Top-Seeded Norfolk State Holds Off N.C. A&T State
SALISBURY, Md., May 18, 2017—Norfolk State will join fellow top seed Bethune-Cookman in the semifinals of the 2017 MEAC Baseball Championship following Thursday's 5-4 win over North Carolina A&T State at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
The Northern Division champion Spartans will advance to Friday's 9 a.m. semifinal, taking on Bethune-Cookman for a spot in Saturday's championship final. The Aggies fall to the elimination bracket, where they will face the Florida A&M-Delaware State winner on Friday at 12 p.m.
North Carolina A&T State (27-24) struck first, going up 2-0 in the top of the second after Dawnoven Smith drew a walk and Kyle Clary followed with a two-run shot, his sixth home run of the season, over the left field wall.
But the Spartans (25-20) wasted no time responding, scoring three in the bottom of the frame; after Justin Burrell singled and stole second, he scored on a double to the right-center field gap from Stephen Baughan, who later scored on an Ismael Herrera groundout to tie the game at 2-2.
Johnny Mayer then singled home Andre' Moore to give Norfolk State a 3-2 lead.
Burrell added an RBI triple over the center fielder's head in the bottom of the third to give the Spartans a 4-2 lead. Burrell then scored on a Baughan double to center that put Norfolk State up 5-2.
Clary singled in the top of the seventh and later scored on a Myles Sowell triple to right-center field to cut the Spartans' lead to 5-3. That kicked off a two-out rally that saw Brandon Melendez single home Sowell to make it a one-run game.
Devin Hemmerich, the MEAC Pitcher of the Year, had seven strikeouts in seven innings – including one to end the Aggies' threat in the seventh.
Baughan led the Spartans at the plate with a 4-for-4 day, driving in a pair and racking up three doubles.