May 18, 2008
Around the Bases
Around the Tournaments - MEAC
Bright shines on the mound for
Norfolk State vs. FAMU
By Chuck Curti,
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State’s pitching staff
refuses to give ground, and the Spartans refuse to go away.
Carried by another fine pitching performance,
Norfolk State staved off elimination for the third straight
game, beating Florida A&M, 5-2, and sending the Rattlers home
from the MEAC Tournament. Norfolk State now plays the loser of
Saturday afternoon’s heavyweight battle between top-seeded
Bethune-Cookman and No. 2 North Carolina A&T.
Saturday morning, it was Quinn Bright who was the
stalwart on the mound. Bright pitched a complete game – his
fifth of the year but the first to go nine innings -- scattering
eight hits. For Bright, it helped erase the sting of being on
the losing end of Thursday’s 4-2 decision to A&T, when a dropped
fly ball allowed the Aggies escape.
“You have to go in after that and just clear your
mind,” said Bright. “You can’t think about that.”
Over four games in the MEAC Tournament, the
Spartans’ pitchers have allowed only two earned runs in 35
innings (0.51 ERA). Bright’s was the third straight complete
game, following Jason Barker and Leon Schabacker on Friday.
“We knew that those guys had the potential to do
that,” said Norfolk State head coach Claudell Clark, who was a
pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. “We’ve swept some
weekends where we haven’t had them all pitch like that. Now,
it’s all at once.”
Bright was on target the entire game. Of his 122
pitches, 87 were strikes. Like Barker and Schabacker before him,
he kept the opponent at bay until the Spartans offense woke up.
Florida A&M tied the game at 2-2 in the top of
the sixth when Darryl Evans’ double off the right-field fence
brought home Tim Jones, who had reached on an error. Evans was
injured in the eighth inning when he made a diving attempt at a
soft liner hit by Brandon Hairston. He walked off the field
under his own power, but there was no immediate word on his
Norfolk State responded with three runs in the
bottom of the inning, and Bright was in the middle of the rally.
Moriba George led off with a single up the
middle, then Bright, forced to bat after catcher Brad Stephenson
was ejected between innings, walked. Both runners moved up on a
wild pitch, and John Boyd walked to load the bases.
Chris Joyce followed with a single to shallow
right that allowed both George and Bright to score and make it
4-2. The hit gave Joyce five RBI in the tournament. Anselmo
Cantu followed with a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-2.
“We just go out with a simple game plan and try
to execute it,” said Bright. “We feel like we’re in a good
position. We’re doing the little things to win ballgames.”
“You’re sitting there in the dugout, and you just
feel like things are going to go your way,” said Clark.