North Carolina A&T (29-23, 16-8 MEAC) vs. Bethune-Cookman (20-32, 14-10 MEAC)/Norfolk State (18-28, 13-10 MEAC)
Date(s): May 17, 2018
Time: TBD Thursday
Facility: Sliwa Stadium (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
AGGIES OVERVIEW: North Carolina A&T baseball returns to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship Baseball Tournament, this time as the No. 1 seed. The Aggies will face the winner of the Bethune-Cookman/Norfolk State game on Thursday. Inclement weather in the Daytona Beach area has made the start time unknown. N.C. A&T captured the top seed at the MEAC tournament by posting a 16-8 mark in the conference breaking the previous school record for conference wins, 15, set in 2010 and 2017. The Aggies earned their second conference tournament appearance under fourth-year head coach Ben Hall winning their first MEAC regular-season title in 13 years. The Aggies are a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament for the first time since 2005.
MEAC TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: N.C. A&T will face the winner of Bethune-Cookman/Norfolk State opening their run at the MEAC tournament. The Aggies are 19-18 in the conference tournament and are 1-8 against Bethune-Cookman and are 6-6 against Norfolk State since 2006. The Aggies split the season series with the Wildcats with each team winning three games. The Spartans have won three of the last four meetings with A&T including a pair of victories in the last year’s conference tournament eliminating the Aggies 5-4 and 12-11 in back-to-back days.
ALL MEAC SELECTIONS: The Aggies placed six on one of the three all-conference teams. Michael Johnson (5-11, 220, RHP, So., Concord, N.C.), A.J. Hunt (5-10, 205, 3B, R-Jr., Chesapeake, Va.), and Dawnoven Smith (6-1, 215, OF, Sr., Jacksonville, N.C.), were each selected as first-team members while Josh Stikeleather (6-0, 175, RHP, Sr., Kenly, N.C.), Adan Ordonez (5-8, 180, C, Sr, Clermont, Fla.) and Greg White (6-1, 200, OF, Sr., Greensboro, N.C.) made the third team.
SMITH, BOTTENFIELD EARN CONFERENCE WEEKLY HONORS: Smith won his second player of the week accolade from the MEAC by helping the Aggies take three of four from Florida A&M this past weekend to clinch the Southern Division title. He hit .438 (7-for-16) for the week, driving in 12 runs and scoring eight times while also boasting a 1.125 slugging percentage and .550 on-base percentage. Smith hit three home runs including two on Monday that went along with seven RBI. He also had two doubles during the week, and he hit safely in all four games. Josh Bottenfield captured his first pitcher of the week honor after four relief appearances tossing six shutout innings. He gave up just four hits, striking out three and he picked up two wins in back-to-back games that clinched the Southern Division title.
AGGIE QUICK HITS
- Josh Bottenfield leads the nation and conference in pitching appearances with 36. He has 27 strikeouts with a 1.85 ERA in 48.2 innings.
- Heading into the postseason the Aggies are ranked in the top-100 nationally in a number of categories; stolen bases (37th/ 74), hits allowed per nine innings (66th/ 8.41), hit by pitch (70th/ 60), hits (81st/ 473), runs (85th/ 310), WHIP (88th/ 1.38) and triples (92nd/ 12).
- The Aggies lead the MEAC in ERA, hits allowed per nine innings, home runs, WHIP, and win-loss percentage.
- Michael Johnson ranks top-10 in the conference in both ERA and victories while leading the Aggies in walks allowed and extra-base hits. He has compiled a 6-1 record with a 3.11 ERA in 11 starts striking out 42 in 66.2 innings, while walking 20 batters all season.
- Dawnoven Smith is top-three conference wise in runs scored with 41, RBI with 41, doubles with 15 and home runs with eight. In conference play, he finished with 25 hits, 23 RBI, 21 runs and 10 doubles in MEAC play for a .644 slugging percentage making the all-conference first team.
- Adan Ordonez leads the MEAC and ranks third nationally in toughest to strikeout. He only strikeouts every 24.6 at-bats. He made his third all-conference team hitting .250 ranking second on the Aggies in both walks with 22 and in games played with 49 while ranking third on the team in RBI with 27.
- A.J. Hunt leads the team with 30 walks, a .434 on-base percentage and is tied for first in runs scored while ranking second in hits, RBI and home runs. His .326 batting average on 56 hits, 41 runs scored, 34 RBI and six home runs landed him on the all-conference first team.
- Greg White was second in the conference in hits with 62 and is tied for fourth in runs scored with 41. He leads the Aggies in multiple hit games with 20, at-bats with 194 and game starts at 50.
- Josh Stikeleather ranks fourth in the MEAC in saves with five. He has appeared in 19 games with a 1.82 ERA in 34.2 innings.