Norfolk State freshman outfielder Whitney Williams hit a two-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning lifting Norfolk State to a 5-3 victory over Coppin State at the first round of 2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament (MEAC) on May 9, ending the Lady Eagles season.

Freshman outfielder Heather Dunning led off the ninth inning with a single and, after a flyout, Williams ripped the game-ending home run keeping the Norfolk State season alive.

The victory capped a stirring comeback for Norfolk State as Coppin State held a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the seventh inning only to see the Spartans rally to tie the score.

Coppin State (16-25) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Sophomore shortstop Candice Van Horn led off the inning with a walk and advanced all the way to third base on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore second baseman Cheyenne Gerber. Freshman third-baseman Lauren Rogers then produced an RBI groundout to score Van Horn giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles extended the lead to 3-0 with two more runs in the top of the fourth inning.

Van Horn singled to lead off the inning and reached second base on a Norfolk State error on Gerber’s fielder’s choice ground ball. Both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Rogers. Sophomore infielder Samantha Denlinger then delivered a pinch-hit two-run single scoring Van Horn and Gerber to push the lead to 3-0.

CSU freshman starter Alyssa Barker made the lead stand up through six innings as she allowed just four hits and no runs, but the Spartans broke through in the seventh inning.

Norfolk State (27-21) began the inning with five consecutive base hits including a game-tying two-run single by sophomore infielder Alina Moriarty.

Junior Melli Richardson relieved Barker and worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation by getting a pop up and a strike out.

The Eagles threatened in the top of the eighth inning when Van Horn walked and stole second base with two outs, but she was stranded to end the threat.

Norfolk State then won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning on Williams’ homer.

Van Horn and senior catcher Nicole Boggs each had two hits to lead Coppin State, while junior infielder Heather Josker, freshman infielder Danielle Smith and Denlinger each had one hit.

With her base hit, Smith tied the Coppin State single-season record for hits in a season with 48. She shares the record with Jamie Imhoff and Christen Glascoe.


Roger McAfee

Special to the AFRO