Norfolk State Holds Off, Eliminates N.C. A&T State
SALISBURY, Md., May 19, 2017—Roger Hall hit two home runs and Stephen Baughan added a shot of his own Friday evening, yet Norfolk State withheld a late charge to eliminate North Carolina A&T State 12-11 at the 2017 MEAC Baseball Championship at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
The Spartans will take on Bethune-Cookman, the top seed out of the Southern Division, in the championship final on Saturday at 1 p.m. They will be making their eighth overall, and second straight, appearance in the championship final.
The Aggies jumped right out of the gate, pushing across four runs in the top of the first inning. Brandon Melendez reached on a single before stealing second, advancing to third on a wild pitch and scoring the game's first run on a throwing error.
Later that inning, Milton Rivera and Kyle Clary had back-to-back RBI doubles, before Timothy Ravare brought Rivera home with an RBI triple to give the Aggies a 4-0 lead.
Norfolk State (26-21) got one back in the bottom of the inning; Brian Beard led off the inning with a double before advancing to third on a groundout and scoring on another grounder – this one from Hall that cut the lead to 4-1.
The Spartans broke out the big bats in the second, beginning with Baughan leading off the frame with a massive home run to left field. Norfolk State then loaded the bases with one out before Tony Leite singled home a run and Alex Mauricio reached on a fielder's choice – bringing in another run and tying the game at 4-4.
Hall then followed with a three-run shot to left, giving Norfolk State a 7-4 lead. Justin Burrell then singled, stole second and scored on a Baughan single to put the Spartans up 8-4.
Baughan was 2-for-2 with two RBIs in the second inning alone.
The Spartans added two runs in the bottom of the fifth, taking a 10-4 lead after Tony Leite singled home a pair of runs.
The Aggies (28-25) got a run back in the top of the sixth, when Camden Williamson scored on a double down the left field line from Greg White to cut the lead to 10-5. White then tried to score on a Melendez single, but Beard gunned him down to end the rally and the inning.
Hall followed in the bottom of the sixth with his second homer of the game, a bomb to left that gave the Spartans an 11-5 lead. Later that inning, Ismael Herrera singled home Burrell to give the Spartans a 12-5 lead.
Clary cranked a home run down the left field line in the eighth to cut the lead to 12-6. Myles Sowell followed later in the frame with an RBI single to right that further cut into the Spartans' advantage before a White sac fly made the score 12-8.
A Melendez RBI groundout cut the Spartans' lead to 12-9.
The Aggies loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, before Sowell knocked in a pair of runs with a single to left field, cutting the lead to 12-11. White followed with an infield single to load the bases again, but Melendez flew out to right to end the game.
Burrell was 3-for-5 at the plate, while Hall drove in a game-high five runs.