MEAC / Sports

Butt masterful as Spartans run win streak to 9 straight

Stephen Butt

Stephen Butt

NORFOLK, Va. – Senior right hander Stephen Butt struck out a career-high 13 batters over eight-plus innings of brilliant pitching, leading Norfolk State to its ninth straight win and a three-game sweep of Maryland Eastern Shore in a 5-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at Marty L. Miller Field.
 
Butt allowed just three hits and one run in eight-plus innings to improve to 2-1 on the year. He walked just one batter and fanned 13, three shy of the school record. Angel Rosario, Denathan Dukes and Ryan Kilmon had two hits apiece for NSU (15-10, 12-3 MEAC North), which set a new school Division I-era record by winning its ninth straight game Sunday. The streak is the longest since the Spartans won a school-record 22 in a row in 1995, when the program played in Division II.
 
The victory also gave NSU its third straight sweep of a weekend MEAC series and gives the Spartans a three-game lead over second-place UMES (11-21, 9-6) in the conference’s northern division.
 
Butt did not allow a hit until a bloop single by UMES outfielder Quenton Hamrick with one out in the fifth. By then, the Spartans led 3-0 behind some timely hitting. Dukes scored the game’s first run in the top of the first as he led off the game with a single, moved to third on the first of four Hawk errors and scored on Roger Hall‘s sacrifice fly.
 
In the second, NSU outfielder Syeed Mahdi reached on a one-out UMES error, stole second and scored on Kilmon’s RBI single through the left side of the infield. Rosario’s two-out RBI single plated Dukes in the third for a 3-0 NSU lead.
 
Ismael Herrera tacked on an RBI single in the fifth, and Robbie Hiser doubled and scored on a double by Rosario in the seventh for a 5-0 Spartans’ edge.
 
Butt cruised through the first eight innings. He struck out at least two in five different innings, including the side in the fifth, en route to career highs in innings pitched and strikeouts. His previous career highs at NSU were 7.1 innings pitched and 10 strikeouts, in separate outings against Coppin State last season.
 
Leading 5-0, Butt was lifted after giving up a lead-off single to Mike Escanilla in the top of the ninth. Joshua James greeted NSU reliever Cooper Jones with a single, and Justin Dattilo doubled both of them in to get UMES on the board. Dattilo later scored on a groundout by Skylar Murray, but Jones fanned Hamrick to end the game.
 
Dukes finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs scored for NSU, which outhit UMES, 10-5. Hiser also scored a pair of runs for NSU. Rosario batted 2-for-4 with two RBI and his fourth double of the weekend series. Kilmon also went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Mahdi recorded two of the Spartans’ five stolen bases.
 
Escanilla led UMES by going 2-for-4. Jordan Bone (0-4) took the loss for the Hawks, allowing four runs, all unearned, in five innings of work.
 
The Spartans look to continue their winning ways as they hit the road for a three-game series at Coppin State next Saturday and Sunday.
 
-NSU-