Norfolk State Spartans Walk off With 6-5 Win After 9th-Inning Rally




Norfolk State Sports Information


NORFOLK, Va. – Alejandro Pelaez‘s sacrifice fly capped a three-run Norfolk State rally in the bottom of the ninth as the Spartans walked off with a 6-5 win over Coppin State in a matchup of the two top teams in the MEAC’s Northern Division on Saturday at Marty L. Miller Field.

The Spartans (8-15, 6-1 MEAC North) rallied from a 5-3 deficit thanks to three key hits and Pelaez’s fly ball. Johnny Mayer began the ninth by drawing a walk off CSU (6-14-1, 5-2) reliever Devin Rivera Ozuna. After Spartan leadoff man Justin Hayes reached on a fielder’s choice, Alsander Womackblasted an RBI triple to center to bring NSU within one.

Stephen Baughan, who went 3-for-5, then lined a single up the middle to score Womack with the tying run. But NSU wasn’t done. Aaron Robinson doubled to left, with Baughan just beating the throw to third base. Pelaez then lifted a fly ball down the left field line off new Eagle pitcher Corey Treyes, deep enough to let Baughan score the winning run as NSU took the opening game between the two teams that entered the day tied for first in the MEAC North.

The Spartans led 3-0 entering the seventh on the strength of timely hitting and the strong start of right hander Chase Anderson. After three scoreless frames, NSU outfielder Syeed Mahdi put the Spartans on the board with a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth. Baughan made it a 3-0 game with a towering solo home run to left-center field in the fifth.

But the Eagles capitalized on an NSU error to open the door for a big seventh. Derek Lohr led off with a single to start the inning off Anderson, who allowed just five hits in his first six innings. Then Marcos Castillo hit a potential double-play ball to short, but an error kept both runners safe. Eric Crossman’s single loaded the bases and chased Anderson from the game.

Brett Helmbrecht plated CSU’s first run with a groundout, then a Corey Treyes RBI single made it 3-2. Andres Santana’s grounder drove in Crossman with the tying run, and Allen Saar’s two-out single to shallow center scored Treyes with the go-ahead run.

The Eagles made it 5-3 on Crossman’s RBI single in the eighth.

Both starters pitched well but didn’t factor into the decision. Anderson allowed just one earned run (three total) on seven hits in six-plus innings and struck out six. CSU’s Brandon Redfern struck out nine over six innings and also allowed three runs on seven hits.

Spartan lefty Joey Santos (1-2) earned his first career win, getting the final two outs in the top of the ninth. Rivera Ozuna (1-3) took the loss, allowing four hits and three runs in 2.1 innings of relief work.

Baughan went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. The home run was his second of the season. Eight other Spartans had at least one hit, and six of the Spartans’ 11 hits went for extra bases. Mahdi drove in two runs.

Crossman and Caleb Duhay each finished 3-for-4 for the Eagles.

The teams play a doubleheader at noon on Sunday.

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