PRINCESS ANNE, MD - It was a fight to the finish in both games on Saturday as UMES came back to win game one 6-5 but had a ninth-inning rally fall short in game two to fall 7-6 to split the doubleheader to Norfolk State. UMES goes to 5-18 overall and 2-3 in the MEAC while Norfolk State goes to 6-15 this season and 1-4 in-conference.
In game one, UMES's Chris Lopez (Vineland, N.J.) and NSU's Chris Horne engaged in a pitching duel. Neither pitcher allowed a run in the opening two innings.
The Spartans got on the board in the third inning. Justin Lee, Chase Kyriacou, Zach Markel and Cameron Day all earned singles in a row to push Lee home. Two batters later, Kyle Vaas hit a sacrifice fly to score Kyriacou make it 2-0 Norfolk State.
UMES countered in the following half-inning with two outs. Byron Campbell (Waldorf, Md.) and Jeffrey Fleetwood (Delmar, Del.) walked to put first and second. Brandon Schott (Warren, Pa.) crushed the ball down the left field line to bring in two runs and tie the game.
Lopez and Horne continued to duel in the next couple innings. Both pitchers allowed just one hit each combined in the middle innings as the score stayed tied at 2-2.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Spartans rallied for three runs. With first and third and one out, Zach Markel hit a two-run double to push Norfolk State ahead. A subsequent Tyon Ore RBI double gave the visitors a 5-2 lead.
Again the Hawks responded in the next half-inning. UMES loaded
the bases with one out off a couple of singles and a walk. After Troy
Applin (1-1) came in to pitch, a passed ball allowed Stephen Bull (Millsboro, Del.) to score and put runners on second and third. After a strikeout, Tre-von Johnson
(East New Market, Md.), in his first game back since the opening
weekend in February, hit a two-run single to tie the game again at five.
Zachary Saca (Elk Grove, Calif.) (1-3), who finished the seventh inning, came back in the eighth and went through the frame in four batters without a run.
In the bottom of the eighth, Joshua James (Milford, Del.) led off with a double on a fly ball to right. Next batter he advanced to third on a Applin wild pitch. After a strikeout, another Applin wild pitch got James home and gave UMES its first lead of the game 6-5.
Devin Repine (Salisbury, Md.) came in to pitch the ninth inning and did not allow a hit or a run in four batters to give the game to UMES 6-5.
Neither starter got a decision in the game. Lopez went 6.2 innings with five runs allowed, and Horne had five runs charged in 6.1 innings.
Saca earned the win for UMES after going 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, while Repine got his third save of the season. The loss went to Applin after he allowed a run in one-and-two-thirds with three strikeouts.
In game two, Bull and Mike Escanilla (Waldorf, Md.) led off to bottom of the first with a single and double respectively off NSU starter Richie Salter (3-2) to put runners on second and third. After a strikeout, a Fleetwood walk loaded the bases. Schott earned another two-run hit, a single to left, to bring in Bull and Escanilla and give UMES an early 2-0 lead.
Norfolk State countered in the top of the second against UMES starter Will Turley (Greensboro, Md.). With first and second and one out, Robert Barefoot hit a ground ball single to right to score Kyle Vaas. Turley nearly got out of the inning, striking out Mikey Bruno, but Lee hit an RBI single, then Kyriacou hit a two-run single, to give the Spartans the 4-2 advantage.
Neither side could change the score as Turley allowed just two hits and no runs in the rest of his start. He went five innings, allowing four runs in the outing.
In the bottom of the fifth, Campbell walked to lead off the inning. Fleetwood followed with his first home run of the season over the right field wall to tie the game at 4-4.
Next half-inning, Vaas reached second on the first at bat on an error by the center fielder. Saca (1-4), in relief in the inning, induced two ground outs, but Barefoot singled to left to score Vaas and push the visitors ahead 5-4.
The Spartans added two more in the top of the seventh off a Vaas two-run double to right-center off James Smith (Florence, S.C.), making it 7-4 Norfolk State.
With two outs and a man on second in the bottom of the seventh, UMES attempted to rally back. Schott lined a single to right-center, scoring Campbell. Next batter, Johnson singled to left and took second on a fielding error by the left fielder, allowing Schott to score and bringing UMES with one run with a runner in scoring position. But Norfolk State brought in Raymond Morton, who induced a ground out and finished the game. The rally fell just short as UMES fell 7-6.
Salter picked up the win, going 6.2 innings with six runs charged and three strikeouts. Though the run in the sixth was unearned, Saca got the loss in game two for UMES. Morton earned his first save of the season.
Schott drove in five runs in the doubleheader, going 3-for-8 with a double. In his return, Johnson went 4-for-7 with a walk and two RBI. Escanilla was 4-for-8 after two multi-hit contests, and Fleetwood went 2-for-6 with a home run, three runs and a pair of walks.
For NSU, Vaas reached base five times, going 3-for-5 with two walks, a pair of doubles and three RBI. Kyriacou got four hits and eight at bats, scoring three runs.
UMES and Norfolk State will play a rubber match on Sunday at noon at Hawks Stadium.