NORFOLK, Va. (NSUSpartans.com) – MEAC Player of the Year Danny Hosley struck out nine batters over seven innings pitched and hit a two-run double to key Norfolk State’s four-run third as the Spartans topped Florida A&M 8-3 in the first round of the 2021 MEAC Baseball Championship on Thursday afternoon at Marty L. Miller Field.
The Spartans (23-26) advance to Friday’s noon winner’s bracket final against North Carolina Central, which defeated Delaware State earlier on Thursday.
The Spartans outhit the Rattlers (21-33) 18-3, tying a season high in hits which they set in their final regular-season game last Saturday. Alsander Womack and Ty Hanchey led the way with four apiece. Jacob Council added three of his own and had two RBIs. Hosley and Hanchey also knocked in two runs each.
FAMU (21-33) gained the lead first, however, scoring a run without benefit of a hit in the top of the first. The Rattlers drew three walks off Hosley in the frame. Seyjuan Lawrence plated Octavien Moyer with a sacrifice fly to open the scoring, but Hosley struck out Tucker Rayburn to limit the damage.
The Spartans came out swinging against FAMU starter Kyle Coleman and finally broke through in the third. Raphy Rodriguez and Womack hit a pair of singles to start the rally, and with one out, Hosley doubled to the wall in left-center to score them both. Hanchey followed an RBI single, and after he was caught stealing, Mason Velasquez lofted his fifth homer of the season to right, a solo shot to cap the inning.
That started a scoring spree for the Spartans, who scratched in four straight innings. Womack doubled in a run in the fourth and Council doubled in two in the fifth. Hanchey hit another RBI single in the sixth.
Hosley (7-1) allowed three hits and three runs, just two earned, with nine strikeouts and four walks in seven-plus innings. He did not allow a hit until Moyer’s high popup was lost in the sun and fell between NSU defenders. FAMU scored single tallies in the sixth and eighth, but Hosley and Nolan Manzer (two innings pitched, three strikeouts) kept the Rattlers at bay.
Womack was 4-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base, matching his career high in hits. Hanchey set his new career high, batting 4-for-5, and Council was 3-for-4. Velasquez and Khie Simms also had two hits each.
Coleman (2-5) was charged with the loss after allowing 10 hits and five runs in 3.1 innings of work. Moyer had two of FAMU’s three hits and scored twice. The Rattlers face Delaware State in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m. Friday.