PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The Norfolk State baseball team posted season highs in hits and runs scored in taking the opener from Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday, then rallied from a four-run deficit to force extra innings and eventually win game two to complete a three-game sweep of the Hawks on Saturday at Hawk Stadium.
The Spartans won game one, 20-7, in a nine-inning game that was stopped after eight innings due to the 10-run rule. In the seven-inning nightcap, the Spartans rallied from 6-2 down thanks to back-to-back homers in the seventh, pulling out a 7-6 win in eight innings to improve to 9-12 overall, 3-2 in the MEAC North.
In the opener, NSU rapped out a season-high 21 hits to plate 20 runs, their largest total of the year. Seven of the hits went for extra bases, including a solo homer by Kyle Vaas and a three-run home run by Robbie Depp. Brian Beard had a season-best four hits to pace eight Spartans with had at least two hits.
NSU scored twice in the second on RBI singles by Chris Ford and Justin Lee, then broke the game open with an eight-run third. Alex Mauricio and Angel Rosario hit run-scoring singles in the inning, and Syeed Mahdi capped the rally with a two-run double.
Vaas hit his third homer of the year in the sixth, then the Spartans scored seven more in the seventh and four in the eighth off the Hawk bullpen. Depp put a punctuation mark on the victory with a pinch-hit three-run homer in the eighth, his first round-tripper of the season.
Beard (4-for-6) scored three runs and knocked in two. Lee finished 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Vaas, Mauricio, Ford and Denathan Dukes had two hits and two RBI apiece in the onslaught.
Left hander Devin Hemmerich (1-3) picked up his first win of the season. He allowed five runs but just two earned over six innings of work. He walked none and struck out eight. Michael Parmentier pitched the final two innings with three strikeouts.
The nightcap was decidedly more dramatic, and for most of the affair, things didn’t look promising for NSU. UMES scored once in the bottom of the first off Spartan starter Jonathan Mauricio before NSU tied the game at 1-all in the fourth on Ismael Herrera‘s RBI single. But the Hawks responded with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead into the final inning.
UMES reliever J.P. Black retired the first two Spartan batters in the top of the seventh before NSU staged an improbably rally. Roger Hall doubled and Vaas singled him in to cut the deficit to 6-3. Alex Mauricio then launched a two-run homer, his third bomb of the season, to get the Spartans within one.
The next batter, Rosario, then knotted the score with a solo homer to right field, giving the Spartans their first back-to-back homers of the year and tying the score at 6-all.
UMES got a pair of runners on against NSU reliever Cooper jones in the bottom of the seventh, but Alex Mauricio moved from third base to the pitcher’s mound and got a force out to force extra innings.
The Spartans scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth off UMES reliever Tom Summers. Summers walked two batters and hit another to load the bases, then also issued a free pass to Chase Anderson to force in Tony Leite with the go-ahead run.
Alex Mauricio worked around a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth, striking out Jordan Martin looking to end the game. He earned his first career pitching victory with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. He also went 2-for-5 with the two-run homer in game two, giving him four hits and four RBI in the doubleheader.
Beard, Vaas and Herrera also had two hits in the nightcap. Beard went 6-for-11 on the afternoon, with Vaas joining Alex Mauricio with four hits apiece. Rosario, Hall and Lee had three hits each.
The Spartans play a 5 p.m. game at Longwood on Tuesday.
Originally posted on NSUSpartans.com.