NORFOLK, Va. – The North Carolina Central University baseball program and Norfolk State played a championship game to be remembered as the game was tied twice in the late stages, but the Spartans walked off with a 7-6 win in the bottom of the 11th inning to win the 2021 MEAC Baseball Championship on Saturday, May 22 at Marty Miller Field.
NCCU (27-20) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first by way of an RBI single from Jacob Raby and an outfield error following a single by Luis DeLeon, but NSU (25-26) responded quickly with an RBI single from Ty Hanchey to trim the lead to one, at 2-1.
NCCU forged ahead with two more runs in the top of the third on back-to-back RBI hits by Cameron Norgren and Kobe Phillips to give the Eagles some breathing room at 4-1. However, NSU again had a reply as a run came in to score on a groundout to cut the Eagles’ advantage down to two, at 4-2.
The fourth through seventh innings were silent as both bullpens supplied phenomenal efforts. Brenton Fisher threw a career-high 3.1 innings in relief, and Sam Murchison struck out three in 2.2 innings for the Eagles.
Alex Wright was also impressive in relief for NSU as he threw 6.1 innings from the bullpen with eight strikeouts to allow his club to mount its comeback.
The Spartans scored one in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single from Dionte Brown, and then tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth by way of Jacob Council. In both of those innings, NSU had opportunities to score more, but clutch pitching and defense by the Eagles forced the game into extra innings.
The additional frames began with a bang as Norgren hit a dramatic two-run homer out to right-center to push the Eagles in front, 6-4. That homer was also his ninth of the year, and he tied for the third-most home runs hit in a single season by an Eagle in the modern era.
NSU still had responses to the Eagles’ efforts, as the Spartans rallied to score two unearned runs with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to send the game to the 11th. NSU held serve in the top of the 11th and then walked off by way of a bases-loaded single by Alsander Womack to bring the game to its conclusion.
Norgren finished the game with three hits, three RBI, and two runs scored and came a triple shy of the cycle. DeLeon, Phillips, and Kokko Figueiredo each had two hits for the Eagles as well.
NCCU advanced to the championship round of the league tournament for the first time in program history and finished with the second-most wins in a season in the modern era.
Courtesy: NCCU Athletics