Army Hosts Holy Cross With Patriot League Title On The Line

Michael Sands

Michael Sands

April 26, 2013

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WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army baseball team begins an eight-game homestand this weekend (April 27-28) when the Black Knights close out their Patriot League regular-season schedule with a four-game series against Holy Cross.

The conference rivals will play doubleheaders on Saturday (12 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) with the Patriot League regular-season title hanging in the balance. Army can win its second straight conference championship by sweeping Holy Cross this weekend. Army would also win the regular-season crown by winning three of four games, provided Navy does not sweep Lehigh. Holy Cross, meanwhile, needs at least a split of the four-game series to lock up its first regular-season title in program history.

The Last Meeting
Holy Cross4
Army8
May 21, 2012
West Point, N.Y.
Army Tops Holy Cross To Claim Patriot League Title
J.T. Watkins' three-run homer capped Army's four-run seventh inning uprising as the top-seeded Black Knights defeated second-seeded Holy Cross, 8-4, to clinch the Patriot League title in the completion of a suspended game Tuesday afternoon at Doubleday Field.

Army (20-18, 10-6 PL) enters the final weekend of conference play two games behind Holy Cross (22-21, 12-4 PL) in the Patriot League standings. The Black Knights have clinched a spot in next month's Patriot League Tournament, but can still finish anywhere from first to fourth. The Crusaders have also secured a berth in the conference tournament, and can finish no lower than third place in the final standings.

Army and Holy Cross are meeting for the first time since last season's Patriot League Championship Series, which the Black Knights won in three games en route to their fifth NCAA Regional appearance.

The other Patriot League matchups this weekend feature third-place Navy (9-7 PL) traveling to fifth-place Lehigh (5-11 PL) and fourth-place Bucknell (8-8 PL) hosting sixth-place Lafayette (4-12 PL). The Midshipmen and Bison are both in great position to grab the final two Patriot League Tournament berths as each school needs just one win each to clinch a spot in the upcoming tourney.

The Black Knights will honor their three seniors in a special Senior Day ceremony prior to the first game on Saturday.

Fans that are unable to attend this weekend's games will be able to follow the action via GameTracker by logging onto Army's official athletics website (goARMYsports.com) and navigating to the baseball schedule page. Live video streamed broadcasts of all four games will be available via Knight Vision, Army's subscription-based multimedia platform. In-game Twitter updates will also be offered throughout the weekend via the official Twitter handle of Army baseball (@Army_Baseball).

Army is coming off a 10-3 victory versus Marist in Wednesday evening's eighth annual WRWD Hudson Valley Baseball Classic in Fishkill, N.Y. Andrew Johnson went 2-for-4 with four runs batted in to lead the Black Knights to the win.

Holy Cross, meanwhile, fell to Siena (9-4) in its most recent contest on Wednesday afternoon.

Army enters this weekend's competition playing some of its best baseball of the season. The Black Knights have won 13 of their last 17 games overall. Army took three of four games from Bucknell last weekend as the Black Knights concluded a three-week conference road trip with a 9-3 mark.

Army ranks second in the Patriot League in team earned run average (4.11), while listing fourth in the conference in team batting average (.259). The Black Knights also rank as the second-best defensive team in the Patriot League with a .965 fielding percentage.

Patrick Mescher leads the Army offense with a .315 batting average, while ranking second in RBI (26) and on-base percentage (.410). Jacob Page leads Army in triples (four), home runs (three) and slugging percentage (.473), while listing second in batting average (.310), RBI (26) and stolen bases (eight). Alex Jensen tops the team with nine doubles and 27 RBI, while ranking second in runs scored (28), batting average (.310) and slugging percentage (.408).

Chris Rowley (5-3) anchors the Black Knights' starting rotation with the second-best earned run average (2.65) in the Patriot League. Rowley also leads the team and ranks tied for second in the conference with 52 strikeouts. Alex Robinett (6-2, 3.07 ERA) tops the Patriot League in victories, ranks fourth in earned run average and lists fourth in innings pitched (58.2). Brock Davidson (2-3, 3.98 ERA) has proven to be Army's most consistent starting pitcher since the beginning of Patriot League play, boasting a microscopic 1.75 ERA against conference foes.

Holy Cross is paced by its offense, which ranks first in the Patriot League with a .293 team batting average. The Crusaders also top the conference with 86 doubles, 12 triples, 19 home runs and a .413 slugging percentage.

The Holy Cross pitching staff has improved since the start of Patriot League play, and enters this weekend's action with the second-lowest team ERA (3.76) in conference games. The Crusaders also pace the league with 107 strikeouts in conference contests.

Holy Cross has also been strong defensively this season as the Crusaders boast the best fielding percentage (.969) in the Patriot League.

Jordan Enos leads the conference in batting average (.378), slugging percentage (.545) and doubles (18), while ranking second in RBI (30) and sixth in on-base percentage (.430). Evan Ocello tops the Patriot League in total bases (83), ranks second in base hits (55), runs scored (37) and home runs (three), lists third in batting average (.357) and is fifth in doubles (13). Patrick Puentes leads the Patriot League with six home runs.

Tom Marra, who has authored a tidy 1.04 ERA to go along with 27 strikeouts in Patriot League contests, paces the Holy Cross starting rotation, which also includes Donny Murray, Nate Walker and Mike Ahmed. Ahmed has forged a 2-1 record to go along with a 1.69 ERA in three conference starts. John Colella leads the Crusaders' bullpen, having posted a 1.04 ERA and four saves in eight Patriot League appearances. He saved three of Holy Cross' four wins against Lehigh last weekend.

Army and Holy Cross have met 97 times prior to this weekend's matchup. The Black Knights own a 65-30-2 edge in the all-time series, which began in 1911. Army and Holy Cross split last season's regular-season series in Worcester, Mass., before the Black Knights edged the Crusaders, 2-1, in the Patriot League Championship Series at West Point.

Following this weekend's series, Army will close out its regular-season slate with non-league home games against NYIT (May 1), Hartford (May 2), Nyack (May 4) and Chestnut Hill (May 5).

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