May 16, 2008
Around the Bases
Around the Tournaments - MEAC
FAMU pulls out dramatic win over
By Chuck Curti,
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
NORFOLK, Va. – After hitting a bases-clearing
double to send Florida A&M over Delaware State, shortstop Tim
Schalch and his teammates sprinted toward the outfield at Marty
L. Miller Field.
And straight for the tarp.
The victory was dramatic. The celebration was
FAMU players began rolling out the tarp in
anticipation of heavy overnight rains Thursday. The Rattlers’
7-6 come-from-nowhere victory was actually interrupted by a
brief rain delay in the bottom of the ninth.
After it rained, FAMU poured it on.
As the rain began to fall, Delaware State closer
Tony Tevis lost his grip on the baseball and hit FAMU’s Adam
Gordon. Umpires brought the players off the field and spectators
headed for their cars as the rains grew heavier.
Five minutes later, the teams were back on the
field, and the Rattlers were back to work.
After Jared Grace popped out to third base, Steve
Cunningham and Jared Jeffries hit consecutive singles to load
Up came Schalch, who had been hitless in his four
previous plate appearances.
“My whole idea was to hit to the right side,”
said Schalch. “That’s what I’ve been working on all year. I
thought I was due, and he gave me a pitch I could drive that
Schalch’s low liner skimmed into the right field
grass and was momentarily mishandled by right fielder Troy
Drummond. That brief bobble allowed Jeffries to come all the way
around from first to score the winning run.
Schalch’s heroics made an unlikely winner of
pitcher Cirilo Manego. Manego spotted Delaware State a 2-0 lead
before even recording an out in the first inning, and he did it
in ugly fashion.
A hit batter. A wild pickoff throw. A walk.
Another hit batter. An infield single, and a bases-loaded walk.
Quickly, painfully, it was 2-0 Delaware State.
But Manego’s response foreshadowed the Rattlers’
resilience. He struck out the next three batters in succession
and seemed to find more of a grove after that.
Still, Delaware State led 5-0 after four innings.
Jamie Friel had a bases-loaded infield single, and Ryne Mailen
had a bases-loaded walk in the first. Jose Sanchez doubled and
scored on an errant throw, and Wynton Weather had an RBI single
in the third. Justin Bittner’s sacrifice fly in the fourth made
it 5-0 in favor of the Hornets.
“We’ve been in that situation before,” said
Schalch. “We knew we could come back. We just had to keep
swinging the bats.
“(Cirilo) kept us up in the dugout. He did his
job, and we did ours.”
Manego ended up going the distance and striking
out eight, including two straight after Mailen tripled off the
fence in center field with one out in the seventh. His numbers
weren’t pretty, but Manego did just enough to keep his team
within striking distance until Schalch’s final dramatic swing.
Florida A&M will play North Carolina A&T Friday
afternoon. Delaware State will play Friday night against the
winner of Friday morning’s elimination game between Norfolk
State and Maryland-Eastern Shore.