Strong Pitching Carries Army Past NYIT, 7-2

Connor Love

Connor Love

May 1, 2013

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WEST POINT, N.Y. - Brian Hapeman pitched five scoreless innings of relief, and Connor Love went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored as the Army baseball team defeated NYIT, 7-2, in non-league action Wednesday afternoon at Doubleday Field.

Army (22-21) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings and never looked back. Harold Earls finished 3-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored, while Jacob Page went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Jon Crucitti also collected a pair of hits and scored twice. The Black Knights rapped out 11 hits in the contest.

Hapeman (2-1) struck out two batters, allowed just four hits and did not walk a batter en route to his first career save. Army starter Gunnar Carroll (3-4) was nearly as good, retiring the first 10 batters he faced and striking out five over four innings of work. He allowed two runs on three hits and did not issue a walk.

"Gunnar came out throwing the ball well, and Brian located really well and threw two or three pitches for strikes," said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. "I thought our defense played very well today, and that was big. We made some key plays and made them look easy. Pitching and defense win championships, and we had both today. Offensively, we did some good things and we were able to manufacture enough runs."

Army took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Page's RBI single. The Black Knights loaded the bases with one out and Page came through with a base hit through the left side of the infield to drive in Earls, who had singled earlier in the frame.

Army padded its advantage in the bottom of the second, scoring four runs on four hits to establish a 5-0 cushion. Love singled to begin the uprising, Justin Reece walked and Crucitti reached on a bunt single to load the bases for Earls, who drove in Love with an infield hit. Reece scored the second run of the inning when Alex Jensen bounced into a double play and Page's second RBI single of the game delivered Crucitti. The fourth run was scored when Page was picked off first base, but stayed in the rundown long enough to allow Mescher, who had walked in front of Page, to score from third.

NYIT (7-36) struck for a pair of runs on three hits in the top of the fourth inning to trim Army's lead to 5-2. Dan Lackner and Nick Dellasperanza hit consecutive RBI singles, but Carroll struck out Alex Angus and got Christopher Rula to fly out to center field to end the rally and strand runners on second and third.

Army added single runs in the fourth and eighth innings to account for the final margin. Crucitti walked leading off the fourth, moved around to third base on a pair of wild pitches and scored on Jensen's sacrifice fly. Love doubled down the right field line to begin the eighth, advanced to third on a throwing error by the NYIT catcher and scored when Crucitti grounded into a double play.

Hapeman, who retired the final seven batters he faced, caught Rula looking at strike three to end the game.

Lackner and Dellasperanza both went 1-for-4 with an RBI to pace NYIT's seven-hit attack. The Bears' starting pitcher Michael Auriemmo (0-5) was touched for six runs on seven hits and six walks in four innings.

Army continues its eight-game homestand on Thursday, May 2, when the Black Knights host Hartford at 3:30 p.m.

Game Notes: Army improves to 14-17-1 all-time versus NYIT ... the Black Knights went 3-0 against the Bears this season ... Connor Love recorded career highs with three hits and two runs scored ... Brian Hapeman established career bests with five innings pitched and two strikeouts ... Harold Earls matched his season high with three hits.

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