KINSTON, N.C. - Led by freshman RHP/DH Griffin Jax, Air Force baseball downed Navy 9-1 to claim the series at the 2014 Freedom Classic Sunday afternoon at Grainger Stadium. The Falcons, who played in front of a crowd of 1,629, improved to 3-3 on the season and dropped the Midshipmen to 2-4.
Jax (1-1) allowed one unearned run over seven innings pitched for his first-career win. The right-hander allowed five hits while striking out seven. Jax also helped himself out as the Falcons’ cleanup hitter, going 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. He scored the go-ahead run for the Falcons in the fourth inning.
Relievers Trent Monaghan and Travis Neubeck pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to complete a solid pitching effort by the entire Falcon staff. Air Force held Navy to just three earned runs on the weekend for a stellar 1.04 team earned run average.
The Falcons had nine hits on the day, drawing eight walks as well. Junior catcher Brian Sicher led the Falcons with two base hits and senior first baseman Seth Kline scored two runs off three walks. Freshman shortstop Russell Williams hit the first home run of the season for AFA.
Navy starting pitcher Luke Gillingham (0-2) took the loss, allowing three runs in 3.2 innings pitched. The Midshipmen had seven hits on the day. First baseman Kash Manzelli hit a pair of doubles to lead Navy.
The Mids plated a run in the first inning to take an early lead. The Falcons put together three runs in the fourth to take the lead.
Air Force added a run in the sixth on Williams’ homer and put the game out of reach with four runs in the seventh. The Falcons added a run in the eighth.
The Falcons return to action Friday, Feb. 28, opening Mountain West play at UNLV.