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Spartan softball hosts Morgan State for MEAC weekend

After six straight games on the road, with an additional two more postponed, the Norfolk State softball team will return home for the first time in two and a half weeks when the Spartans host Morgan State this weekend. Photo from NSUSpartans.com.

After six straight games on the road, with an additional two more postponed, the Norfolk State softball team will return home for the first time in two and a half weeks when the Spartans host Morgan State this weekend. Photo from NSUSpartans.com.

NORFOLK, Va. – After six straight games on the road, with an additional two more postponed, the Norfolk State softball team will return home for the first time in two and a half weeks when the Spartans host Morgan State this weekend.

The fourth conference series of the year will begin on Saturday, April 9, at 1 p.m. with a doubleheader at the NSU Softball Field. The two squads will finish out the series on Sunday, April 10, at noon with a single game.

Both live stats and a live video feed will be available for all three games.

The Spartans stand 5-2 in conference play and 10-16 overall after dropping two at Towson in a midweek twinbill on Tuesday. NSU’s trip to UMES last weekend for a MEAC series was shortened to just one game thanks to poor weather. The two teams will make up the other two games at a future date.

Morgan State carries a 4-2 MEAC record into the weekend and a 9-20 overall mark after defeating UMBC on Wednesday. The Bears swept Howard last weekend and dropped two of three to Hampton at the start of conference play to arrive at a 4-2 ledger in the MEAC.

MEAC Standings
Delaware State is tops in the North at 7-2 after sweeping Coppin State last weekend. NSU is second at 5-2 after those two games against UMES were rained out. Both Hampton and Morgan State sit at 4-2, with some distance between them and fifth-place UMES (2-5). The top four in each division advance to the MEAC tournament.

In the South, Savannah State and Florida A&M have jumped ahead of the rest of the pack with 6-0 records.

Ouch
Kayla McNair has already been hit by a pitch 10 times this year. Only Rebecca Barnes has been hit more times in a season in NSU’s history when she got plunked 18 times in 2008. McNair has 22 for her career, second all-time behind Barnes (27).

McNair ranked 20th in the nation, prior to Tuesday’s games, in hit by pitches per game at 0.38.

Other National Rankings
Besides McNair, Megan Dunning ranks high nationally in a pair of categories. She stands 19th in doubles per game (0.37) and 20th in toughest to strikeout (once every 46.0 at bats). Devon Bitler stands 114th in doubles per game (0.29), while Seana Moriarty sits 128th in walks per game (0.58).

As a team, NSU ranks 36th in doubles per game (1.58), 63rd in double plays (0.38 per game) and 68th in scoring (5.38 runs per game) out of 290 teams.

MEAC Rankings
Among individual players, Megan Przeslawski ranks fifth in the league in ERA (3.98). McNair stands fourth in on-base percentage (.488), while several other players rank fifth in their respective categories, including Marissa Marrero (wins, 6), Whitney Williams (home runs, 4), and Moriarty (walks, 14).

Marrero also finds herself eighth in complete games (7) and 10th in innings pitched (80.1).

Series History
The Spartans own a 28-10 all-time record against Morgan State, with NSU having won the last 13 meetings against the Bears. Since moving to the North prior to the 2012 season, Norfolk State has swept MSU each of those previous four seasons. Last year, the Bears lost a pair of games to the Spartans by a run each time.

About Morgan State
The Bears are hitting just .227 as a team, with Audrianna Alvarez (.378, 18 runs, 17 RBI) and Damali Young (.307, 24 runs, 19 stolen bases) the only players above .300 on the year. Korynna Lara ranks third on the team with a .291 average to go along with 13 RBI, while Danielle Pitpit (10 RBI) and Kimber Salvas (11 RBI) have also contributed at times this year.

Amy Begg has been the team’s most consistent pitcher, throwing 93.0 innings and carrying a 6-8 record with a 4.06 ERA. She has struck out 87 batters while making 16 starts. Allison Hartman has started the other 13 games for the Bears and has posted a 4.80 ERA in 65.2 innings of work.

Up Next
NSU will host North Carolina Central, a member of the MEAC Southern Division in softball, for a non-conference doubleheader next Wednesday, April 13, at 2 p.m. before traveling to Howard for next weekend’s MEAC series.

Originally posted on NSUSpartans.com.