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Opening Day Roundup: Army finds success at the plate in big win over Air Force; Navy losses in extra innings

It may be cold outside but it is still opening weekend - baseball is back!

Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA @chrisparent

All three service academies opened their seasons on Friday and it was Army West Point that showed service academy fans they are the team to beat. While Army and Air Force are playing in a round robin series featuring four teams in Baton Rouge this weekend, Navy is playing a standard three game series in North Carolina against Gardner Webb. Both Army and Air Force will get a chance to compete against this weekend’s hosts, the top-ranked LSU Tigers (literally, the Tigers are ranked first in the Collegiate Baseball poll), but for now, let’s take a look at what happened on opening day.

Army vs. Air Force

Army West Point (1-0) found their bats early in the season with a 17-2 win over academy rival Air Force (0-1) on opening day Friday. The two squads opened on the road as both teams traveled to Baton Rouge to take part in LSU’s Military Appreciation Weekend.

The Patriot League preseason favorites tallied 18 hits in the victory and were led by 1B Anthony Giachin who had five hits on just as many at bats. While Giachin hitting a perfect 1.000 on the day was impressive, he also managed to knock in eight runs (tying a West Point game record) and scored four times himself. The Black Knights also benefited from a solid performance by lead-off hitter and center fielder, Jacob Hurtubise. The 2018 All-Patriot League First Team player finished the day with four hits and five runs, which also matched a game record for the Army baseball program.

While the Falcons only recorded five hits in the loss, they were comprised from five different players. DH Daniel Jones belted a home-run in the second inning and was the only Air Force player to score a run and record an RBI.

Left-hander Tyler Giovinco earned the win for the Black Knights in six innings of work. The starting pitcher gave up just three hits and the Falcons’ two earned runs on the evening. Senior Tyler Mortenson picked up the loss in the contest after giving up five earned runs and walking four in just one inning on the mound.

Navy vs. Gardner Webb

The Navy Midshipmen (0-1) used eight hits in the final three frames to eventually take a one-run lead into the bottom of the tenth inning, but ultimately fell short after Mitch McLendon produced a walk-off single for the Gardner Webb Bulldogs (1-0) to earn the 3-2 season opening win.

Navy was led on the mound by Noah Song who recorded twelve strikeouts in 5.2 innings. The Patriot League Preseason Pitcher of the Year gave up zero earned runs and only three hits in his no-decision performance.

RF Liam Lowery earned both RBIs for the Midshipmen in the loss.

For the remainder of opening weekend:

Army

at #1 LSU on Saturday, February 16 at 3:00 (ET). This game will be available on the ESPN App.

vs. UL-Monroe on Sunday, February 17 at 12:00 (ET).

Air Force

vs. UL-Monroe on Saturday, February 16 at 7:00 (ET)

at #1 LSU on Sunday, February 17 at 4:00 (ET). This game will be available on the ESPN App.

Navy

at Gardner-Webb on Saturday, February 16 at 2:00 (ET)

at Gardner-Webb on Sunday, February 17 at 1:00 (ET)