Dover, Del. (Apr. 26, 2014) --- The Delaware State University baseball team has opened up a two-game lead in the MEAC Northern Division after a doubleheader sweep of second place Norfolk State at Soldier Field today.
The Hornets erased an early four-run deficit to win the opener 8-5. Freshman Harry Thomas pitched his first career complete game to lead DSU to a 4-2 victory in the seven-inning nightcap.
Delaware State has won its last five games to improve to 23-13 overall and 12-6 in the MEAC. Norfolk State fell to 15-23 and 11-9. The Hornets led the Spartans by .014 percentage points for the top spot in the division race heading into today's doubleheader.
In the opener, the Hornets scored seven unanswered runs after traling 5-1 in the second inning.
Hassan Evans was two-for-four with a home run and three runs batted in, while Cameron Onderko had three hits, including a homer, and two RBI in four at bats to lead DSU’s 11-hit attack.
Norfolk State scored first in the opener with three runs off DSU starter Matt McClain in the top of the second inning.
Delaware State got a run back in the bottom of the second when Evans hit his first DSU home run, a solo shot over the fence in left field to cut the Spartans’ lead to 3-1.
Norfolk State threatened to blow the game open in the top of the third. The first five batters singled in the inning to give the Spartans a 5-1 lead. NSU had the bases loaded with none out when Justin Burrell hit a grounder to DSU shortstop DJ Miller, who flipped the ball to second base for what appeared to be the first out of the inning on the force. However, Norfolk State’s runner on first, Chase Kyriacou, was called for interference on the play, resulting in two outs and no advance by the other runners.
The next batter, Kyle Vaas, grounded out to first to end the inning and keep DSU's deficit at four runs.
The Hornets began to claw their way back in the bottom of the third.
Onderko led off the inning with his first career home run over the fence in right center to cut the Spartans’ lead to 5-2. Cameron Cecil followed with a double. He later scored on a single by Mike Alexander to pull the Hornets to within 5-3.
Delaware State scored two runs in the fifth to tie the game at 5-5. Aarron Nardone brought in the first run of the inning on a groundout and the tying run crossed the plate on a wild pitch by Norfolk State’s Devin Hemmrich.
The Hornets took the lead for the first time on a run in the sixth inning. Evans reached base on an error with two outs and later scored on a single by Onderko to give DSU a 6-5 lead.
Delaware State added some insurance when Evans singled in two runs with two outs in the seventh.
Reliever Chris Gonzalez pitched a scoreless eighth inning and closer Eric Sharff shut out the Spartans in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
McClain (6-0) was credited with the win despite a shaky start. After giving up five runs on 10 hits in the first three innings, he shut down the Spartans on two hits in his last four frames.
In the nightcap, Thomas allowed two runs on three hits, while striking out three for the complete game win in his fifth start of the season. The freshman right hander is now 3-2 with a 1.89 ERA this year.
Norfolk State scored a run in the top of the third inning to open the game two scoring.
Gonzalez, starting at first base in the nightcap, led off the DSU third with his second homer of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
After the Spartans regained the lead with a run in the fourth, the Hornets answered with three in the bottom of the inning to pull ahead for good.
Nardone and Alexander each singled to lead off the DSU fourth. Evans followed with a triple to the fence in left center to score both runners and give the Hornets a 3-2 lead. Two batters later, DJ Miller drove home Evans on a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 4-2.
Thomas retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced in the last 3.1 innings. The only Spartan to reach base during the span got on due to a DSU error in the sixth.
Evans was one-for-three in game two to go three-for-seven with five RBI in the twin-bill.
Gonzalez and Eddie Sorondo had two hits each in the nightcap.
Delaware State has won six of eight games against Norfolk State this season. The Hornets and Spartans will wrap their season series with a single game on Sunday. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Soldier Field.