NORFOLK, Va. – North Carolina A&T scored a pair of unearned runs in the fifth, and the Aggies held on to defeat the Norfolk State baseball team by a 4-3 score on Wednesday night at Marty L. Miller Field.
Three A&T pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts and zero walks in a non-conference game that was switched to Norfolk earlier this week due to weather concerns in North Carolina. Only one of the four runs given up by the Spartans was earned. The big blow came in the top of the fifth, when NSU could have gotten out of the inning tied at 1-1.
Instead, the Aggies pulled ahead by a 3-1 margin. They had tied the game with a run in the third, and then in the fifth A&T put a pair of runners on base. Both scored on a Spartan throwing error to first base with two outs.
NSU got one of those runs back in the bottom of the frame. Junior Troy White singled to lead off the inning, and two outs later junior Alex Mauricio doubled over the third baseman into shallow left field near the chalk to make it 3-2.
The Aggies (1-3) went back up by two in the top of the sixth. Perry Hunt and Myles Sowell each singled, and Hunt scored on a passed ball with one out. Spartan relief pitcher Michael Parmentier, though, struck out the next two batters to keep it a 4-2 game.
NSU (3-1) closed the gap to one with a run in the seventh. Junior Justin Burrell singled to lead off the seventh, went to second on a passed ball and scored after two straight groundouts to second, the second off the bat of pinch hitter Tony Leite.
The Spartans could only get one runner on base in the last two innings against Aggie sidearm pitcher Noah Dyals, who struck out four in two innings of work to earn the save.
Michael Johnson (1-0) got the win, allowing six hits and two earned runs while striking out five in the first five innings of the contest.
Relief pitcher Brian Beard (0-1) took the loss after giving up both unearned runs in the fifth. Parmentier and sophomore Chase Anderson pitched the last 4.2 innings of the game for NSU, striking out six while allowing three hits.
NSU scored the first run of the game in the second, an inning after working out of a jam in the first. Milton Rivera tripled off the left field wall with one out, but Spartan starter Jack Howell induced a 6-4-3 double play two batters later to end the threat. An inning later, NSU junior Ismael Herrera lined a single into right center to score senior Roger Hall, who had led off the second with a single into left.
The lead did not last, as Sowell led off the third for the Aggies with a triple to deep center field. He scored when Greg White singled in the very next at bat.
Sowell and NSU’s White each went 2-for-4, the only players in the game to collect two hits.
The Spartans will stay home to host Niagara for a three-game series this weekend. Action gets started on Saturday when the teams play a doubleheader at noon.