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Aggies Prepare to Face MDES

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 05/17/2017
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Junior Josh Bottenfield leads a strong Aggies bullpen into the MEAC baseball tournament. Photo by Kevin L. Dorsey
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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#3 North Seed MDES (12-38, 9-15 MEAC) vs. #2 South Seed N.C. A&T (26-23, 15-9 MEAC)
May 17, 2017
Time: 12 p.m.   
Facility: Perdue Stadium (Salisbury, Md.)

The North Carolina A&T baseball team will start play in the 2017 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship Baseball Tournament 12 p.m. Wednesday against tournament host Maryland Eastern Shore in Salisbury, Md. The Aggies enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed out of the MEAC Southern Division. The last time the Aggies won a tournament game was a 16-11 win over Delaware State on May 15, 2013. Current minor league baseball standout Luke Tendler had four hits and four runs scored in the game.

Aggies Overview
North Carolina A&T heads into the tournament on high note. Head coach Ben Hall was named MEAC Coach of the Year on Tuesday and the Aggies had five players earn All-MEAC honors including three players earning first-team accolades in junior catcher Adan Ordonez, junior relief pitcher Cutter Dyals and junior center fielder Myles Sowell. The Aggies two top hitters – junior college transfers Brandon Melendez and Greg White – were second-team selections. The Aggies face a MDES team that they swept earlier this season at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies scored in double figures in each of those games including two games in which they scored in the teens. On the other hand, the Hawks did hit .321 in the three-game series, but relievers such as Josh Stikeleather, K.J. McAlister, Bob Peck and Leon Hunter were excellent out of the bullpen against the Hawks. Offensively, A.J. Hunt had three doubles in the series and seven RBI in the series.

Maryland Eastern Shore, the tournament host, is also coming into the tournament on a high note. Despite losing their final two regular-season game, non-conference contests against Georgetown and Towson, the Hawks did take two out of three from Norfolk State, the No. 1 seed out of the MEAC Northern Division. Ryan Rotondo led the Hawks in their three-games series at War Memorial Stadium. Rotondo was 7-for-12 in the series with one run scored and an RBI. Joey Nicastro leads the Hawks in batting .316. In the series against the Aggies earlier this season he went 4-for-11 (.363) with a run scored and an RBI.

Stepping Up

  • N.C. A&T shortstop Brandon Melendez has had nine multiple-hit games in his last 13 contests. Within that span, He is 22-for-45 (.489) with eight runs scored and six RBI.
  • The Aggies top bullpen guys – Bob Peck, Cutter Dyals, Matt Stanley, Josh Stikeleather, and Josh Bottenfield have a combined 4.05 ERA in 122.1 innings pitched.
  • Dawnoven Smith heads into the MEAC tournament on an eight-game hitting streak. He is 9-for-32 (.281) in those games.
  • Adan Ordonez is 9-for-31 (.290) in last eight games with 12 RBI and a home run. He is on a five-game hitting streak.

·         In his last four starts, Marcello Betances is 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 23 innings pitched.

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