NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State run-ruled Maryland Eastern Shore in game 2 after the Hawks held off NSU in game one as the two softball squads split a MEAC doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at the NSU Softball Field.
In a series pushed back a day due to wet field conditions, the Spartans scored six runs in the second inning and later added three more in the fourth to win the second contest, 14-6, in five innings. In game 1, NSU scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth but could not push across the tying run as MDES earned a 4-3 victory.
Norfolk State finished with 22 hits on the afternoon, including 10 in the first contest against MDES starter Adrienne Guerra. Both pitchers, though, struck out 10 batters each, a career high for sophomore Hunter Halford. She also hit a pair of homers and drove in four runs on the day.
The Spartans ran their MEAC record to 2-3 and their overall mark to 9-12. Maryland Eastern Shore pushed its overall record to 9-14, including 3-4 in league play.
Guerra (6-6) scattered those 10 hits in all seven innings to earn the victory in the opener. But in game 2, four NSU players hit homers to highlight the team’s scoring outburst.
The Hawks had just four hits in the first game but five in the first inning of game 2. They quickly jumped ahead 2-0, although the damage could have been worse after MDES left the bases loaded. Freshman Meaghan Barfield cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning with a solo homer to left center.
Allison Anderson hit a solo homer in the second inning, and Sarah Maldonado doubled and eventually scored on a passed ball to extend the MDES lead to 4-1.
From there, it was all NSU. The Spartans answered with a six-run second inning. Halford’s three-run blast over the left field bullpen capped the inning, while senior Devon Bitler, junior Seana Moriarty and Barfield each had RBI earlier in the frame.
Moriarty extended the lead for NSU in the fourth, hitting a three-run homer off the left field foul pole. McNair had led off the inning with a solo homer to right to help the Spartans pull ahead by an 11-4 margin after three innings.
The Hawks got a pair of RBI hits in the top of the fourth, but NSU added three more in the bottom of the frame to jump ahead by eight. Halford, McNair and pinch hitter Keira Randolph each hit singles to load the bases, and junior Jaylene Pryor hit a two-run double down the left field line. Another run scored on junior Julianne Gillo‘s RBI groundout.
Halford (6-6) earned both decisions. She gave up four hits and four runs, two earned, in all seven innings in game 1. In the second contest, she pitched 3.2 innings in relief, allowing five hits and three runs, one earned, with another five strikeouts.
Moriarty drove in four runs, while Halford finished 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBI. Barfield and Pryor also had two RBI, and five different players scored two runs each. Norfolk State left just one runner on base in game 2.
In the first contest, the Spartans had a great chance to score in the third to break a scoreless tie. They loaded the bases with one out on three straight hits, including a pair of bunt singles. Guerra, though, got the next two outs against two of NSU’s best hitters to end the threat.
The Hawks then scored two runs in the top of the fourth. Samantha Casarez’ double with one out put runners on second and third. Halford struck out Lindsey Snyder and then D’errica Toppin, but the ball got away on Toppin’s swing and miss in the dirt and the subsequent throw to first to get the out, allowing both runners to score.
MDES added two more runs in the top of the fifth on Maldonado’s two-run homer to right center that skipped off the top of the fence for a 4-0 lead.
NSU finally put a rally together in the sixth, first on Halford’s solo homer with one out, a blast that easily cleared the center field fence. Sophomore Kylee Lopez and McNair followed with hard-hit singles, and sophomore Shelby DesChamps‘ second bunt single of the game loaded the bases. A passed ball allowed one run to score, and Pryor made it 4-3 with a sacrifice fly to center.
Guerra, though, induced a fly out to deep center field for the third out and then stranded an NSU runner on second in the bottom of the seventh to hold on for the victory.
Maldonado had two RBI for MDES in the first game, and Anderson did the same for the Hawks in game 2.
The two teams will finish out the series on Monday at 11 a.m.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com