ANNAPOLIS, MD. – For the second-straight season the Army West Point baseball team was crowned Patriot League champions after defeating rival Navy, 4-3, Sunday afternoon.
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 2012 & 2013 and 2004 & 2005.
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 Jeremiah Adams singled to left field to score Anthony Giachin from third.
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 as well.
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, May 27th, to find out which regional it will be going to. The show will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 12 p.m.
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 pinch runner Carter Macias from second. 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.