Army Baseball goes back-to-back to claim title over Navy

By Kat Castner Army Athletic Communications

 For the second-straight season, the Army West Point Baseball team was crowned Patriot League champions after defeating rival Navy, 4-3, Sunday afternoon in Annapolis, Md.                             Courtesy Photo
 Junior centerfielder Jacob Hurtubise was tabbed the Patriot League tournament MVP after going 12-for-23 for a .522 average with three RBI, eight runs and five walks over the two weekends.                 Photo by Eric S. Bartelt/PV

For the second-straight season, the Army West Point Baseball team was crowned Patriot League champions after defeating rival Navy, 4-3, Sunday afternoon in Annapolis, Maryland.
The Black Knights and Midshipmen met for the second consecutive year in the Patriot League championship series and Army again came out on top to earn back-to-back titles.
This was the third time in program history the Cadets achieved that feat, as they also did so in 2004-05 and 2012-13.
Army increased its league-leading title count to nine with the win.
Sunday’s contest was a back-and-forth affair as both teams took turns holding the lead. The Black Knights ultimately finished things off in the top of the ninth when junior first baseman Jeremiah Adams singled to left field to score sophomore third baseman Anthony Giachin from third.
Senior pitcher Cam Opp then closed the door on the Mids in the bottom half to earn his fifth win of the year. Ironically, Opp was also the man to put the final stamp on Army’s 2018 Patriot League title as he recorded the save a year ago.
The Black Knights continue their season in the NCAA tournament on May 31-June 2. Army has to wait until the NCAA Selection Show on Monday to find out which regional it will be going to.
The show will be broadcast live on ESPNU at noon.

Army highlights and game notes
• Junior centerfielder Jacob Hurtubise, senior pitcher Daniel Burggraaf, senior pitcher Tyler Giovinco and Giachin were all named to the 2019 Patriot League All-Tournament Team.
• Hurtubise was tabbed the tournament MVP after going 12-for-23 for a .522 average with three RBI, eight runs and five walks over the two weekends. The junior only struck out twice in the six games and finished with 3-of-4 stolen bases.
• Hurtubise reached base all five times he came up to the plate on Sunday after earning three walks and two singles.
• Giachin drilled Army’s only extra base hit in the contest (a double) and it was a big one as it came in the top of the ninth to get a runner into scoring position with no outs.
• Hurtubise touched home plate a game-high two times, while senior shortstop Josh White, Giachin, sophomore leftfielder Andre Walden and Adams each posted a run batted in.
• Burggraaf earned the starting nod on the hill, allowing just three hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks in 6.0 innings.
• Opp closed out the final three innings, giving up three hits and one run.
• The two pitchers combined to strike out seven batters, while Navy’s four-man staff compiled six.

How it happened
• Army plated a run early in the first after Giachin knocked home Hurtubise from second. Hurtubise led off the frame with a walk before stealing second to get himself into scoring position. The Mids registered the first out of the inning but Giachin followed that up with a single through the right side for his 67th RBI of the year.
• The Mids tied things up in the fourth when they converted on a sacrifice fly for an unearned run. Navy started the frame reaching on a strikeout-wild pitch to put a runner on first. During the ensuing at bat, the Black Knights were tagged with a two-base throwing error to put runners on the corners with no outs. A Liam Lowery sacrifice fly then brought home the tying score.
• Navy jumped in front in the fifth after cashing in on a one-out triple thanks to a single through the left side. Evan Lowery drilled a shot to left center to place a runner 90 feet away with just one out. Burggraaf recorded the second out of the frame but Zach Biggers found a gap in the infield to bring home the go-ahead run.
• The Black Knights knotted the score in the sixth when Walden converted on a sacrifice fly to bring home Hurtubise from third. Army placed runners on first and second to leadoff the frame after a single and hit-by-pitch by Hurtubise and White, respectively. The Mids then recorded the first out of the inning, but the two runners advanced up a base during the ensuing at bat thanks to a wild pitch. Walden then brought home the Cadets’ second run of the game following a sacrifice fly to right field.
• Army jumped back on top in the seventh when White brought home freshman pinch runner Carter Macias from second. Sophomore catcher Blake Ledoux started the frame singling to the shortstop before a sacrifice bunt shifted him to second. After an intentional walk put Hurtubise on first, Army made a change and substituted Macias for Ledoux for a little speed on the base paths. That plan worked out as White then singled to left field to score Macias and hand the Black Knights a 3-2 edge.
• The Mids would not go away as they registered the game-tying run in the bottom of the eighth following a one-out home run by Biggers.
• Army answered in the top of the ninth when Giachin led off the frame with a double to left field. After a sacrifice bunt by Walden shifted him to third Adams singled to left field to score the go-ahead run.
• Opp then finished out the bottom of the ninth to secure Army’s nine Patriot League crown.

Facts & figures
• Army compiled four runs on eight hits, while Navy tallied three runs on six hits.
• The Cadets were credited with the only error in the game and it came during the fourth inning.
• The Black Knights stranded 12 runners on base. Navy left eight.