Navy cruises past Rattlers in weekend sweep

Poet Robert Hayden once wrote a testament to the “blueblack cold” of winter Sundays. The same chilly feeling could be applied to Moore-Kittles Field Saturday. The Rattlers’ (1-6) scheduled doubleheader with the Navy Midshipmen (4-0-1) was postponed due to rain. The Midshipmen defeated the Rattlers 7-2 Saturday.

Saturday’s match-up marked the first time the two programs have met on a baseball field. The orange and green began play four hours later than the scheduled noon start. While the weather was cold throughout the contest, the same may be said of the Rattler offense. Rattler head coach Joe Durant said that the team did not capitalize on their opportunities at the plate.

“We had our chances early. We have to get runners on early and drive them in,” Durant said.

After the contest, Durant also urged his players to remain patient in the batter’s box. The team had only two walks in the contest.

“We had 16 strikeouts. We were taking strikes and swinging at balls,” he said. Sophomore pitcher Mitch Harris was responsible for nine of the 16 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings on the mound.

The game remained scoreless until the top of the third inning. Sophomore Renaldo Hollins and senior Jonathan Johnston ignited the offense with consecutive RBI singles for the men from Maryland. Sophomore Thomas Hamilton produced a run on a fielder’s choice.

At the bottom of the third, the score was now 3-0. Senior Kevin Clethan tried to warm things up for the Rattlers in the fifth inning. Clethan’s shot to center drove in sophomore David James, the score was now 3-1. A double by senior Jared Munde and single by Johnston pushed the lead to 5-1 in the seventh.

The Midshipmen added two more runs in the ninth. Senior Ryan McGinn scored on a wild pitch and Johnston knocked in his third RBI of the day. Junior Brice McKinley scored the game’s final run on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Elvin Millan.

Millan and Clethan drove in one run each. Clethan and junior Stanley Gnat each had two hits. Durant said that the offense struggled with run production.

“We’re not a powerhouse team. We have to manufacture runs,” Durant said.

Sophomore Corey McFadden said the team would approach the doubleheader with confidence and unity.

“We just got to come out with a positive attitude. We need to come together as a team early and get the hits going early,” McFadden said.

The Midshipmen defeated the Rattlers in both games Sunday afternoon, sweeping the weekend series 3-0. The men from Maryland wonthe first game 7-3 and the second game 4-3 Sunday. Each game was shortened to seven innings, rather than the traditional nine.

The Rattlers travel to Miami this Saturday to take on Florida International University. The team will be on the road for the remainder of the month.

The orange and green return to Moore-Kittles Field on Saturday, March 4. They will face Lipscomb University in the weekend series.

Contact John W. Marsh at