by Special to the AFRO from Coppin State University

COLUMBIA, Md. – Brian Nicolas hit a pair of home runs and Eimir Perez slugged a grand slam as Coppin State’s baseball team defeated Delaware State, 10-7, in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Blandair Park.  The Eagles dropped the nightcap, 7-4, and now stand at 6-12 overall and 2-1 in the MEAC.

A junior from Langhorne, Pa., Nicolas went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBI in the opener while Perez also drove in four runs.  Wellington Balsley added a pair of hits and scored once while four other Eagles players connected for base hits, including Marcos Castillo who added a double.

Tim Ruffino earned the win on the mound, allowing just four earned runs over 5.2 innings while striking out six.  Giovanni Canales picked up the save by allowing just a walk and striking out one over the final 1.1 innings.

Delaware State scored a pair of runs in the first inning, but Nicolas smashed a two-run homer to right center field in the Coppin half to tie the score.  The Hornets tacked on three more runs in the third, regaining the lead at 5-2.

The Eagles erupted for six runs in the bottom of the third to take its first lead of the game at 8-5.  Nicolas, Sebastien Sarabia and Josh Hankins had three-straight singles with Hankins’ knock to left field scoring Nicolas for the first run of the frame. After Tyler Lloyd was walked, Corey Miley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to cut the deficit to 5-4.  Perez then blasted a grand slam home run over the fence in left field to give CSU an 8-5 advantage.

DSU cut into the deficit with a single run in the fourth, but Nicolas followed a Castillo double with his second home run of the game, making it a 10-6 ballgame.

Ruffino threw a 1-2-3 fifth inning but gave up a run in the sixth before Canales forced a groundout for the final out of the inning.  Canales also retired the first two batters of the seventh and got another groundout to pick up the save.

Rashad Ruff got the start in game two and threw two scoreless innings to open the game before DSU got a run in the third.  The Hornets added a pair of runs in the fourth and a run off Marcos Herrand in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead.

Mike Dorcean hit a solo home run with one out in the fifth to start a rally and Balsley followed with a walk.  The rally was somewhat killed as Balsley was picked off at first on a questionable call, and on the very next pitch, Castillo hammered a solo home run over the fence in left field to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Herrand threw a scoreless sixth, but the Hornets scored three insurance runs in the seventh to extend the lead to 7-2. RBI singles by Nicolas and Sarabia made it a three-run game and Hankins was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Delaware State made a pitching change and was able to get the final out of the inning.

Castillo, Nicolas, Sarabia and Dorcean all had a pair of hits for the Eagles and drove in a run each. Castillo also drew a walk and scored twice, as did Dorcean.

Coppin will look to pick up a series win tomorrow afternoon as it hosts Delaware State at Blandair Park at 12 pm.

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