March 29, 2015
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The baseball squads from Navy and Bucknell locked horns in two extra-inning battles on Sunday afternoon at Max Bishop Stadium. The Mids (20-9, 4-0 PL) won a 10-inning pitchers’ duel in game one by a 2-1 score before surviving a 14-inning marathon with a 6-5 win over the Bison (14-11, 0-4 PL). The two combatants from last season’s Patriot League semifinals played for nearly seven hours on Sunday.
“That was a lot of innings,” remarked head coach Paul Kostacopoulos post-game. “The game was a hard-fought, well-played game. Steve Moore was outstanding and so was Jett in the sense that he got in a lot of trouble in the 10th inning, but held it to one run and gave us a chance to come back with a couple of runs in the bottom of the inning. We stayed with it, didn’t let up and caught a break to pull out that win.”
“Game two was frustrating for both teams because we both had opportunities to score, but lacked the one big hit to make it happen. It seemed like one of those days where both teams hit it hard, but it was always right at somebody. It was a crazy day, but a lot of credit goes to our team for continuing to battle through two extra-inning games.”
Pitching was the story for the doubleheader as both staffs combined to hold their opponent’s to a .212 batting average and just three extra-base hits. Stephen Moore (Sr., Roswell, Ga.) hurled 7.2 scoreless innings of four-hit ball in game one before being relieved by Jett Meenach (So., Flower Mound, Texas) for 2.1 innings. In game two, the trio of Andrew Bartek (Jr., Jefferson, Ga.), Sam Sorenson (Jr., Etters, Pa.) and Colin Brady (Fr., Seneca, S.C.) gave Navy 10.2 innings of two-run relief after Kyle Condry (So., Highland Village, Texas) exited in after 3.1 innings.
Offensively, Sean Trent (Jr., Sorrento, Fla.), Brad Borosak (Sr., Jupiter, Fla.) and Connor Deneen (Jr., Tustin, Calif.) led the Mids’ attack with 10 combined hits over 31 at bats. Trent recorded a team-high four hits, while Deneen led Navy with three RBIs.
In game one, the teams were locked in a pitchers’ battle between Moore and Andrew Andreychik. Similar to last year’s showdown that finished with Andreychik and the Bison on top in a 1-0 duel, the contest on Sunday moved at a brisk pace as both pitchers matched each other with zero after zero on the scoreboard.
Moore was perfect over the first 3.1 innings as he retired all 10 Bucknell batters that he faced to open the game. After Mark Powell reached base on a single in the top of the fourth, the Bison were able to touch up Moore for at least one base runner in each of the next three innings, but came away with nothing to show for on the scoreboard. Bucknell’s biggest threat came in the top of the sixth when Powell and Joe Ogren reached second and third with two outs before Moore rolled over Anthony Gingerelli for an unassisted put out by Jack Keller (Sr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.) at first base. Keller took a sharp ground ball and knocked down the ball to recover in time and beat Gingerelli in a foot race to first base.
Navy was never able to garner much traction in its hope of solving Andreychik as the Mids got single runners on base in each of the first, third and fourth innings. In the sixth and seventh innings, Navy challenged and got two runners on base, but Andreychik and the Bison bent, but didn’t break to keep the game scoreless.
The regularly-scheduled seven inning game moved into the eighth inning and both teams threatened, but again came away with no runs scored. Meenach relieved Moore when the Bison had two runners on with two outs in the eighth and the sidearmer quickly disposed of one of the Patriot League’s leading offensive players in Ogren with a strike-three swinging.
Meenach pitched into and out of trouble in the ninth inning as he forced Rob Krentzman into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. He wouldn’t be unable to come away unscathed in the 10th frame as Bucknell notched the game’s first run on an RBI single by Powell.
Down 1-0 and left with only three outs, the Mids fought back quickly with back-to-back singles by Borosak and Logan Knowles (Fr., Port Orchard, Wash.). Borosak singled to right field before Knowles went back to right field with another single. After Bucknell’s Anthony Gingerelli fielded Knowles’ ball, the strong-armed right fielder airmailed the ball towards third base and out of play beyond Navy’s dugout. The dead ball situation advanced Borosak in from third to even the score at 1-1. Three batters later with Knowles on third base, Trent hit a slow grounder deep to shortstop Greg Wasikowski, but he sprinted down the first base line to beat out the throw to earn the Mids the exciting 2-1 walk-off victory.
For the game, Navy outhit Bucknell, 9-7. Trent led the Mids with three hits. Borosak added two base hits from the eighth-hole in the batting order.
Moore received a no-decision in his 7.2 innings of scoreless four-hit ball. The senior righty walked one and struck out six. Meenach earned the victory with 2.1 innings of work. The sophomore allowed one run on three hits and a walk, while striking out three Bison batters. Andreychik was the hard-luck loser for Bucknell as he went 9.2 innings with two runs allowed (one earned) on nine hits and no walks.
Unlike the day’s first contest, game two was not devoid of offensive fireworks. The Mids jumped on Bison’ starter Jordan Holtz quickly as he was chased after 17 ineffective pitches. Navy recorded four runs on a combination of two singles, two hit by pitches, two wild pitches, a walk and a Bucknell error. Deneen started the scoring for the Mids with a two-RBI single to right field. Adrian Chinnery (So., Wilmington, Del.) recorded Navy’s next RBI before Borosak drove in run number four with an RBI bunt single down the first base line.
Bucknell’s call to the bullpen for lefty Mike Castellani proved beneficial as he minimized the damage in the first inning. Moving forward he’d keep a four next to Navy’s name on the scoreboard with 7.0 more innings of scoreless relief.
With the score 4-0, the Bison slowly cut away at the Mids’ lead with a single run in the top of the third inning before notching two in the fourth. That third run marked the end of the day for Navy’s starting pitcher Condry, who was relieved by Bartek after 3.1 innings.
Bartek and Castellani moved the action along with quick scoreless fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, Bucknell finally got to the Midshipmen reliever with a single run. A leadoff single by Powell proved costly as he eventually came into score the game-tying run on a Jon Mayer single to center field.
Tied at 4-4, Sorenson was next up for Navy to try and hold off Bucknell’s further comeback attempts. The righty would succeed over the eighth, ninth and tenth innings as he allowed just two hits and struck out two Bison. This success would be important as Castellani finished his appearance with a three-up, three-down inning in the eighth. He was tagged out by righty sidearmer Mike Stephens after 7.1 innings and 112 pitches. Stephens continued the three-up, three-down streak into the ninth and tenth innings.
In the 11th inning, both teams found offensive answers as Bucknell used an Ogren double and Gingerelli single to go up 5-4 before Navy came back by sending seven men to the plate. With one out, four of the next five batters reached base as Borosak walked, Ben McGrath (Fr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) doubled and Knowles was hit by a pitch. The Mids’ fourth positive at bat came in the form of a bases loaded hit by pitch of Robert Currie (Jr., Atlanta, Ga.).
With the score 5-5, each team moved onto their fourth pitchers as Brady was summoned out of Navy’s bullpen as Max Kra was for Bucknell. Each hurler moved quickly through the opposing lineups as the Bison went 1-2-3 in the 12th and 13th innings, while the the Mids did the same in the bottom half of those innings.
Bucknell notched its first and only hit off of Brady in the top of the 14th with a single to left field by Mayer.
“Our bullpen was great all day,” said Kostacopoulos. “Between Andrew, Sam and Colin they did a fabulous job in game two.”
With the game action of Sunday’s twinbill nearing seven hours and daylight fading away as the clock reached the 7:15 pm time range, Navy pieced together one more rally. 13 innings after scoring their last run, the Mids manufactured the game’s final run on a Currie single and back-to-back walks to Trent and Leland Saile (So., Land O’Lakes, Fla.). With the bases loaded, Deneen hit a single to shallow left field in between a trio of Bucknell defenders to earn Navy its second extra-inning walk-off victory.
For the game, Bucknell outhit Navy, 14-8. Deneen and McGrath each recorded two hits for the Mids.
Brady earned his first collegiate victory with a three innings of scoreless relief. He allowed just one hit and struck out two Bison.
Navy will next be in action at home on Wednesday versus Coppin State. First pitch between the Mids and Eagles is scheduled for 3 p.m.