Pitching Struggles Hurt Aggies In Loss
GREENSBORO—The North Carolina A&T baseball team dropped a 15-1 game to Duke University on Wednesday at War Memorial Stadium.
The Aggies (7-17, 3-5 MEAC) walked eight and hit two batters, giving a total of 10 free bases to the Blue Devils (13-13, 3-6 ACC).
“Ten free passes—it’s tough to compete," said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. "You’ve got to be able to throw strikes, you’ve got to be able to make some pitches and work ahead, and we didn’t.”
The Blue Devils scored off of each of the four A&T pitchers in the contest, who combined for 11 hits and nine strikeouts.
A&T redshirt senior Tim Jones, making his second appearance, had a strong first two innings, retiring four straight batters and not allowing a hit. The Aggies took a 1-0 lead in the second frame. With one out, third baseman Dairio Little walked. He stole second, and scored on an RBI single by catcher Stefan Jordan.
But then Jones ran into a little trouble in the third. Duke got two on with a walk and an HBP to start the frame. A sacrifice bunt by second baseman Angelo La Bruna advanced both runners. Right fielder Jeff Kremer then tied the game with an RBI groundout to first baseman Kelvin Freeman. Jones next walked a batter to put two on for Chris Marconcini, who singled up the middle to make it a 3-1 ballgame. An RBI double by third baseman Jordan Betts brought home the fourth Duke run.
“We didn’t throw many strikes and we got behind in the count,” Sanchez said. “They showed good discipline and didn’t swing out of the strike zone. It was a tough outing.”
The Aggies will travel to Tallahassee, Fla. to take on Florida A&M in a three-game series this weekend. A&T is fourth in the Southern Division with a 3-5 record, while the Rattlers are 1-8 for fifth place. A&T swept the Rattlers in their series in Florida last season.
“We’ve got to get ready to play FAMU, bottom line," said Sanchez. "We’ve got to have a short memory and come back ready to go. They’re another scrappy team that’ll come ready to play as well.”