NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State baseball team could not avoid the big inning Saturday, yielding four-run frames in both ends of a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Niagara. The Purple Eagles won by scores of 9-0 and 4-0.
The Spartans (3-3), who tallied five hits in the two games Saturday, have now lost three in a row.
Greg Cullen hit a three-run homer in the opener and added a two-run single in the second game for Niagara (2-3). That was more than enough for starters Cody Eckerson and Daniel Procopio, who kept the Spartan offense at bay. Eckerson allowed just three hits and Procopio one.
In game 1, Niagara scored seven runs in the third and fourth innings combined to take control. The Purple Eagles scored four runs thanks to three hits and one NSU error in the top of the third. After a hit batter started the inning, Tanner Kirwer hit an RBI double to start the rally. Kirwer scored on an NSU error, then Peter Battaglia added an RBI triple and Trevor McAuley a run-scoring single, both with two outs, to stretch the lead to 4-0.
Cullen added a three-run homer in the fourth to widen the margin.
NSU, meanwhile, was shut out for the first time this year and limited to just three hits by four Niagara pitchers. Eckerson (1-1) got the win with five scoreless innings, walking one and striking out four. Jordan Parranto and Alex MacKinnon each pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
Alex Mauricio (1-1) matched his career high with nine strikeouts, but was saddled with the loss for the Spartans. He allowed eight hits and four earned runs (seven total) in six innings.
Terrence Pinkston had two of the Spartans’ four hits in the opener.
In game 2, Procopio carried a no-hitter into the sixth. He struck out nine and did not walk a batter.
An error and a bunt single started a four-run third for the Purple Eagles. Cullen then hit a two-run single and Wyatt Olson lined a two-run homer just barely over the foul pole down the right-field line.
NSU outfielder Brian Beard hit a two-out double over the right fielder’s head in the bottom of the sixth to break up Procopio’s no-hit bid.
NSU starter Devin Hemmerich (1-1) pitched a complete game, allowing five hits and three earned runs to go with five strikeouts in pitching all seven innings.
Battaglia had two hits in each game for Niagara.
The teams conclude their series with a game at noon on Sunday.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com