UMES STUNS DELAWARE STATE 7-6 TO ADVANCE TO MEAC SEMIFINAL ROUND
May 18, 2012
NORFOLK, Va. - Facing the team with the top conference record this season, MEAC North 3-seed UMES came back from down three after six innings to topple MEAC North 1-seed and Route 13 rival Delaware State 7-6 to advance to the semifinal round in the winner's bracket.
The Hawks improve to 14-37 with their second straight win in the MEAC Tournament, while Delaware State falls to 36-16-1, dropping to the loser's bracket with its first loss in the tournament.
This is the first time that UMES has won its first two games in the MEAC Tournament, and is one win away from a berth in the conference championship. The Hawks will face Bethune-Cookman on Saturday at noon from Miller Field.
In the top of the first inning, Stephen Bull (Millsboro, Del.) walked, followed by Byron Campbell (Waldorf, Md.) hitting a double off DSU starter Matt McClain to put second and third. Tre-Von Johnson (East New Market, Md.) hit an infield single up the middle to score Bull for a 1-0 lead and put runners on the corners. But on a tough play for UMES, James Newsome (Mechanicsville, Md.) hit a fly ball to left. Left fielder Aaron Nardone bobbled the ball but caught it before it hit the ground. Both Campbell and Johnson were doubled off for a 7-6-5-3 triple play to end the inning.
The Hornets capitalized on the change in momentum in the bottom half of the inning off UMES starter Jesus Hernandez (Haverstraw, N.Y.). On the first pitch, Troy Drummond homered to left to tie the game. Later, Cameron Cecil was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on a Ryan Haas ground out to give Delaware State a 2-1 advantage.
DSU threatened again in the bottom of the third, getting the bases full with no out, and Haas, the MEAC Player of the Year, batting. Haas flew out to right, and Campbell threw out Drummond at the plate for a double play. Eddie Sorondo followed with a fly out to left as Hernandez pitched his way out without a run in the inning.
The Maroon and Grey tied the game up in the top of the fourth. After Campbell singled, he took third on a McClain throwing error to first. James Newsome (Mechanicsville, Md.) brought Campbell home on a single to center for a 2-2 game.
The designated home team retook the lead in the follow half-inning. The Hornets loaded up the bases with two out. Scott Davis singled on a ground ball through the hole on the left side to score Aaron Nardone and Tony Gatto. Next batter, Cecil singled to the right-center gap, bringing in Drummond from second and putting Delaware State up 5-2.
Zachary Saca (Elk Grove, Calif.) (4-2) came on for the Hawks in the fifth, going 1-2-3 through the DSU lineup in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the seventh, UMES finally got the bats going against McClain. Newsome, Brandon Schott (Warren, Pa.) and Malik Wylie (Bronx, N.Y.) led off the inning with singles to load the bases. Jeffrey Fleetwood (Delmar, Del.) singled through the hole on the right side to bring two runs in and put Wylie to third, taking second on a fielding error. Three batters later, Bull hit a bouncing single over the pitcher's head, allowing Wylie to tie the game. After Tommy Dill came in to pitch for the Hornets, Campbell doubled to the right-center gap, bringing in Fleetwood and giving the Hawks their first lead since the first inning, going up 6-5.
The Hornets tied the game back up in the bottom of the seventh. Davis singled and took second on a sacrifice bunt. Haas singled to left to put runners on the corners. Sorondo followed with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Davis and tying the game at 6-6.
Neither side scored in the eighth, setting up a tie game into the ninth.
Fleetwood led off the top of the ninth striking out, but took first on a wild pitch by Elliot Gardner (2-6) on the third strike. Joshua James (Milford, Del.) advanced Fleetwood to second on a sacrifice bunt, and Shaquille Bagwell (Atlantic, Va) got him to third on a ground out to second. Bull came up and hit a fly ball over Nardone's head in left field, scoring Fleetwood and giving UMES a 7-6 lead.
Bernard Parker (Waldorf, Md.) came in to close out the game in the ninth. Cecil popped out to start the inning. Haas was hit by a pitch and replaced with Joey Babuca on the base paths. Parker induced another pop up, this one from Sorondo, for the second out. JP Frey walked to put first and second. Nardone grounded to short for a force out and second, giving the Hawks the 7-6 victory.
Hernandez did not get a decision, striking out three in four innings with five runs charged, just four earned. Saca earned his fourth victory with four innings of relief, striking out four with one run allowed. Parker got his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
McClain also did not get a decision, going 6.2 innings for DSU with six runs, five of them earned, and four strikeouts. Dill earned three outs without a run allowed. The loss went to Gardner, allowing the run in the ninth, finishing with 1.1 innings thrown.
Bull finished the day 3-for-4 with a triple, a walk and two RBI. Campbell also had three hits, earning two doubles in five at bats with an RBI. Fleetwood had two RBI and scored twice in a 1-for-4 day.
For the Hornets, Davis finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run. Drummond had a home run, going 1-for-3 with a pair of walks.
In MEAC action today, Bethune-Cookman defeated Norfolk State 9-0 to advance to the semifinal round in the winner's bracket. Delaware State will play North Carolina Central tonight in an elimination game. UMES and Bethune-Cookman will play tomorrow at noon for a berth in the MEAC championship game.