Navy baseball season ended by Army - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Navy baseball season ended by Army

Navy's baseball season came to an emotional conclusion on Saturday with a doubleheader loss to rival Army in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament.

A four-run eighth inning did in the Mids in the second game as the Black Knights broke a tie with a two-out rally for a series clinching 7-3 win.

Coupled with a 4-2 victory in Game 1, the third-seeded Black Knights advanced to next week's league championship against the winner of the other semifinal between top-seeded Holy Cross and fourth-seeded Bucknell.

Afterward, Navy players milled about, exchanging embraces with teammates, some of whom played their final collegiate game.

When asked what he'll miss most about Navy baseball, senior designated hitter Craig Veech barely managed a reply. "The boys,'' he said. "The boys.''

In Game 2, Navy, batting first, forged a 3-3 tie thanks to a clutch, two-out RBI double by senior catcher Dave Milanes in the top of the eighth.

Navy starter Anthony Parenti (3-4) retired the first two batters in the bottom of the inning, but the next five Army batters recorded hits, including a two-run single by junior first baseman Patrick Mescher that broke the tie. Three more runs crossed in the inning against ace reliever Joel Rinehart.

It was the sort of rally that was few and far between this season for the second-seeded Mids (28-23), who had 10 hits in the game but stranded 11 baserunners.

"It was frustrating; we had some ups and downs with our hitting all around today,'' said Veech, who went 2 for 3 in the second game, including an RBI double in the fourth inning. "Other than that, we played really strong today. It was just Army's turn.''

In Game 1, Army (27-21) rode the strong pitching of senior right-hander Chris Rowley (8-3), who pitched a complete-game five-hitter. Rowley, a two-time First Team All-Patriot League selection, threw 124 pitches, walked one, struck out five, and benefited from two double plays.

Navy coach Paul Kostacopoulos tipped his cap to Rowley for the Game 1 effort, but lamented the Mids inability to come up with the key hit in Game 2.

"In particular, the second game, we had some opportunities,'' Kostacopoulos said. "We had 10 hits and we didn't get them around the bases. We just didn't get the clutch hits when we needed them.''

In Game 1, sophomore Stephen Moore (4-3) took the loss, allowing four runs in 5⅔ innings. Milanes had two hits, including an RBI.

In the second game, senior Greg Dupell went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. Third baseman Chris Campbell also had two hits.

"It's always bitter — unless you win the national championship, you're gonna have a tough one at the end,'' Kostacopoulos said.

"It never makes it easy on these guys; they put so much time into playing, and the commitment that it takes to be an athlete here at Navy is really something special, and I think when it all ends, it's really a tough moment for them.''

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