Travis Blue’s one-out double in the top of the 13th inning gave Navy the lead for good in an 8-5 victory over St. Mary’s of California in the first elimination game of the NCAA baseball Raleigh Regional on Saturday.
The Midshipmen will play in another elimination game on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Doak Field at Dail Park, with that winner needing to win again on Sunday night at 6 and again Monday night to advance to a Super Regional.
No. 4 seed Navy (43-15-1) is in the tournament for the first time in five years.
No. 3 seed St. Mary’s (33-25), champion of the West Coast Conference, was playing in the first NCAA baseball tournament in school history.
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Andrew Sauer (1-0), Navy’s fourth pitcher of the game, was the winner in two innings of work. Nathan Simmons, the sixth of eight pitchers for the Gaels, took the loss.
Leland Saile homered with two singles for Navy, while Sean Trent and Logan Knowles each added three hits with two RBIs. Trent had a two-run single in the 13th to give the Middies insurance.
Joey Fiske led St. Mary’s with three hits and an RBI.
St. Mary’s got on the board in the first as Zach Kirtley led off with a single and scored on Anthony Villa’s fielder’s-choice ball to second.
But the No. 4 seed Middies took the lead in the second, as Saile followed Trent’s double by launching an 0-1 offering over the wall in left center.
The Gaels came back with a pair to chase Song in the third. The freshman issued three straight one-out walks before Jackson Thoreson’s two-out, two-run single to left center.
But Navy responded again in the fourth, as Trent led off with a single and scored on Chinnery’s fielder’s-choice ball to short.
The Middies took the lead in the sixth, with Knowles’ one-out, two-run single up the middle capping a three-hit inning.
The Gaels cut the lead in half in the seventh, as Nate Nolan drew a leadoff walk and scored on Brett Russo’s sacrifice fly. They tied it in the eighth when Charles Zaloumis led off with a double and scored on Joey Fiske’s one-out single up the middle.