Feb. 23, 2002
MILLINGTON, Tenn. - The Navy baseball team advanced to the championship game of the Service Academy Spring Classic with an 11-7 win over Memphis Saturday evening at USA Stadium. The Mids have posted a 2-1 record in the tournament and will face Villanova, who Navy defeated 6-5 in the first game, Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. for the championship.
"The guys played really well today," Navy head coach Steve Whitmyer said. "Brian Pennell (Sr./Saratoga, N.Y.) threw a great game for us, and we hit the ball well."
Navy (3-6) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings, highlighted by run-scoring doubles by Jake Miller (Jr./Santa Maria, Calif.), Matt Lukevics (Fr./Tampa, Fla.) and Neil Brubeck (Sr./Bryan, Texas).
In the top of the fourth inning, Memphis pushed across two runs on three hits off Pennell, but the Mids responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning. John Cocca (Sr./Whitehall, Pa.) scored from third on Brian Whitten's (Sr./Westfield, Mass.) sacrifice fly to center field and David Woolsey (Sr./Columbia, S.C.) crossed home on Dean Farmer's (So./Knoxville, Tenn.) fielder's choice.
Navy took advantage of two Memphis errors to score four more runs in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Mids a 10-3 lead. Matt Foster's (Jr./Ventura, Calif.) triple to center field scored Craig Candeto (So./Orange City, Fla.), while Foster scored as Cocca reached base on an error by Memphis second baseman Michael Lewis. Woolsey's RBI-double plated Cocca and Woolsey scored from second as Miller reached base on shortstop Brent Dlugach's error.
Navy added another run in the bottom of the seventh on Farmer's sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Candeto who tripled off Memphis relief pitcher Matt Fry.
Memphis (2-2) made it interesting in the top of the eighth, scoring four runs off Navy reliever Bryan Koehler (Sr./Lutz, Fla.). Ryan Naquin (Jr./Sweeny, Texas) replaced Koehler in the top of the ninth to shut the door on the Tigers' comeback attempt.
Pennell struck out six batters and walked three in six innings of work, giving up three runs on six hits to improve to 1-1. Memphis starter Nick Steht dropped 0-1, striking out one and walking one in three innings
Offensively, Navy was led by Candeto, who went 3-for-4 and scored two runs, while Brubeck and Foster added 2-for-5 performances at the plate. Cocca stole three bases and scored two runs.
Air Force will play Memphis in the consolation game at 11 a.m.