BUIES CREEK, N.C.-The North Carolina A&T baseball team got off to a quick start, but the powerful Campbell offense got the better of Aggie pitching on Tuesday evening at Taylor Field, as A&T fell to Campbell 18-5.
The Aggies (12-20, 6-6 MEAC) walked a season-high eight CU batters and allowed 12 hits in the contest. The 18 runs were the most the Aggies have allowed in a single game this season. But Campbell was no easy opponent, as they entered the game batting average of .324 with 98 extra-base hits as a team. Their strong offense took advantage of the struggles from A&T pitchers.
"That was a rough start. We had to improvise a little bit with our starters," Sanchez said, adding that starter Andrew Cook might not have been as prepared as he wanted since he was called upon to start a day earlier than he expected. "I asked him and he said he wanted to pitch."
A&T reliever RHP Cook got the starting nod, as scheduled starter LHP Ruben Torrellas was a game-day scratch due to a doctor's appointment for a hip injury. In his second start of the year, Cook allowed six runs on four hits with three walks in two innings. He performed well in the first two innings but ran into trouble in the third inning.
"He did [get up in the zone] and then he was not working ahead. He got behind in the count," Sanchez said of Cook. "We gave them too many free passes. They only walked one guy and struck out 12."
Right fielder Dairio Little had a great day at the plate for A&T, finishing 3-for-5 with two RBI. Marquis Riley and Michael Radford had two hits in the contest as well for A&T. The Aggies out-hit the Fighting Camels (27-7) 13-12, but left nine runners stranded in the contest.
The Aggies drew first blood, taking a 5-0 lead in the second inning. With one out, freshman centerfielder Bo McMillan slammed a triple to right field. He came around to score on a single to right field by sophomore catcher Stefan Jordan. Freshman designated hitter Brandon Wilkerson then reached on an error as the ball bounced off the chest of second baseman Michael Felton.
With two on and one out, shortstop Michael Radford hit an infield single toward third. With the bases loaded, left fielder Andre McKoy hit a single up the middle to make it a 2-0 game. Little then hit the ball, and it bounced off Campbell starter Heath Bowers and went up the middle. Little reached first safely on the hit, and two runners scored. Senior second baseman Riley grounded out to the second baseman, and McKoy scored on the play to make it a 5-0 lead for A&T.
The Camels were able to take the lead by the third inning. Third baseman David Olson hit an infield single to score a run, and first baseman Nick Ray tied the game at 5 with a sacrifice fly to right field. The Camels then scored the next two runs on wild pitches to take a 7-5 lead. Cook got Graham to fly out to left to get out of the inning.
"It was a rough game overall. We've got to clear it out of our system and be ready to play tomorrow. It's another good team we're going to play and we've got to be ready to go. No slacking off. We've got to try to catch some momentum for the weekend," said Sanchez.
The Aggies will continue their road swing this week with a trip to the Commonwealth of Virginia to take on Radford on Wednesday at 6 p.m. A&T will be heading to Durham this weekend to take on the N.C. Central Eagles on Saturday and Sunday for a crucial three-game series. The Aggies and Eagles are both tied for second place at 6-6 in the Southern Division of the MEAC entering into the series.