As we all know, baseball has a long season so don’t read too deep into the first week.
We did see Paul Skenes hit dingers, Navy pick up an opening weekend sweep, and Army pitch a shutout in its season opener as Jim Foster raked in his 400th career win though.
The grind of the baseball season is just starting.
Iowa 12, Air Force 2
Navy 10, UMBC 9
Army 8, Richmond 0
Navy 11, UMBC 10 (12)
Air Force 9, Ball State 0
Air Force 4, Army 3
Ball State 10, Army 6
Richmond 2, Air Force 0
Coppin State 15, Navy 9
Army vs No.5 Vanderbilt – 5:30 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Navy vs Air Force (Kinston, NC) – 6 p.m.
Navy vs Air Force (Kinston, NC) – 2 p.m.
Army vs No.5 Vanderbilt – 3 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Navy vs Air Force (Kinston, NC) – 12:30 p.m.
Army vs No.5 Vanderbilt – 2 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Air Force vs Campbell – 2 p.m. (ESPN+)
Navy vs George Mason – 2:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
The Falcons’ pitching staff was on their A-game this weekend and Paul Skenes was hitting bombs, but it only accounted for a 2-2 start.
Skenes opened the weekend with a solo home run against Iowa, but the pitching staff had its worst nine innings of the weekend, dropping the opener to Big Ten squad, Iowa, by a score of 12-2. As well as hitting, Skenes started on the mound, pitching 3.1 innings and giving up four earned runs.
@PaulSkenes_15 (23) for @AF_Baseball @AF_Falcons sends that ball for a ride! HR in their game against Iowa in the Swig & Swine College Classic. We’ve got it covered live & on-demand all wknd at @TheShipyardPark pic.twitter.com/tPmIyuTaWl— HiCast Sports (@HiCastSports) February 18, 2022
“As something I heard from a guy named Ted Lasso, there are two buttons that I never like to hit,” Air Force head coach Mike Kazlausky said postgame, “That is panic and snooze.”
On Saturday, the Falcons did neither. They beat Ball State in the opener by a score of 9-0 then followed with a win against rival Army, 4-3.
In the opener, Skenes hit yet another home run as Seungmin Shim went six innings strong of two-hit, no-run baseball. A Chase Spencer grand slam in the sixth inning of the endcap against Army ended up being the difference-maker in that one. On the mound, Rob Martin pitched four innings of one-hit ball.
Chase Spencer’s grand slam to RF with 2 outs in the top of the 6th has giving @AF_Baseball a 4-1 lead over @ArmyWP_Baseball at the @TheShipyardPark Swing & Swine College Classic. pic.twitter.com/cD9crn9PRC— Tony Ciuffo (@TonyCiuffo) February 20, 2022
In the finale against Richmond, Air Force gave up only one earned run but lost, 2-0. The Falcons finished with three hits.
Air Force will play Navy in Kinston, North Carolina in the Freedom Classic before heading to Campbell for one game on Monday.
The Midshipmen saw their fair share of runs over the week, sweeping UMBC and dropping its midweek game to Coppin State.
In two games against the Retrievers, 30 runs were scored. Navy won both in thrilling fashion.
Trailing by one run with two outs in the ninth on Friday, the Midshipmen rallied off three hits including a walk-off two-run single by Hudson Lehnertz to cap a 10-9 season-opening victory.
On Saturday, there were four lead changes but in the bottom of the 12th, Joe Simourian forced a bases-loaded walk to walk it off the Midshipmen.
The late-game heroics would not continue Wednesday, as Navy dropped its midweek contest to Coppin State by a score of 15-9.
“I think it was kind of the same movie,” said Navy head coach Paul Kostopoulos. “We walked seven and hit three, they had two grand slams that really impacted the game pretty heavily. We didn’t do a very good job on defense, we made three errors which led to some of their runs. We were walking guys and hitting guys, we can’t get the third out in an inning and that movie has played out over the last three games.”
Logan Keller was named the Patriot League Player of the Week following a 6-9 weekend at the plate.
Navy will play three against Air Force before heading to George Mason for a midweek bout.
It was a tale of three different games in Charleston over the weekend for the Black Knights, finishing with a 1-2 record.
To open the weekend, Army shut out Richmond by a score of 8-0. Both Cam Cerruto and Sam Ruta hit in three RBI as Connelly Early pitched five innings of scoreless baseball. The win was head coach Jim Foster’s 400thcareer win as the Black Knights coach.
“It was a great opening day. It was so nice to be with all the guys again, outside and in warm weather. The pitching staff threw [the ball] really, really well today. They filled the zone up and competed very well. The hitters battled and got it done in late innings. We did some damage. I’m excited for the rest of the way,” Cerruto said postgame.
The next two were rough as Army left 11 on base to lose to Air Force, 4-3, and gave up five runs in the seventh to fall to Ball State, 10-6.
“We didn’t take care of the bottom of the order … It was a battle of the bullpens and they won,” Army head coach Jim Foster said postgame.
Army will have its toughest test of the season as they visit the class of college baseball, Vanderbilt, this weekend. The Commodores lost its season-opening series to Oklahoma State.