DOVER, Del. - The Delaware State University softball team struggled in their past three games offensively, but the Hornets bounced back in big fashion with a 10-0 five-inning victory over Norfolk State Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the Hornets Nest.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, freshman Bria Green (Wheatley Heights, N.Y.) smashed a three-run bomb to left center to mercy-rule the Spartans (20-20; 9-3 MEAC). Green, who batted in the leadoff spot in place of senior Jordan Reid (Accokeek, Md.), finished the day going 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI. Reid left Friday's game against NSU with a concussion.
DSU (19-14-1; 9-3 MEAC) got on the scoreboard first, taking advantage of a shaky Spartan defense. Green reached base first as NSU shortstop Gipsy Ramirez couldn't handle a liner to commit Norfolk State's first error of the frame. Green moved to third on sacrifices from senior Tawny Reeger (Simi Valley, Calif.) and sophomore Stephanie Martello (Oxnard, Calif.). Centerfielder Danielle Wright dropped an easy fly ball from senior Breanne Parr (Camarillo, Calif.) for another NSU error, allowing Green to score.
The second through fourth innings went quickly, with the two teams combining for a total of four hits. The Spartans committed two more errors in the bottom of the fourth, but the Hornets were unable to capitalize on the mistakes.
Up 1-0 in the fifth, senior Chelsea Stern (Owings, Md.) led off what turned out to be the final frame with a single to center field. Green followed with a single to left field and Reeger walked to load the bases for Martello, who sent a two-RBI shot up the middle to allow Stern and Green to score.
After Parr singled to right and drove in Reeger to take the 4-0 advantage, starting pitcher Liz Riley came in to relieve Jamie Schulle in the circle.
Riley couldn't shut down the Hornets either as sophomore Ashlyn Campbell (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) singled to the shortstop to allow Martello to score and give Del State a 5-0 lead, still with no outs in the inning. Campbell then stole second before senior Casey Beighley (Los Angeles, Calif.) recorded an RBI on a sac fly to centerfield to score Parr and go up, 6-0.
With two outs, senior Leslie Pleasanton (Smyrna, Del.) grabbed the attention of the NSU defense as she stole second. Meanwhile, Campbell stole home to give the Hornets the 7-0 advantage. With DSU needing two more runs to seal the mercy-rule victory, speedy freshman Taylor Pattillo (Chambersburg, Pa.) came in to pinch-run for Pleasanton at second.
Stern singled to the shortstop and advanced to second while Pattillo moved to third.
Green then lit off some fireworks for the senior class with a first-pitch three-run homer to seal the 10-0 win.
Sophomore Rachel Meagley (Spokane, Wash.) earned the win for the Hornets to move to 5-1 on the year. Meagley went 2.0 innings, giving up just one hit. Beighley started the game for DSU, going 3.0 innings strong, allowing just two hits and one walk.
Riley took the loss for Norfolk State as she went 3.2 innings, giving up five hits, five runs (four earned) and one walk.
Stern was the lone other Hornet to have a multi-hit day as she went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Haley Ward was the only Spartan who was able to figure out DSU pitching as she went 2-for-2 on the day. Ramirez was the other Norfolk State player to get a hit on the day.
Prior to the contest, Delaware State held a 15-minute ceremony honoring the senior class and their families.
The Hornets head to College Park, Md. on Wednesday to take on the Terrapins in a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.