SALISBURY, Md. – Florida A&M (31-21, 19-5 MEAC) got a strong pitching performance from Chase Jarrell, but was unable to get the offense going in a 4-2 loss to Norfolk State (29-20, 19-5 MEAC) on Monday night at the MEAC Baseball Tournament. The offense scattered eight hits, but couldn’t get that timely hit when they needed it most. Jarrell (6-4) pitched six solid innings and allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. MEAC Player of the Year Dylan Dillard recorded his eighth home run of the season in his final career at bat in the eighth inning.
Alec Wong (2-for-4) and Dillard (2-for-4) had the only two multi-hit games for the Rattlers against the Spartans. Kendal Weeks came in to pitch the final three innings of relief and allowed just one run on three hits with one strikeout.
NSU scored first with an unearned run in the top of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. Brian Beard singled to right with two outs and was able to move to second on a fielding error by Peter Jackson. Beard then came home to score from second as Roger Hall reached on a throwing error to first by AJ Elkins that would have ended the inning.
The Rattlers tied the game at 1-1 with an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning. Ben Ellzey singled to right field with one out and Willis McDaniel was then hit-by-pitch to put runners at first and second. Both runners would move up a base on a groundout to short by Elkins. Ellzey later scored the tying run from third as a failed pickoff attempt at second base from Devin Hemmerich sailed over the shortstop and into center field.
Norfolk State regained the lead for good with another unearned run in the fifth inning for a score of 2-1. Ismael Herrera led off with a single up the middle and went to second as Chase Anderson reached on a fielding error by Jacky Miles, Jr. trying to field a sac bunt attempt. Runners would then advance to second and third on Denathan Duke’s sac bunt back to the pitcher before Herrera scored from third on a groundout to short by Angel Rosario.
The Spartans extended their lead to 3-1 with another run in the sixth inning. Hall doubled to the wall in center field to start the inning and took third on a wild pitch with one out. Alex Mauricio then drove in Hall with an RBI single to right field to give NSU a two run lead.
For FAMU in the eighth inning, Dillard blasted his eighth home run of the season, a solo shot to left field, to bring the Rattlers within one run at 3-2.
Norfolk State added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning in what proved to be the final score of 4-2. Duke’s two-out RBI single that dropped in just past Elkins at shortstop scored Justin Lee from second base for the game’s final run.
NSU’s Devin Hemmerich (5-4) pitched a complete game and threw 148 pitches for the win. Hemmerich allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits with nine strikeouts and just one walk.