Patriot League Semifinal Saturday Recap

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCES

Game 1: Holy Cross 6 Navy 0
Game 2: Navy 12 Holy Cross 1

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – After dropping the first game of Saturday’s baseball doubleheader, Navy starting pitcher Oliver Drake (So./Gardner, Mass.) tossed 7.2 quality innings to force a third and deciding game in the best-of-three Patriot League semifinal series against Holy Cross at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. The Midshipmen bounced back with a 12-1 win in the nightcap after the Crusaders won game one, 6-0.

Navy (31-23-1) and Holy Cross (21-27) will play the rubber game of the series tomorrow at 12 noon, with the winner advancing to take on the champion of the Army-Bucknell series, who also split their twinbill on Saturday in West Point.

With Navy’s season riding on the arm of Drake, the Navy right-hander once again came through for the Mids. He scattered seven hits and one run over 7.2 innings with no walks and nine strikeouts to improve to 6-3 on the year. Over his three career starts against Holy Cross, Drake is 3-0 with a 0.76 ERA over 23.2 innings with one walk and 24 strikeouts.

“You can really use the same words to describe Oliver’s performance today as the ones from his last start against Holy Cross two weeks ago,” stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “He had three pitches working and was in command. His effort was simply outstanding.

“He has gone out there and performed like that in the key moments throughout the year. He certainly had to step up as our staff ace when Mitch (Harris) was out earlier this season. The way he has stepped up for us certainly qualifies him as a big-game pitcher.”

One game after being shut out, the Midshipmen gave Drake all the run support he would need in the first inning. Renaldo Hollins (Sr./Virginia Beach, Va.) struck out, but reached first on a wild pitch and would eventually steal second. Following a pair of outs, Thomas Hamilton (Sr./Houston, Texas) was hit by a pitch before Kendall Bolt (So./Stockton, Calif.) singled through the left side to bring in Hollins. The next batter, Mitch Harris (Sr./Mt. Holly, N.C.), laced a single up the middle to score Hamilton and give the Mids a 2-0 cushion.

“Kendall broke the scoring seal with that hit in the first inning,” said Kostacopoulos. “The first game was certainly frustrating for us. However, once we got those couple of runs, it did not seem as hard.”

Navy built to its lead with a run in the fourth and two in the fifth. Nick Driscoll (Fr./Riverview, Fla.) produced a two-out single and would come around to score on a Mike Guadagnini (Fr./Virginia Beach, Va.) single to left. One frame later, Bolt singled before Jeff Bland (Fr./Basking Ridge, N.J.) blasted a towering two-run shot into the wind over the left-field fence to make the score 5-0.

The Midshipmen blew the game open in the sixth inning, scoring seven runs on seven hits and sending 12 batters to the plate. Guadagnini had two hits in the inning with a run scored and two RBIs, while Hamilton and Bolt each had run scoring doubles. Navy’s offense chased Holy Cross starter Matt Shapiro, the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, out of the game in the inning. Shapiro gave up 12 hits and nine runs, all earned, over five-plus innings to pick up the loss.

Navy pounded out 17 hits compared to Holy Cross’s eight base knocks in the nightcap. Bolt led the way with a 4-for-6 effort, including a pair of runs scored and RBIs. Hollins and Guadagnini both had three hits in the first and second spots in the order, respectively. Harris and Driscoll each delivered two singles, while Hamilton scored twice and drove in two runs.

“Kendall led the way with the offense in the second game,” stated Kostacopoulos. “We received many good contributions, which tends to happen when you collect 17 hits in a game.”

In the opener, both teams had opportunities to strike early, but could not deliver with runners on base as the score remain tied at zero after four frames. The Midshipmen had the bases loaded with one out in the third and fourth innings, but Holy Cross starter Bobby Holmes got out of both jams unscathed. In the third, Holmes used a strikeout and a groundout to avoid damage, followed by a line drive double play to first base in the fourth.

The Crusaders jumped on the board with four runs and sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth inning against Navy starter Harris. Holy Cross chased Harris in the sixth and provided insurance with two more runs.

Harris fell to 2-2 on the year, as he allowed seven hits and five runs, four of which were earned, over 5.1 innings with two walks and five strikeouts.

“Mitch gave us what he had out there,” said Kostacopoulos. “To Holy Cross’s credit, they did a good job and put on some good at bats.”

The Midshipmen were out-hit in game one, 11-5. Hamilton was the lone Navy batter to record a multi-hit performance, as he went 2-for-4. Hamilton’s three hits on Saturday pushed his school-record season total to 81.

“We had some chances to score throughout the first game,” stated Kostacopoulos. “We just could not pick up the big hit when we needed it, resulting in 11 runners left on base.”

Tomorrow’s deciding game of the series will be aired with live audio on Navy All-Access, with Pete Medhurst calling the action. The subscription price for Navy All-Access is $6.95 per month, $49.95 for a 12-month package and $99.95 for CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) All-Access XXL, which will provide you access to every CBS College Sports Network.com school. For the best results, you should have broadband and high-speed cable access to the internet. To sign in or subscribe to Navy All-Access, log onto www.NavySports.com and click on the All-Access button on the right side of the page.

In addition, live statistics will be available via GameTracker through Navy’s website, www.NavySports.com(.)

Game 1: Bucknell 5 Army 4 (10 innings)
Game 2: Army 12 Bucknell 3

WEST POINT, N.Y. – A solo home run by sophomore Ben Allen (Port Royal, Pa./Juniata) in the 10th inning helped the Bucknell baseball team open its Patriot League semifinal series with a 5-4 victory over Army. The Black Knights went on to take the second contest by a 12-3 margin, however, to force a deciding game three tomorrow at Doubleday Field. The Bison are now 23-22-2 on the year, while the Black Knights sit at 24-24.

Bucknell began game one in front 1-0 after the top of the first. Allen laced a first-pitch single up the middle to lead off the contest for the Bison and classmate Ben Yoder (Belleville, Pa./Indian Valley) followed with a double to right center to drive in Allen.

Then in the second, junior Dane Grandizio (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg) opened up with a home run to left for the Orange and Blue and Allen brought the score to 3-0 with a RBI single to right that plated senior Ed Rubbo (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge).

Chris Simmons put Army on the board with a solo shot to left in the bottom of the frame, but the Bison took the run back three innings later as Allen reached with a leadoff single in the fifth and scored on a double play ball.

Then in the bottom of the fifth, the Black Knights managed to pull within one. Tony Capozzi was hit by a pitch and came home on a two-out triple by Cole White. The next batter, Kevin McKague, brought in White for the second run of the frame. Army went on to tie the score at four in the seventh as Andy Ernesto doubled to right and crossed the plate on a double to left by McKague.

Senior Jason Buursma (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside School) led off the next half inning with a hard-hit ball to the wall in centerfield, but was robbed of a hit by Ernesto.

In the top of the 10th, Allen connected for his second home run of the season for what would be the winning run of the contest. He finished game one 4-for-5 at the plate with three runs scored and two RBI.

Buursma picked up the win (6-3) for the Bison in relief of starter Mathew Wilson (Toronto, Ontario/Northern S.S.), working 3.2 scoreless innings of relief and surrendering just one hit with no walks and two strikeouts. Ben Koenigsfeld suffered the loss (5-4) for the Black Knights. He gave up one run on four hits in 1.1 innings on the mound.

Army began game two with a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Clint Moore with two out in the top of the third.

Bucknell responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning as Grandizio tripled to bring in senior Shawn Hirsch (Morristown, N.J./Morristown) and junior Bret Sokirka (Wyoming, Pa./Wyoming Area) who both reached with singles.

However, the Black Knights went back in front, breaking the game open with a seven-run fourth as the squad tallied seven hits, including a two-run homer by Simmons and a two-RBI double by Moore.

Army followed up by scoring in each of the next three innings, posting one in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.

The Bison added their third and final run in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Andrew Brouse (Kreamer, Pa./Midd-West) doubled to left and senior Chris Pieper (Port Washington, N.Y./Schreiber) drove him in with a single to the right field corner.

Freshman Dylan Seeley started for Bucknell and took the loss (3-3). He allowed seven runs, just two earned, on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout over 3.2 innings. Matt Fouch earned the victory (6-2) for the Black Knights, holding the Bison to three runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 6.2 innings on the mound.

Moore led Army’s offense in game two as he finished 3-for-5 with three RBI. Sokirka was the lone player for the Orange and Blue to log multiple hits in the second contest, going 2-for-4 with a runs scored.

The squads will be back in action tomorrow, May 11, at 1 p.m. to determine the winner of the series, who will advance to the Patriot League championship to face either Navy or Holy Cross. An audio broadcast of the game will be available via Bucknell’s Sportsjuice.com page.