GREENSBORO—A couple of rough innings cost the North Carolina A&T baseball team on Saturday afternoon as they dropped both ends of a doubleheader against Savannah State 12-5 and 4-1.
“Well it’s a rough start to the weekend,” said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. “Obviously we wanted to have a better showing, that’s for sure. It’s tough when you get down 0-2 (in the series) quickly.”
The Aggies (7-15, 3-5) allowed 22 hits on the day, and committed nine errors total on Saturday against the Tigers (15-8, 5-3).
“We didn’t play our cleanest baseball games,” Sanchez continued. “Give them credit—they came out and scrapped it out. They were swinging the bats and getting the timely hits. We weren’t making the plays when we needed to.”
After giving up a pair of one-out singles in the first inning of the first game, A&T southpaw Brent Moore retired the next five batters he faced to keep the Tigers off the board.
Designated hitter Cameron Jergens singled up the middle to get things started in the second. Senior third baseman Dairio Little then got on base after being hit by a pitch. Sophomore left fielder Brandon Wilkerson hit a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position. Junior catcher Stefan Jordan singled to right to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
After the Tigers took a 4-2 lead in the top of the fourth, the Aggies responded by scoring a run in the bottom of the inning, as Jordan picked up his third RBI of the day with a groundout to second.
But Savannah State added six runs on six hits and two errors with no out to take a 10-3 lead in the fifth as the Tigers got to Moore.
“He wasn’t as effective with his secondary stuff and then they started running on him,” said Sanchez. “And I think the running game got into his head a little bit, and he started missing more over the plate than he had been and they capitalized on it. It was a tough battle to try to control the running game, trying to control the hitters all at the same time. It didn’t help that we didn’t make plays for him.”
In Game 2, the Aggies took a 1-0 lead in the third. Senior catcher Eric Chiz, who entered the game defensively in the second for an injured Stefan Jordan, singled to right to start the inning. Chiz scored as Tendler doubled to left-center field.
An RBI single by designated hitter Drew Quinney tied the game in the top of the fourth. The Tigers loaded the bases with two out in the fifth inning. A run scored on a passed ball and right fielder Mendez Elder hit a two-RBI single to right to put Savannah State in front 4-1.
Savannah State starter Jack May retired the Aggies in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Sophomore right-hander Shane Carter came into relieve A&T starter Josh Ganus in the seventh, and shutout the Tigers to keep them within striking distance of the A&T offense.
But the Aggies’ final rally came up short. May allowed a two-out walk to Little before getting Wilkerson to fly out to end the game. May allowed two hits in his complete game victory.
The Aggies will take on the Tigers in the series finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
“We’ve got to come back out tomorrow—hopefully the weather cooperates so we can get the third game in so we can salvage our weekend,” said Sanchez. “We’ve got to come out and play hard—that’s the bottom line.”