Army claims Patriot League Championship with 8-4 win in Game 3

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Army second baseman Zach Price
Army second baseman Zach Price

May 22, 2012

2012 Patriot League Tournament Central | Game 3 Video Highlights

WEST POINT, N.Y. — It took three days and multiple rain delays, but a Patriot League Champion was crowned in baseball.

The top-seeded Army Black Knights won their 41st game of the 2012 season, finishing off second-seeded Holy Cross 8-4 in Game 3 of the Patriot League Championship series Tuesday at Doubleday Field.

It’s the sixth Patriot League title for Army, which will advance to the NCAA Tournament. Regional hosts and sites will be announced at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 27, and the 64-team bracket will be announced live on ESPNU at noon on Monday, May 28.

Army won Game 1 on Sunday 4-0 and Holy Cross took the second game of the doubleheader 7-4 before the Game 3 marathon began on Monday.

After a four-hour rain delay Monday, the two teams managed to play six innings before the rain returned and suspended the game with a 4-4 tie.

Army took over when play resumed on Tuesday, plating four runs in the bottom of the seventh to take an 8-4 lead.

Zach Price, who went 3-for-5 in the game, scored the game-winning run after stealing his Patriot League Tournament record sixth base. He was named the Patriot League Tournament MVP after going 7-for-19 with six runs and an RBI.

Price and Daniel Cortes hit back-to-back one-out singles in the bottom of the seventh, and Holy Cross coach Greg DiCenzo brought in Game 1’s starter Nate Koneski to relieve Donny Murray.

Both Price and Cortes moved up a base on stolen bases, and after Kevin McKague walked, Mark McCants hit a sacrifice fly to give Army the 5-4 lead.

After John Colella was brought in to relieve Koneski, J.T. Watkins hit a three-run home run to break the game open at 8-4.

Army closer Gunnar Carroll pitched the final three innings not allowing a hit to record the win.

Price, McKague and Watkins were all named to the All-Tournament Team, along with Army’s Game 1 starter Logan Lee. Holy Cross’ Mike Ahmed, Jordan Enos and Brandon Cipolla also earns spots on the team, as well as Navy’s Preston Gainey and Ben Nelson, and Lafayette’s Andrew Santomauro and Parker Hills.

Cipolla had a big Game 3 with two hits and two runs scored, and he jump-started Holy Cross to a 4-2 lead.

The Crusaders’ center fielder singled to lead off the third inning, advanced to second on a sacrifice and moved to third on an error on a pick-off attempt. Ahmed lined a 2-2 pitch through the left side for the RBI and the 1-0 lead.

Army responded in the bottom half, scoring in similar fashion. Matthew Carter singled to up the middle and moved to third on a two-base error as starter Tommy Marra tried to pick him off at first. With one out, Price singled in Carter to tie it at 1-1.

McKague followed with an RBI single to center to score Price from second and give Army its first lead at 2-1.

Patrick Puentes tied the game with a solo home run in the fourth, and Holy Cross added single runs in the fifth and sixth to take a 4-2 lead.

Cipolla doubled to center to lead off the fifth and moved to third on a sacrifice. He scored to make it 3-2 on a fielder’s choice by Ahmed who was nearly doubled off as Price got a force out at second and threw a strike to first base, but it wasn’t in time.

Enos singled in the sixth and scored on Steven Tkowski’s RBI single to make it 4-2.

Harold Earls cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom half of the sixth with a RBI single that dropped into left field, scoring McKague, who doubled to start the inning. J.T. Watkins, who was hit by a pitch, stole second and moved to third on Earls’ single. Watkins scored to tie the game on a groundout by Cody Murtle.

Patriot League Tournament MVP
Zach Price, Army, Sr., 2B

Patriot League All-Tournament Team
Logan Lee, Army, Sr., SP
Kevin McKague, Army, Sr., 1B
Zach Price, Army, Sr., 2B
J.T. Watkins, Army, Sr., C
Mike Ahmed, Holy Cross, So., 3B
Brandon Cipolla, Holy Cross, So., CF
Jordan Enos, Holy Cross, Jr., 1B
Parker Hills, Lafayette, Fr., C
Andrew Santomauro, Lafayette, So., CF
Preston Gainey, Navy, So., SP
Ben Nelson, Navy, Jr., SP