Air Force Falls Sunday to Navy at Freedom Classic, 7-4

Feb. 26, 2012

Box Score

KINSTON, N.C. - Air Force baseball fell to Navy in dramatic fashion, 7-4, Sunday afternoon at the Freedom Classic at Grainger Stadium. The Midshipmen (4-3) scored four runs with two outs in the ninth inning to rally past the Falcons, who fell to 3-4 on the season.

Air Force trailed 3-0 early on, but put up a furious rally of their own with a four-run seventh inning to take the lead.

The Falcons seemingly had the game locked up, as closer Alex Baker retired the first two batters in the ninth and had the third batter facing two strikes. But Navy's Brandon Beans drew a full count walk to start the rally. A key fielding error extended the inning on the following batter. After a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, cleanup hitter Chance Jones hit a two-RBI single through the left side to put Navy back ahead at 5-4. Kash Manzelli followed with another two-RBI single to make it 7-4.

The Falcons struggled to hit Navy starting pitcher Zach Sipe early on, as Sipe held the Falcons to just one base hit over 6.1 innings. Sipe was charged with one unearned run, while striking out five and walking six.

Air Force chased Sipe in the seventh and got to Navy's bullpen. That's where the Falcons did their damage, capitalizing on a Midshipmen error by rallying with four runs in the inning to take the lead. With the bases loaded, Garrett Custons singled to score Casey Gibson for the first run. Alex Bast was then hit by a pitch to drive in Blair Roberts. Noah Pierce later singled to center to score pinch-runner David Baska and Custons to give the Falcons the 4-3 lead.

Navy scored three runs in the second to take a 3-0 lead. After allowing the three runs, Air Force starting pitcher Evan Abrecht settled down to pitch five consecutive scoreless innings. For the day, Abrecht pitched seven innings, scattering five hits, while striking out seven.

Baker (1-1) was tagged with the loss for the Falcons. Ben Bertelson and Jack Hourin also pitched in relief for the Falcons, not allowing any runs.

Navy reliever Anthony Parenti (1-0) earned the win in relief.

The Falcons had five hits on the day, while the Midshipmen had seven.

Air Force returns to action Friday, March 2 at Gardner Webb.