May 17, 2008

Around the Bases

Around the Tournaments - MEAC
Norfolk State fights back against Maryland-Eastern Shore


By Chuck Curti,

Special to


NORFOLK, Va. – As the ball rolled under his glove and into left-center field, Norfolk State shortstop Moriba George dropped his chin to his chest in frustration.


After a heart-breaking loss to North Carolina A&T on Thursday, the last thing George wanted to do was commit an error to spot Maryland Eastern-Shore a lead. But that’s exactly what happened in Friday’s elimination game in the MEAC Tournament at Marty L. Miller Field.


UMES’s Phil Vaughn, who had singled and stole second, scored on George’s miscue in the bottom of the first to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.


But George and the Spartans redeemed themselves and stayed alive with a 7-2 victory. The Spartans were scheduled to play Delaware State in another elimination game later in the evening.


George shook off his early gaffe to tie the game 1-1 in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly. John Boyd’s single plated John Lynch with the go-ahead run.


“Those two plays took a lot of pressure off me,” said George, referring also to a successful squeeze bunt that scored Jerrod Farley in the eighth. He added a sensational defensive play in the seventh when he threw out Ken Richardson after making a diving stop in the hole. “I hadn’t been hitting in the tournament.”


Eastern Shore, showing a bit more spunk that the day before when it was blown out, 13-1, by top-seeded Bethune-Cookman, knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Pat Hercinger.


NSU put the game away in the fourth by sending nine hitters to the plate and scoring four times.


Farley had an RBI single and later scored on a single by Brad Stephenson. Stephenson’s hit was the first of three straight RBI singles for the Spartans, with John Boyd and Chris Joyce following.


The Spartans cruised from there behind starter Jason Barker. After surrendering two runs and five hits over the first three innings, Barker blanked the Hawks to two hits the rest of the way for his first career complete game.


“I just kept pitching my pitches,” said Barker, who admitted he might have been putting a little pressure on himself early. “I knew my team would hit.”


With a win under their collective belt, the Spartans’ confidence has been renewed for a run at the MEAC title.