Navy armed and ready for start of Patriot League play

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Navy left-hander Luke Gillingham is 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA in six starts.

Saturdays don't figure to be fun days for Patriot League opponents of the Navy baseball team.

The Mids open league play this weekend with a four-game series against Holy Cross. The Mids (19-6-1) and Crusaders (9-16), the top two teams in the league's preseason coaches' poll, will face off with doubleheaders both today and Sunday at Max Bishop Stadium. First pitch on both days is scheduled for noon.


Teams typically send their top two starting pitchers out for the Saturday doubleheader. For Navy, that means senior left-hander Luke Gillingham and junior right-hander George Coughlin. And so far, the duo has been money for the Mids.

Gillingham, a second team-All-American last season, has made six starts in 2016 and is 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA. In 40 innings, Gillingham has struck out 45 and walked just nine.


Gillingham, a native of Coronado, California, rested his pitching arm in the offseason and in the fall, and was a little behind when the season began in February.

"For Luke, it's been a progression of sorts,'' Navy coach Paul Kostacopoulos said. "Because of the long layoff, it's taken a little time to get the feel back. Last week was really good and hopefully we can build on that.''

Last Saturday against Princeton, Gillingham and Coughlin each pitched shutout ball for seven innings as the Mids swept the Tigers, 1-0 and 7-0.

Coughlin, the team's No. 3 starter a year ago, has blossomed in the No. 2 spot this season. A native of Arvada, Colorado, Coughlin is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in 33 innings. He has struck out 31 and walked 11.

"George has pitched very well,'' Kostacopoulos said. "When George locates and creates good tempo and pace in the game, he's pretty good.''

Navy has received strong production from the top of its lineup. Leadoff man Robert Currie is batting .411 with a team-leading 23 runs. Currie has drawn 20 walks and has on-base percentage of .511. Shortstop Travis Blue, meanwhile, is batting .306 with 17 runs scored and an on-base percentage of .404. Sean Trent, who bats third, is hitting .320 with a team-high 24 RBI.

"I think we're playing pretty solid baseball from the standpoint of playing the game the way it's supposed to be played,'' Kostacopoulos. "We haven't been as sharp as I'd like to see us on offense. We always seem to get our strength from our pitching staff with good defense behind it. We've just got to come up with some timely hitting.''