There was nothing but resiliency shown by the Maryland Eastern Shore baseball team against Coppin State University on the road. Down 5-0 early, the Hawks (6-17, 5-4 MEAC) fought back to defeat the Eagles (9-6, 5-4 MEAC) 11-8 in the 12th inning thanks to the big bat of Marcus Brown and his three-run home run.
“We battled back and got three runs in the top of the twelfth, then shut it down,” head coach Brian Hollamon said. “It was a pleasure to watch quite honestly.”
The Hawks committed two errors in the bottom of the first inning leading to the first run scored against starter Cameron Bratton. It was smooth sailing until the bottom of the fourth when Bratton was hurt by Eagle singles to put runners in scoring position, then another single was hit by Corey Miley to let Coppin double up on their lead.
Bratton lost a bit of control and hit a batter, then walked the next one to give Coppin a three-run lead before a fielding error drove in two more runs, making it 5-0 at the end of the fourth inning.
“We did not play well at the beginning of the game,” Hollamon said. “We made some fielding mistakes, some pitching mistakes in the first four innings.”
In the sixth inning the Shore started working back with a leadoff walk by Ryan Howe and then was driven in by a Brantley Cutler double. Cutler was driven in after Brown took a walk and then Brian Cordell hit a single to cut the Coppin lead to 2-5.
The Shore kept grinding in the seventh inning by hitting five singles on the way to four runs in the top of the frame. Brown hit one to drive in Bryan Widdowson, Cordell with one to score Ryan Howe and Nick Roets one to left to score both Cordell and Brown. By the end of the top of the inning, the Hawks held a 6-5 lead on the home squad.
“In the middle innings we got back in the game, then seven through twelve we played some good baseball,” Hollamon said. “It was a whale of a ballgame.”
Another Hawk error tied the game up in the bottom half of the seventh, but the Shore was able to recapture the lead in the eighth when Howe hit a monster of a home run, his second of the season, to score him and Widdowson after he reached on an Eagle error.
Once again in the bottom of the inning, Coppin was able to tie the game up at 8-8 when a single and a walk put runners in scoring position, then Sebastien Sarabia drove both in with a double to right.
In the tenth and eleventh inning the Hawks had chances, only to leave two runners on in each but reliever Blake Rebstock was solid, keeping Coppin at bay with just one runner making it as far as second base.
The twelfth inning would be a big one for the Hawks, when Widdowson and Cutler both walked, then with two outs Brown came to bat to help seal the games fate. Not waiting at all in his at-bat, Brown took a cut on the first pitch and drove the ball over the wall to make the score 11-8 in favor of the Hawks.
“I was telling myself if we got off the field in the bottom of the eleventh that something would happen (in the twelfth) because of where we were in the lineup,” Hollamon said. “I felt pretty good about what was going to happen.”
Rebstock continued his outing, allowing just a single to third base but escaped the inning and the game with his first win of the season.
“Blake Rebstock shut it down, it was heck of a job,” Hollamon said.
With the win the Hawks tie Coppin for first place in the conference, with both teams sitting a 5-4 with three games left in the series. On Saturday (April 2) the Hawks and Eagles are slated to play a doubleheader starting at noon and the getaway game on Sunday (April 3) at 10 am.