Harris scattered three hits and one run over his 125-pitch performance to improve to 3-0 this year on Friday. His eight strikeouts pushed his career total to 159, tying him for 10th on the all-time list with David Lowe (1988-90). Harris allowed his first earned run of the season in the fourth inning, snapping a consecutive streak of 27.0 innings without an earned run, spanning back to the 2006 season. The right-hander has allowed only one earned run or less during each of his last-eight starts. "Mitch struggled a little bit early, but really battled through it," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "He was able to settle in and locate better later on. Once again, he did the job on the mound for us."
Navy jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Harris, who led off the inning with a single, came home to score on freshman Mike Hoosier's (Pomona, N.Y.) double to left field.
Air Force knotted the score at one in the fourth, but the Midshipmen answered with six unanswered runs. Navy took the lead back in the bottom of the fifth with three runs, capped by freshman Steven Soares's (Coral Springs, Fla.) RBI-single through the left side. The Mids extended the lead to 6-1 in the seventh when freshman Jonathan Berkowitz (Parkland, Fla.) laced a triple down the right-field line to score junior Thomas Hamilton (Houston, Texas) and Harris. Junior Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.) doubled in the eighth and came home to score on a wild pitch to give Navy a 7-1 advantage.
Hamilton, Harris and Berkowitz combined to go 6-for-12 out of the 3-4-5 slots in the order on Friday. Hamilton went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, Harris delivered a 3-for-4 performance with a pair of runs scored and Berkowitz finished 1-for-3 with three RBIs.
"Our middle part of the lineup did what it needed to do," said Kostacopoulos. "Thomas made some good adjustments in going up the middle. Jonathan had the big hit in the seventh to break open the game."
Navy and Air Force will travel down to Memphis's Nat Buring Stadium to complete the split doubleheader today at 5 p.m. EST.