The Army Black Knights claimed victory over the Navy Midshipmen with an 11-4 win on Saturday, April 22, 2023, in the Patriot League series opener at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. The match was originally scheduled as a doubleheader, but the second game was postponed due to bad weather. The Midshipmen and Black Knights will now play a doubleheader on Sunday, April 23, 2023. The winner of the three-game set will earn the baseball star as part of the 2022-23 Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA.

Army dominated the game, producing six home runs, and was too much for the Midshipmen. Navy’s Nick Burch and Kyle Rausch managed to score home runs, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with Army’s power hitters, with Ross Friedrick hitting twice in a three-hit contest while Derek Berg and Ethan Ellis also homered on a windy day in Annapolis.

Army started strong by opening the scoring right away off Navy starter Nate Mitchell, with a pair of singles putting two on base for Friedrick in the first inning, and the Black Knights’ cleanup hitter sending a line drive over the centerfield fence, putting the visitors in front, 3-0. Navy’s Burch answered right back to lead off the bottom of the first, hitting the third pitch he saw from Army starter Tanner Gresham just inside the left-field foul pole and putting Navy on the board. Gresham bounced back by leaving two stranded in the inning.

Navy made it 3-2 in the second inning when Brock Murtha went first to third off a Henry Mitchell single and came home in the next at-bat on a Zane Raba fielder’s choice, but Friedrick responded in the top of the third by blasting a solo shot out to straight center again.

Addison Ainsworth kicked off a big fifth inning for Army when he singled home Kevin Debrule, as Ellis followed right after with a full-count, three-run homer off the scoreboard that extended the lead to 8-2. An Alex Smith single with two gone in the bottom of the fifth set up Rausch for Navy’s second longball of the afternoon and Rausch’s team-leading fourth homer of the season, as the shot to deep left cut the deficit to 8-4.

Army answered back once again on Berg’s solo homer to center in the top of the sixth off reliever Nolan Jorgenson, extending the lead further to 11-4 in the seventh inning on an RBI triple by Chris Barr and an RBI single from Sam Ruta. Navy threatened in the bottom of the seventh when pinch-hitter Brian Furey walked and Eduardo Diaz singled to put two on with one out, but Black Knights reliever Robbie Buecker induced an infield fly and fielder’s choice to seal the Army victory.

Gresham claimed his fifth win of the season by going six innings and allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out seven, while Buecker surrendered just the one hit and one walk in his inning out of the bullpen. For Nate Mitchell, he suffered the loss after giving up eight runs in five innings but held the Black Knights to no walks and registered two strikeouts, while Jorgenson ended up allowing three runs (one earned) in his two frames of relief.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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