Baseball: Navy sweeps UMES

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Sophomore Mitch Harris (Mt. Holly, N.C.) won his sixth-straight start of 2006 and drove in six runs during the doubleheader as Navy swept UMES, 14-0 and 11-3, in baseball action on Saturday afternoon at Hawks Stadium. With the wins, the Midshipmen improved to 12-5-1, matching their win total from the 2005 season. The Hawks fell to 3-13-1 with the losses.

The 25 runs scored in Saturday's doubleheader marked the highest scoring output by the Midshipmen since a 26-run performance in two games against Lafayette on April 29, 2000.

"Overall, we played pretty well today," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "Whether it was the hitting, defense, pitching or base-running, they all did a good job. We consistently played well for all 16 innings."

Harris became the first pitcher since Mike Coonan in 1989 to win his first-six starts to a season. The sophomore used only 77 pitches to tie his career highs with 11 strikeouts in seven innings pitched, while holding the hosts to no runs on two hits. Harris struck out at least one batter in each of his seven innings, including striking out the side in the sixth inning. The 11 strikeouts marked the third time that Harris has struck out 10-plus batters in a game this season.

In addition to his efforts on the mound, Harris helped his cause in game one, going 3-for-6 with a double and a career-high five RBIs. Harris became the first Midshipman to knock in five runs since Jared Munde's five-RBI performance against Temple on March 30, 2004. Harris followed with a 1-for-3 effort at the plate in the nightcap with a run batted in.

"Mitch (Harris) did it all today," commented Kostacopoulos. "Looking at his hitting and pitching stats, it's easy to see he is a difference maker."

In game one of the doubleheader, Navy scored in five of the first-six innings to establish a 13-0 lead. The Mids tacked on one more run in the ninth to augment their lead to the eventual final score of 14-0.

The 14-run difference in the opener marked the largest margin of victory since a 24-2 win over Hartford on March 22, 2003. The 14 runs also were a season-best for the Mids and the highest since a 17-8 victory over Savannah State on Feb. 19, 2005, while Navy's pitching staff registered its first shutout since an 11-0 win against Bucknell on April 3, 2005.

Ten Midshipmen picked up a hit, six of whom recorded multi-hit efforts, to account for Navy's 20 hits in the opener. Senior Ryan McGinn (Arvada, Colo.) went 4-for-5 and tied his career-high of three runs batted in, while Harris and sophomore Thomas Hamilton (Houston, Texas) each had three hits. Hamilton also knocked in a career-high three runs on Saturday. Senior Jared Munde (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.), freshman Jack Ferrick (Stafford, Va.) and Dominic Lopez (Quincy, Mich.) notched two hits apiece. Munde scored three runs to tie his career high, while Lopez also crossed the plate a career-best three times.

Sophomores Mark Guadagnini (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Mark Foris (Maspeth, N.Y.) each tossed a scoreless inning of relief to preserve the shutout.

In the back-end of the doubleheader, Navy struck first with a three-run first inning. UMES scored its first run of the day in the bottom half of the inning, but the Mids responded with eight-unanswered runs to build an 11-1 lead after four and a half innings.

Senior catcher Jonathan Johnston (Hamilton Township, N.J.) went 2-for-4 with a double, scored three runs and drove in three Mids to lead Navy's offense in game two. Johnston swiped a pair of bases in each contest on Saturday to push his season total to 15, eight of which have come in the last-four games. The senior has stolen two-plus bases in a game five times during the 2006 campaign.

After delivering a double in the opener, sophomore Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.) registered two singles in the nightcap to push his hitting streak to 11 games. Hollins became the second Midshipman to string together a 10-plus game hitting streak this season. Munde recorded a hit in 10-striaght contests between Feb. 5 and Feb. 26.

Hamilton and Lopez each posted their second multi-hit game of the afternoon in game two. Hamilton drove in three runs with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, while Lopez also went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Sophomore Mark McCoy (Parkland, Fla.) improved to 3-1 on the year with his six-inning effort in game two. McCoy scattered six hits and three runs, only one of which was earned, with no walks and eight strikeouts. Junior James Lee (Asheville, N.C.) fanned two Hawks in a scoreless seventh inning for the Mids.

"Mark (McCoy) pitched really well with the situation that was presented to him," Kostacopoulos stated. "Our relievers (Mark Guadagnini, Mark Foris and James Lee) came in and did a solid job. These guys have not gotten that much work this year, but today's performances helps to build their confidence for the next time they make an appearance."

Navy looks to record its second road sweep of the year with a 12 noon first pitch on Sunday. On Feb. 11-12, the Midshipmen swept a three-game set in Tallahassee, Fla., against Florida A&M.

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
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Navy................ 302 233 001 - 14 20  1
UMES................ 000 000 000 -  0  3  1
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Score by Innings                  R  H  E
-----------------------------------------
Navy................ 330 140 0 - 11 14  1
UMES................ 100 020 0 -  3  7  0
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