NORFOLK, Va. – A quick start at the plate staked Norfolk State to a big early advantage and the Spartans held on for an 8-4 win over Coppin State to extend their winning streak to nine games on Saturday at Marty L. Miller Field.
The Spartans (21-14, 14-3 MEAC North) outhit Coppin State (9-25, 6-11) 12-5 in game 1 of Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader. Game 2, however, was suspended due to rain with one out in the bottom of the third and NSU leading 5-0. The game will only be resumed later in the season if it has bearing on the final MEAC Northern Division standings.
In the completed game, Brian Beard batted 3-for-4 while Justin Burrell, Johnny Mayer and Ismael Herrera had two hits each for NSU. Alex Mauricio (4-3) earned the win on the mound after allowing just two hits and three unearned runs over five innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Beard and Quenten Thomas pitched two innings each in relief.
The Spartans scored seven runs in the first three innings. Mauricio hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first for the game’s first run. The Spartans added four more in the bottom of the second thanks to four hits. Burrell led off with a single, stole second and scored on Herrera’s RBI single. Mayer then doubled over the left fielder’s head to score Herrera. Mayer scored on a CSU error and Beard capped the rally with an RBI single to push NSU’s lead to 5-0.
Stephen Baughan‘s two-run single in the third extended NSU’s lead to 7-0 and chased Eagles starting pitcher Quinn Gleed (2-5).
The Eagles scored three unearned runs in the fourth and fifth innings to narrow the gap. Clinton Arnold reached on an error and later scored the Eagles’ first run on a wild pitch in the fourth. In the fifth, a two-out NSU error extended the inning, and Nazier McIlwain and Jamar Criss hit consecutive doubles to bring CSU within 7-3.
The Spartans got a run back on Herrera’s second RBI single of the game in the bottom of the fifth, but Bryant Miranda closed CSU’s deficit to 8-4 with an RBI groundout in the eighth.
But Thomas set the Eagles down in order in the ninth to finish out the NSU victory.
Burrell scored three times and stole three of NSU’s seven bases, while Baughan and Herrera had two RBI apiece. Also logging a stolen base was Thomas, who made his first collegiate plate appearance and walked in the bottom of the eighth after NSU had substituted the designated hitter position out of its lineup.
Gleed took the loss after allowing nine hits and seven runs, five earned, in 2.1 innings of work.
In game 2, the Spartans scored five unearned runs in the first after notching three hits and benefitting from five Eagle errors in the frame. Burrell and Hall hit RBI doubles in the inning, and three more NSU runs scored as a result of CSU miscues.
NSU starter Jonathan Mauricio allowed just one CSU hit in the first three innings before the heavy rains came with one out and the Spartans batting in the bottom of the third. The game was delayed for nearly a half-hour before the umpires and coaches decided not to resume it.
The Spartans return to action Wednesday in a 5 p.m. non-conference game at North Carolina Central.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com