March 21, 2012
Box Score (.pdf)
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Gunnar Carroll threw four shutout innings and Alex Jensen went 2-for-4 with a run scored as Army defeated Quinnipiac, 3-0, on Wednesday afternoon in the Black Knights' home opener at Doubleday Field.
Army improves to 11-6 on the season, while Quinnipiac slips to 2-12. The Black Knights have won six of their last eight games.
"It was good to see Gunnar throw the ball well today," said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. "Gunnar works extremely hard, and he reaped some of the benefits of that today. He threw three pitches for strikes and located well throughout his outing.
"Our pitchers threw strikes throughout the game and we played well defensively, which was important," added Sottolano. "I was a little surprised with our offense, though. We work very hard at being consistent with what we do at the plate, and I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow as we prepare for a tough weekend versus Harvard."
Carroll (1-0) allowed just two hits over four scoreless frames to pick up his first win of the season. He struck out one batter and faced just one over the minimum during his outing.
"It felt good to get a start today," said Carroll. "The big focus this week was to get good command of the fastball and keep it down in the zone. I thought I was able to do that pretty well today. We got a lot of groundball outs as a staff."
The sophomore right-hander found a rhythm in the third and fourth innings, retiring the final seven hitters he faced.
"You're always looking to get into a rhythm, and once you get into it, it's easy to work fast," commented Carroll. "You're going to find success as long as you're keeping the ball down and feeding the defense with groundballs."
Five Army pitchers worked the final five frames to finish off the four-hit shutout. Colin Briant pitched the fifth inning, and Taylor Goucher struck out two hitters during a perfect sixth. Alex Robinett then stranded runners on second and third in the seventh inning, before Manny Fernandez fired a perfect eighth. Kevin McKague finished the game, retiring the side in order in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
Jensen collected two of Army's six hits on the day. Daniel Cortes, J.T. Watkins, Mark McCants and McKague each recorded base hits as well.
Army took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning as the Black Knights pushed across one run on two hits. Jensen singled leading off the frame, and he moved to second base on Dakari Cooke's sacrifice bunt. Jensen then took third on Zach Price's sacrifice bunt and scored on Cortes' RBI single.
The Black Knights tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend their advantage to 3-0. Cooke began the uprising with a leadoff walk. He then stole second, moved to third base when Cortes reached on an error and scored on McKague's sacrifice fly. Cortes, who moved to second on an error by the Quinnipiac third baseman, scored on McCants' base hit.
The run support was more than enough for the Army pitching staff, which held Quinnipiac to just four base hits in the contest.
Kevin O'Connell (0-2) took the loss for the Bobcats after yielding one run on three hits and three walks over four innings of work.
Army will return to action on Saturday, March 24, when the Black Knights host a doubleheader versus Harvard. First pitch for the opening game is scheduled for 12 p.m.
Game Notes: Army improves to 4-2-2 all-time versus Quinnipiac ... the Black Knights have won the last three meetings versus the Bobcats ... Army has outscored Quinnipiac 31-3 over the last three meetings, including 15-0 the past two seasons ... Gunnar Carroll made his first career start today ... Kevin McKague now owns 24 career saves, just three shy of Milan Dinga's Academy record (27) ... J.T. Watkins extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a seventh-inning single ... Alex Robinett made his first career relief appearance today ... Gunnar Carroll and Manny Fernandez are tied for the team lead with seven appearances each ... the Black Knights' pitching staff faced just four over the minimum today ... they issued only one walk in the contest.