Baseball Travels to Holy Cross for the Patriot League Tournament
May 10, 2012
Navy will look to defend its title when it travels to Holy Cross for the Patriot League Tournament semifinal series against Holy Cross this weekend. The two teams will begin the best-of-three series with a doubleheader on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Fitton Field. If necessary, game three will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Navy in the Patriot League Tournament
Navy's 14 appearances in the conference tournament are the most of any Patriot League program. Army, Navy and Bucknell have all won five tournament titles, but since there was no tournament in 1995, Navy claimed the championship by winning the regular season.
Navy, which is making its third appearance as a No. 3 seed, is 20-18 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament. Last season as the top seed, Navy captured the tourney crown by defeating Bucknell, 2-1, in the semifinal round and then Army, 2-1, in the championship series.
Navy and Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament
This year's semifinal matchup marks the first postseason meeting between Navy and Holy Cross since 2008 when the second-seeded Mids responded from a 6-0 game-one loss to down the No. 3 Crusaders, 12-1 and 9-5, in games two and three, respectively, to win the series. The only other meeting between the programs in the conference tournament came in 1999 as the Mids defeated the Crusaders, 8-4, in the semifinals.
Navy had three players earn All-Patriot League honors this season as senior outfielder Alex Azor was named first-team all-Patriot League, while junior third baseman Greg Dupell and sophomore starting pitcher Preston Gainey were both voted to the second team. For Azor, it marks the second time in his career he has earned first-team all-Patriot League honors as he was also voted to the team in 2010. Dupell was named to the league's second team last season as a first baseman, while Gainey's selection is the first of his career.
Azor was one of the top hitters in league play all season. His 28 hits in conference games were tied for the most in the league and his .364 batting average against Patriot League foes was third best.
Dupell cemented himself as one of the conference's premiere hitters this season as he enters this weekend with a league-leading 44 RBIs. His .331 batting average is sixth highest in the Patriot League.
In his first year as a starter, Gainey has gone 3-2 with a 3.54 ERA. All three of his wins have come in Patriot League play where he has an ERA of 2.30 and is holding opponents to a .216 batting average.
Hahn's Big Day Earns Him Player of the Week Honors
Playing in his last regular-season game at Bishop Stadium, senior Andrew Hahn made it one to remember as he went 4-for-4 with six RBIs in Navy's 17-12 win over Coppin State on May 1. For his efforts, Hahn earned Patriot League Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career on May 7. Hahn used a two-RBI double and two-RBI triple and a pair of run-scoring singles to reach six RBIs. It marked just the 28th time in the 117th year of the program that a Midshipman drove in at least six runs. Prior to Hahn, Jeff Bland was the last player to have a six-RBI game on April 17, 2010.
Hahn is now hitting .247 and has at least one hit in five of the last six games in which he has appeared.
In the Regular Season
Holy Cross took three of four games from the Midshipmen on April 14-15 earlier this season. The Crusaders won games one, two and the finale.
Navy leads the all-time series, 59-29. In their last visit to Fitton Field in 2011, the Midshipmen dropped game one of the series, but bounced back to win three consecutive.
In picking up at least one hit in 13 of the last 14 games in which he has appeared, sophomore first baseman Kash Manzelli has raised his average nearly 40 points. Manzelli has hit .370 over the past 14 games and has driven in 20 runs over the span. Eight of Manzelli's team-leading 11 multi-RBI games have come over the 14-game stretch as well.
Manzelli hit the first two home runs of his career in the series at Lafayette, including a grand slam in the 21-3 victory on April 21. The native of Dunwoody, Ga., is now hitting .288 and his 32 RBIs are the second most on the team.
When NCAA statistics were released on Monday, the Midshipmen ranked fifth in the nation in triples with 27. The Mids have ranked in the top 10 in the country in triples for seven consecutive weeks and are 16-4 in games when they belt a triple this season. Greg Dupell and Andrew Hahn lead the league with six triples each, which also slots them 15th nationally.
The Mids need just three more triples to tie the school record of 30, set by the 1995 team.
Dupell Continues to Roll
Greg Dupell, who extended his hitting streak to a career-long 10 games last week, enters play this weekend as the Patriot League leader in RBIs with 44. Since going 1-for-3 with two RBIs in the final game of the series at Bucknell on April 8, the junior has at least one hit in 18 of the last 19 games, producing 25 RBIs over the stretch. In his current 10-game hitting streak, Dupell is 16-for-34 (.471) with 11 RBIs.
Dupell ranks near the top of the conference in several categories, including doubles (14, t-2nd), triples (6, t-1st), home runs (5, t-3rd) and total bases (100, t-1st).
Greg Dupell was named the Patriot League's Player of the Week on April 24 after hitting .524 with 11 RBIs. CollegeBaseballInsider.com also recognized Dupell this week as its Northeast Region Player of the Week.
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.
Moore Steps Up at Second
After starting at second base on April 17 in a win at Maryland-Eastern Shore, senior Josh Moore has hit .378 and started every game since. Over the 13-game stretch, Moore has six multi-hit games and has driven in nine runs.
In a career-high 72 at-bats this season, Moore is currently hitting .292 and has reached base safely in five consecutive games.
Home Run Barrage
The Midshipmen nearly doubled their season home run total in the series at Lafayette by hitting seven home runs in the four-game sweep. The Mids' seven home runs were the most in a series by a Navy team since the 1998 squad hit eight over the wall in a four-game set at Lafayette.
The Mids belted four home runs in the 21-3 rout of the Leopards in game two of last Saturday's doubleheader; it was Navy's highest single-game home run total since hitting five in a 16-3 win over Mount St. Mary's on March 27, 2007.
Navy enters play this weekend with 16 home runs, five shy of league-leading Holy Cross. The Mids belted 21 round-trippers last season, which was the eighth-highest single-season total in program history.
The Navy defense has turned 38 double plays this season, which is the second most in the Patriot League. The Mids had just 11 double plays through the first half of the season, but have since turned 27, including 17 in the last 20 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 and five in the Holy Cross series.
Last season Navy had 46 double plays.
The Captain is Climbing Navy's All-Time Hits Chart
With a career total of 209 hits, senior Alex Azor ranks fifth on Navy's all-time hits list and is just three hits from moving up another notch. Azor has at least one hit in 10 of the last 11 games and is hitting .354 over the stretch.
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. He went on to reach base safely in a team-high 27 consecutive games.
Azor ranks 11th on the program's career doubles chart with 35 and needs two more to move into the top 10.
Dupell Working His Way Up the Career Home Run Chart
After going the first 31 games of the season without a home run, Greg Dupell has quickly become tied for third in the Patriot League in homers. Dupell has homered five times in the Mids' last 19 games, including two in the Lafayette series.
With a career total of 12, he is currently tied for the ninth-most homers in Navy history and is just two away from moving into seventh place.
Nelson Enters Navy Career Lists
Junior starting pitcher Ben Nelson has worked his way onto Navy's all-time strikeouts and games-started lists. His seven Ks in his last outing marked his highest total since April 9 and he now has 176, which is good for 10th most in Navy history. With 34-career starts, Nelson is beginning to move up the Navy all-time games started list and currently stands in 11th place. The Navy record for games started is 45, set by Mark McCoy (2005-08).
Nelson enters the weekend with a total of 59 strikeouts, which ranks third in the Patriot League.
Thank You, Seniors
Navy's four seniors received their service assignments on Nov. 30, 2011 as both Alex Azor and Josh Moore will be commissioned as Marine Corps Officers (Marine Corps Ground), while Andrew Hahn (Surface Warfare) and Zach Sipe (Naval Flight Officer) will be commissioned as Navy Officers.
Graduation for the class of 2012 will take place this spring on May 29. Naval Academy graduates serve a minimum of five years in the Navy or Marine Corps, while pilots serve eight years upon earning their wings.
One After Another x3
Andrew Hahn became the third Midshipman to homer in consecutive games this season when he went deep in both games of a doubleheader at Lafayette on April 21. Prior to that, Greg Dupell homered in the first inning of game two against Bucknell on April 8 and again in the first frame versus George Mason on April 11. Earlier this season, Chance Jones homered in both games of a doubleheader against Air Force (Feb. 25).
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.
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 709-497-6 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 321.
Navy set a program record with 423 strikeouts in 2011.
Rinehart Gets it Done
After picking up a save in two innings of work in the final game of the series at Lafayette, junior reliever Joel Rinehart is now alone in second place on Navy's all-time saves list with 12. With five wins and three saves this season, Rinehart has been the Mids' most valuable arm out of the bullpen. In 17 appearances totaling 33.1 innings, the native of Kingwood, Texas, has 35 strikeouts and just 11 walks.
Gainey Earns Three Consecutive Wins
After picking up his first win as a starter on April 8 with a 3-2 victory over Bucknell, then following it with a win against Holy Cross on April 15, Preston Gainey made it three straight with a complete-game victory over Lafayette on April 21.
Gainey has allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight of his nine starts this season. He allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of his five conference starts.
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 104. Dupell started the final 54 games of 2011 and is the only Mid to have started all 50 games this season.
21 x 2
In defeating Lafayette, 21-3, in game two of a doubleheader on April 21, Navy put up its second 21-run game of the year. Navy opened its home schedule on Feb. 22 with a 21-1 win over UMES, posting their highest run total and largest margin of victory since defeating Hartford, 24-2, on March 22, 2003. It was the first time Navy hit the 20-run mark since a 20-5 win over Lafayette in 2010.
In scoring 21 runs in two games this season, in marks the first time since 1998 that a Navy team has scored at least 20 runs twice in a season. Like this season, both games of 20-plus runs in 1998 came against Lafayette and UMES, as the Mids defeated the Leopards, 30-2, and UMES, 24-3.