Army Sweeps Doubleheader From George Washington

Kevin McKague

Kevin McKague

Feb. 25, 2012

Game One Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

Game Two Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

CARY, N.C. - Kevin McKague went 4-for-4 with four RBI in game one, and Chris Rowley tossed a two-hit shutout in the nightcap as the Army baseball team swept a non-league doubleheader from George Washington Saturday afternoon at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

Army (3-2) scored five times over the final two innings to post an 11-6 victory over George Washington (0-5) in the opener. The Black Knights jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and cruised to a 5-0 win in the second game.

"It feels great to come away with two wins today, but we still have a lot to clean up," said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. "I didn't think we played as well as we are capable of, but we still found ways to win. I think that speaks to the tenacity of this club. We were able to capitalize on some of the things George Washington gave us today."

McKague set the tone offensively in the opener, ripping a two-run homer in the top of the first inning. The senior, who also scored three times in the contest, added an RBI double in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single in the sixth.

Daniel Cortes reached base five times in the first game, going 2-for-3 with three walks and four runs scored. Michael Sands, whose two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning broke a 6-6 deadlock, went 2-for-6 with three RBI for the Black Knights. Alex Jensen, the reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Week, also collected two hits in the first game, going 2-for-4 with one run scored.

Army took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the opener as McKague blasted a two-run homer. Cortes walked with one out and he scored in front of McKague, who smashed a 2-0 pitch over the wall in left field for his first round-tripper of the young season.

George Washington knotted the score in the bottom of the first as the Colonials pushed across a pair of unearned runs. The first four GWU batters reached base thanks to a pair of singles and two Army errors. After Black Knight starter Logan Lee induced a pop up for the first out of the inning, Brett Bowers drew a bases-loaded walk to force home the second run of the frame. Lee was able to minimize the damage, though, getting Jim Best to roll into a 3-6-1 double play to end the threat.

After a scoreless second inning, Army reclaimed the lead in the top of the third as the Black Knights scored one run on three hits and a walk. Cortes walked to lead off the frame, and he moved to second when McKague singled through the right side of the infield. After Connor Love struck out, J.T. Watkins reached on a bunt single, but Cortes was cut down at the plate trying to score. Sands then came through with a two-out RBI single to score McKague from second base and give Army a 3-2 lead.

George Washington tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the third inning when Owen Beightol hit a one-out double down the left field line and scored on Best's two-out single to right field.

Army engineered a two-out rally in the top of the fourth to move in front 4-3. Zach Price began the uprising with a two-out walk. Price then stole second base and Cortes walked to put two runners aboard for McKague, who ripped an RBI double to left field.

Following a scoreless fifth inning, Army extended its lead to 6-3 in the top of the sixth by plating a pair of runs. Cody Murtle led off the frame with a single, and he advance to second base on Price's sacrifice bunt. Cortes followed with a single to right field, putting runners on the corners. McKague continued his productive afternoon by lacing an RBI single through the left side of the infield, scoring Murtle and sending Cortes to third base. McKague and Cortes then executed a double steal with Cortes stealing home with the Black Knights' second run of the inning.

The Colonials got one run back in the bottom of the sixth to pull to within 6-4. Bowers and Best hit consecutive singles to lead off the frame, and they each moved up one base on Ryan Hickey's sacrifice bunt. Brookes Townsend then drove home Bowers on his RBI groundout to the pitcher. Lee was able to strike out Tyler McCarthy with Best on third base to retire the side and avoid any further damage.

GWU scored two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning off Army reliever Manny Fernandez to tie the score at 6-6. Ollie Mittag began the rally with a leadoff single, and he moved to second base when Matthew Murakami drew a one-out walk. Beightol then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position and Derek Brown delivered a clutch pinch-hit single to plate both runs.

Army moved in front for good, 8-6, in the top of the eighth inning as the Black Knights pushed across a pair of runs. Cortes ignited the rally with a one-out infield single, and he moved to second base when McKague was hit by a pitch. Sean McIlroy then drew a walk to load the bases. After Watkins popped out to first base, Sands smacked a 3-2 pitch to left field for a two-run single, scoring Cortes and McKague with the go-ahead runs.

The Black Knights tacked on three insurance runs in the top of the ninth to increase their lead to 11-6. Jensen singled and moved to second on a throwing error by the Colonials' shortstop to open the inning. Patrick Mescher then reached on an error by the first baseman, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. A wild pitch allowed Jensen to score and Mescher to move to second base. Matthew Carter then advanced Mescher to third as he grounded out to shortstop, and Price lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Mescher with Army's 10th run of the contest. Cortes then reached on an error, McKague was hit by a pitch and Dakari Cooke and Watkins drew consecutive walks to force home another run.

Fernandez (1-0) tossed two innings of relief to earn the victory for Army in the opener. The Black Knight senior struck out four batters during his stint on the mound. Gunnar Carroll came on in relief of Fernandez and worked a perfect ninth inning to nail down the win.

Colin Milon (0-1) took the loss for George Washington after allowing Sands' two-run single in the decisive eighth inning. McCarthy and Best each collected a pair of hits to pace the Colonials offensively in the first game.

Army jumped on top, 3-0, in the first inning of the nightcap as the Black Knights pushed across three runs on three hits and one George Washington error. Price began the inning with a single down the left field line, and he came all the way around to score when Cortes' single was misplayed by the center fielder. McKague was then hit by a pitch and both he and Cortes moved into scoring position after Love laid down a sacrifice bunt. Jensen followed with an RBI groundout to score Cortes, and Watkins singled to right field to bring McKague to the plate.

The early run support was more than enough for Rowley (1-0), who was dominant throughout his outing. The junior righty limited George Washington to just two hits and one walk, while striking out six. Rowley retired the side in order in the first inning, before running into a bit of trouble in the second. George Washington loaded the bases in that second frame, but Rowley caught Hickey looking at strike three and got Xavier Parkmond to ground out to shortstop to end the threat.

Rowley, who faced the minimum over the final five innings, retired the Colonials in order in the third, fourth and fifth frames. The Duluth, Ga., native set down 11 straight during the middle innings, before George Washington's Kyle Gelling singled leading off the sixth. Gelling was quickly eliminated thanks to a double play, and Rowley retired the side in order in the seventh.

"Chris (Rowley) settled in after the second inning and really threw the ball well," said Sottolano. "He threw all of his pitches for strikes, and showed good command of both sides of the plate. I was very pleased with his performance today, and it gives him something to build off of moving forward."

The Black Knights tacked on single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to account for the final margin. Price was in the middle of both rallies, scoring a run in the fifth and driving one home in the sixth. The senior second baseman singled up the middle leading off the fifth. He then stole second base, moved to third on Cortes' sacrifice bunt and scored on Love's squeeze bunt.

Army loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning, and Price singled home Sands with the team's fifth run of the game.

Price went 3-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored to pace Army's eight-hit attack in the nightcap. Watkins was 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Cortes, McKague and Clayton Mosley each collected one hit apiece.

Aaron Weisberg (0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits in five innings of work. He struck out five and walked two.

Army and George Washington wrap up their three-game series on Sunday, Feb. 26, with a single nine-inning contest scheduled for 1 p.m.

Game Notes: Today's games marked the first-ever meetings between Army and George Washington on the baseball diamond ... the Black Knights scored a season-high 11 runs in the first game of today's doubleheader ... Kevin McKague's home run was the 20th of his career ... he ranks seventh on Army's all-time home runs list ... McKague also lists third on Army's all-time RBI ledger with 144 career RBI ... Dakari Cooke, who was inserted as a pinch-runner during the eighth inning of the opener, walked in his first career at-bat in the ninth ... Chris Rowley is the only Army pitcher to throw a complete game shutout over the last two seasons ... he also threw one at Lafayette last spring ... Patrick Mescher drew his first career start in the nightcap, getting the nod at first base ... Kevin McKague started at third base in the second game.

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