And Delivers at the Plate
Joel Rinehart took advantage of his only career at-bat in game one of the Mids' 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 did so in 1973.
Dupell is Navy's Current Iron Man
Greg Dupell is Navy's active leader in consecutive starts with 150 entering play this weekend. The senior started the final 54 games of the 2011 season and was the only Mid to start all 52 contests last season.
Michael Speciale was the last Mid to start at least 150 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.
Putting Up Hits, Raising Their Average
With double-digit hits in six of its last nine games, the Mids have raised their team batting average to .276, which ranks second in the league. Navy has 15 or more hits in seven games this season, including in three of its last nine games. It is the first time the Mids have had 15 or more its in at least seven games since 2010.
Patriot League Series Notes
Lafayette (April 20-21)
The first three games of the series all went to extra innings, Navy won two of them and took three of four in the series ... Four players had six hits each (Dupell, Wiedeman, Beans and Currie) to lead the offense, while the pitching staff yieled just 11 earned runs in the series.
Holy Cross (April 13-14
After dropping the first two games of the series, Navy bounced back to win both games on Sunday, 5-1 and 7-1 ... Dave Milanes went a combined 7-for-9 in both Navy wins, while game-three starter Stephen Moore earned his second complete-game win ... Luke Gillingham was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week after recording a career-high seven Ks in the series finale.
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.
Stealing When They Can
Led by Brad Borosak's team-high 14 swipes, Navy's 53 stolen bases eclipses the team's mark from last season (43) and ranks third in the Patriot League. Navy last stole more than 50 bases in a season in 2011 when it had 58.
Navy will close its regular-season slate on Wednesday when it hosts George Washington.