ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Senior lefthander Kyle Paul pitched four scoreless innings of relief as he led the Tigers (9-3) to a 3-2 victory over Navy (5-7) in the final game of the Navy Invitational at Max Bishop Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The victory enabled the Tigers to win all three games in the Navy Tournament over the weekend. The Tigers also beat Monmouth (3-0) and Pennsylvania (4-2).
With the win, the Tigers improved to 9-3, matching their best start since 2001.
Paul pitched out of a sixth inning jam as he allowed only two hits with no walks and no strikeouts in four innings.
The Tigers gave sophomore righthander Lee Lawler a 1-0 lead before he ever threw a pitch. Graduate student Zach Fisher led off the game with a single to leftfield. After senior Pat Fitzgerald bunted him over to second base, senior Brandon Gonnella singled to centerfield as Fisher reached third base. When senior Kurt Wertz grounded into a force play, Fisher scored the first run of the game.
In the bottom of the first inning, Lawler survived a rocky start. He walked the leadoff batter, Robert Currie. With one out, Currie was thrown out as he tried to steal second by Fisher. Kash Marzelli and Brandon Bean followed with back-to-back singles before Leland Saile grounded into a force play.
In the bottom of the third, a two-out triple by Beans gave Navy a great scoring opportunity. However, Lawler retired Saile on a fly ball to centerfield.
Towson extended its lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning. With one out, senior Dominic Fratantuono singled through the right side. When Brendan Butler doubled down the left field line, Fratantuono scored to give Towson a 2-0 advantage. A single by senior Hunter Bennett enabled Butler to reach third base. When junior Mike Draper reached on an error by third baseman Drew Hayes, Butler scored to give Towson a 3-0 lead.
But pitcher Luke Gillingham pitched out of the jam by retiring Fisher on a ground ball to second base and Fitzgerald on a ground ball back to the mound.
Lawler left the game after pitching four shutout innings. He allowed five hits with three walks and one strikeout.
Senior righthander Greg Baruka relieved him in the fifth inning. The first batter he faced, Travis Blue, was hit by a pitch. Blue stole second base while Marzelli was striking out. With two outs Saile singled to second base, Blue scored to pull Navy to within 3-1. Connor Dineen grounded out to end the inning.
Hayes and Jack Keller opened the sixth inning with back-to-back singles, chasing Baruka from the game. He was relieved by Paul.
After Brad Borosak sacrificed the runners into scoring position, Currie hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Navy’s second run of the game. Blue was retired on a fly ball to right, ending the rally.
In the bottom of the seventh, Beans singled with one out. But, Paul pitched out of the jam when he got Saile to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Tigers were held to six hits as Fisher, Fitzgerald, Gonnella, Fratantuono, Butler and Bennett each had one hit.
Towson returns to action next weekend with a three-game series at the University of Houston.