Junior Logan Keller powered the Navy baseball team to a 10-2 win over Coppin State on Wednesday afternoon at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. With a career-high five RBIs, Keller’s double and triple hitting streak extended to nine games. The Midshipmen picked up their first home victory of the season, improving their record to 3-5, while Coppin State fell to 3-5.
Senior Nick Burch added a two-hit performance, three walks, and two stolen bases. Coppin State’s Josh Hankins tallied three of the Eagles’ four hits.
Navy found its groove in the bottom of the second inning when senior backstop Alex Smith hit a home run over the left-field wall. Sophomore Ivan Aguirre, Burch, and junior Eduardo Diaz all reached base safely later in the inning before Keller cleared the bases with a triple on a ball to the right-center gap, giving the Mids a 4-0 lead.
In the third inning, Coppin State’s Brett Curran walked. Hankins hit a double, setting up Anthony Divittorio for a groundout to Keller, allowing Curran to score the Eagles’ first run. Hankins briefly made it a 4-2 game in the next inning when he singled to plate Mike Dorcean.
Navy responded in the bottom of the third inning with Burch, Diaz, and Keller all on base. Keller grounded out to score Zane Raba, while a single from freshman Brock Murtha brought in Burch, and a fielder’s choice off the bat of senior Colin Smith allowed Diaz to score, capping a three-run inning.
Junior right-hander Nolan Jorgenson kept the Eagles’ batters in check for 2.2 innings before handing the ball off to senior righty Reece Early for 1.1 frames and freshman Jackson Beattie for the ninth, as the last three Navy relievers combined to shut out Coppin State over the final five innings.
Navy added another run in the sixth inning when Burch raced home from first base on a Keller double to the left-center fence. The Mids scored their ninth and 10th runs of the game in the seventh via a Burch single up the middle and a Diaz double down the left-field line.
Sophomore righty Liam Golden won for Navy, going three innings in his first start of the season and limiting CSU to one hit and one run while recording one strikeout. Junior Zach Powers followed in his 2023 debut when he tossed one inning, while Jorgenson surrendered just one hit in his 2.2 innings of work. Early struck out three of his six batters faced over 1.1 innings, and Beattie notched one strikeout and one hit allowed in his one frame to close out the win.
Juan Pablo Hernandez suffered the loss for Coppin State after giving up four runs despite five strikeouts in two innings of work. At the same time, Giovanni Canales posted a team-high three innings in relief, allowing three runs on just one hit. Clay Thompson, Tyler Nichol, and Rashad Ruff all tallied an inning of relief for the Eagles, with Ruff being the lone CSU pitcher not to allow a run.
Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos praised the team’s defense and pitching. “It was kind of a strange game. We really took advantage of some breaks, Logan came up big with five RBIs and that big three-run triple that he had got us going. We were able to hang in there today, and I thought we played good defense again, and that’s always something that you want to start seeing happen at this time of the year after you’ve been through a few games.”
Kostacopoulos also praised the team’s pitching but emphasized minimizing walks. “I thought we did a good job on the mound. It’s good to see Goldie have a good outing, that was a step forward for him. Obviously, Nolan did a good job, Reece did a good job, but we’ve got to be careful about those walks. We walked seven guys today, and we got to be better with that. Overall, they hung in there, and there were no big innings, which was something that really victimized the first weekend.”
The Navy baseball team is now 25-8-1 all-time against Coppin State. The Mids will have their first home series of the season when they host UMass for three games on March 4-5. The first pitch for Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader is set for 1 p.m., while Sunday’s series finale is also scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.
Keller’s performance was the game’s highlight, as he played a crucial role in several key moments that propelled Navy to victory. He is currently on a hot streak, having hit a double in three of his last four games and tallying a multi-hit game in four of the Mids’ eight games.
Burch also had an impressive showing, with three walks, two stolen bases, and a two-hit performance. His three walks are a personal career high and a Navy individual game-high this season, while Wednesday marked his first time swiping multiple bases in a contest.
Navy’s defense and pitching also played a crucial role in the win, with Jorgenson, Early, and Beattie combining to shut out Coppin State over the game’s final five innings. Kostacopoulos praised the team’s defensive efforts, saying, “I thought we played good defense again, and that’s always something that you want to start seeing happen at this time of the year after you’ve been through a few games.”
Overall, Navy’s victory over Coppin State was a strong team effort, with multiple players contributing to the win. The Mids will look to build on their success as they prepare for their upcoming home series against UMass.
The series against UMass will be an essential test for Navy as they look to build momentum heading into the rest of the season. The Mids will hope to continue their solid defensive play and get strong performances from their pitching staff, while also continuing to produce runs at the plate.
The Navy baseball team has a strong tradition of success, having won multiple conference championships and making several appearances in the NCAA tournament in recent years. The team hopes to continue that success this season and make a deep run in the postseason.
With their victory over Coppin State, Navy has shown that they have the talent and depth to compete with some of the best teams in the country. As they prepare for their upcoming series against UMass, the Mids will look to build on that success and continue to improve as a team. If they can continue to play at a high level, there’s no doubt that they will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the rest of the season.