Baseball beats Holy Cross twice to reach Patriot League championship

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy baseball team (28-21) hit the offensive early and backed by strong starting pitching in a pair of wins Sunday afternoon, making the comeback in the semifinals against Holy Cross (26-27) to advance to the Patriot League Championship Series . next weekend.

The Midshipmen earned a 7-3 victory in game two to extend their season after dropping the opening game of Saturday’s semi-final, and kept the pressure on to win the decisive third game 6-2 as the evening arrived at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop. Stadium.

With junior closer Landon Kruer Both times the Mids slammed the door on the Crusaders, getting three RBI games from the freshman Andreas Manning in Sunday’s first game and then from second grade onwards Victor Izquierdo in the nightcap.

Summary of game one

For the second day in a row, Navy scored a five-spot in the first inning as the senior’s leadoff double Hudson Lehnertz was followed by a fellow senior Eduardo Diaz bringing him home for the first point of the match. The Mids then loaded the bases for Manning, who crushed an opposite-field triple to clear the bases and then scored himself on senior Logan Kellers sacrifice fly to make it 5-0.

Holy Cross struck back in the second inning on John LaFleur’s RBI groundout after Gianni Royer hit a double to start the frame, but that turned out to be the Crusaders’ only run off the second-year Navy. Brady Bendik in the first eight innings, while Bendik allowed only four batters above the minimum in the next six frames. Navy continued to extend the lead in the third when a pair of two-out singles by seniors Anthony Fiallo And Zane Raba each drove in a runner to extend the lead to 7-1.

With Navy threatening again in the seventh and eighth, the Holy Cross bullpen kept the Mids off the board to send this one into the ninth, where the Crusaders finally chased down Bendik, scoring two runs on a bases-loaded walk. Kruer then came in and struck out Jack Toomey for the one-out save and forced a decisive game three.

Bendik finished with three runs allowed on five hits and struck out five in his career-high eight-plus inning to earn the win, while fellow freshman Timmy Virtues got the side out in the ninth before Kruer came in relief. Danny Macchiarola, who suffered the loss, lasted six innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits before Nick Fletcher replaced him for 1.1 innings and Augie Walters got the last two outs for Holy Cross.

Summary of game two

With both senior Navy captains Matthew Shirah and Holy Cross’ Jaden Wywoda started early, the Crusaders threatened in the third inning when Connor Cooney singled to take the lead and take second on a sacrifice bunt, but Shirah responded with two punchouts.

The Mids picked up Shirah with three runs in the bottom of the inning as the rookie’s leadoff single Jack Killelea and a one-out Raba double put two up for Lehnertz, who laid down a safety squeeze to drive into Killelea for the opening point. A single by Diaz then drove in Raba and Izquierdo’s single later in the frame set up Diaz to make it 3-0, while both starters got timely fielder choices to avoid damage in the fourth.

After Holy Cross scored a run in the fifth on a single by Van Coughlin, Navy responded with two more runs in the bottom of the inning as Diaz and sophomore Brock Murtha both reached base safely and connected for Izquierdo’s two-run double into the left-center gap, making it 5-1.

The Crusaders got their other run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Coughlin to score Jimmy King, but Kruer came on again for one run in relief in the top of the eighth to retire the side, and the Mids answered back in the bottom of the eighth when Manning and eldest Logan Keller started the frame with back-to-back doubles to increase the lead to 6-2.

Kruer induced a groundout before allowing a King double in the ninth, then struck out Cooney and Coughlin to pick his second save of the day and send Navy back to the championship round of the competition.

Shirah finished his day with one run allowed on hits over five innings to claim the winning decision while a freshman Ryan Bibb And Evan Foster both pitched a frame each to bridge the gap to Kruer, who struck out four in his two-inning save. For Holy Cross, Wywoda was handed the loss after allowing five runs on 11 hits over four innings, while Nick Harnisch gave up one run in 3.2 frames of relief and Payton Sutman notched the finale of the Crusaders campaign.

Coach Chuck Ristano Comments

“Both Matthew and Brady have shown up as the season has gone on. Matthew put in the kind of effort we knew we were going to get from a senior who was essentially pitching to continue his career and that’s why he’s getting the ball in that matches.” For a guy like Brady, who is mature and beyond his years, we have come to expect that kind of performance from him. It was critical that those guys went deep into the game and that they were able to do that.”

“Kruer is someone who just wants baseball and when you have guys like that, you like to give them the ball because you get everything they have. I didn’t want to have to go to him in the second game, but he went went there and did what a really good reliever does and closed it out because we had to win. When we knew we could get to the eighth inning of game three by putting it together, there was no one else we wanted to put the ball in and he rewarded us for it.”

“It feels good to get a zero in the first round and then put up a wrong number, but you know that the game is long and that in a setting like this you are going to get the best of the opponent. We didn’t want that .” to stay complacent today and keep scoring points, which we did. We found ways this year to win every type of game you could win, and that’s a testament to the determination and maturity of this two-strike team, the kind of contact, the way our hitters dug in and refused to strike out or making a lazy catch – that’s another testament to this group’s determination. When you lose that first game, you know you have to bring it for 18 innings, and that’s a statement about who we are fundamentally.”

Game notes

• Navy is now 93-55 in the all-time series with Holy Cross, while the Mids have now gone 9-6 against the Crusaders in the Patriot League Tournament to claim the last three postseason series against them.
• Navy now has a 35-41 all-time record in Patriot League tournaments and has reached the league finals in 15 of its 24 postseason berths.
• Kruer’s 25 career saves are now the third-most in Patriot League history.
• Murtha extended his on-base streak to 13 straight games and has two hits in each of his last four games.
• Navy has recorded multiple extra-base hits in each of its last four games.

Next one

Navy will now await Monday’s results from the Bucknell-Army semifinals to determine its opponent in the best-of-three Patriot League Championship Series on May 19-21. If Bucknell wins one game on Monday, the Mids will host the Bison in Annapolis, while a pair of wins for the Black Knights will send Navy to West Point next weekend.