Rain Halts Aggies Four-Game Winning Streak
GREENSBORO (March 1, 2017) – A downpour of rain and lightning prevented the North Carolina A&T baseball team from completing their game against Presbyterian College Wednesday night at War Memorial Stadium. Therefore, the PC Blue Hose came away with a 3-2 win over the Aggies as the game was stopped in the top of the eighth with the Blue Hose having two men on with two outs.
With inclement weather pending, the Aggies and the Blue Hose started the game at 3:30 p.m., instead of the scheduled 4 p.m., start. N.C. A&T, wanting to get off to an early start in case the weather ended the game premature, did just that in the home first. Leadoff man Brandon Melendez walked to open the Aggies first at-bat. An infield hit by junior Milton Rivera put runners on first and second.
Senior Kyle Clary’s fly out to center field advanced Melendez to third as Rivera later stole second to put two runners in scoring position for sophomore Dawnoven Smith. Smith drove a 1-1 pitch from PC starter Eric Miles to center field to score both runners for a 2-0 lead. N.C. A&T right-hand starter, freshman Michael Johnson, was excellent throughout the game. He kept the game moving briskly, throwing very few pitches and walking only one Blue Hose.
He did run into trouble in the fourth inning when Cletis Avery doubled to open the fourth inning. Nick Wise then singled through the right side to score Avery to cut N.C. A&T’s lead to 2-1. A.J. Priaulx kept the rally going with another single to put runners on first and second. With one out, Thatcher Coleman doubled to center field for a two-run RBI to give the Blue Hose what turned out to be a crucial 3-2 lead.
Both Johnson and Miles got through the next few innings without much incident. Matt Stanley (LHP) replaced Johnson to open the visitor’s eighth. Johnson ended the night with seven innings pitched and five strikeouts with only 82 pitches thrown. Avery greeted Stanley with a single through the left side and a stolen base. The stolen base led to a throwing error that moved Avery to third. Nick Guimbarda walked to put two runners on with no outs. After Wise struck out, Guimbarda moved into scoring position by going to second.
Hints of the game ending early started with a consistent rain drizzle. Before the game was called, Rivera greeted the crowd with a strong defensive play at short. Priaulx hit a groundball to Rivera who turned toward third first before firing home to Jarrett Norman to throw out Avery at the plate to prevent a PC run. With two outs, right-hander Bob Peck replaced Stanley but was not able to throw a pitch as lightning filled the sky.
Miles (1-0) picked up the win after pitching seven innings and giving up five hits. Johnson (1-1) was the tough-luck loser. N.C. A&T returns to War Memorial Stadium for a three-day, three-game series against Mount Saint Mary’s starting Friday at 3 p.m.