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Game 2 starter Marcello Betances earned his first win of the season. Photo by Kevin L. Dorsey
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information

Offensive Surge Moves Aggies Into First Place

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 04/06/2018
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GREENSBORO (April 6, 2018) – North Carolina A&T baseball completed a doubleheader sweep of the Florida A&M Rattler Friday at War Memorial Stadium with 3-2 and 13-4 wins.

The Aggies (16-15, 7-4 MEAC) moved into a first-place tie with the Rattlers (14-20, 7-4) in the MEAC Southern Division by posting season-highs in runs (13), RBI (12), home runs (3), triples (2) and total bases (30).

“It was exciting to see our guys come out and play good baseball,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall. “We got off to a great start with (Game 1 starter Tim Luth). He continues to give us a great start to the weekend with another one-run ballgame. I am really proud of the way we are playing in tight games. The defense was outstanding and we got a couple of timely hits. Bottenfield continues to come out of the pen ready to pitch.”

Senior infielder Forest Kimbrell led the Aggies in the doubleheader with three hits. Kimbrell had his first triple of the season and went 2-for-3 in Game 2. Senior Dawnoven Smith finished with four RBI, sophomore Ryne Stanley scored three times and had three RBI and senior Adan Ordonez had two doubles. Senior Milton Rivera remained hot at the plate hitting his fourth home run in six games. 

After a first-inning homer by the Rattlers, N.C. A&T settled down and used a fourth-inning rally to win the first game. Both teams finished with seven hits but FAMU committed three errors. Ordonez had his sixth multi-hit game of the season going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

In the fourth, Ordonez singled to center field to score junior A.J. Hunt to tie the game at 1. Smith scored on a wild pitch to put the Aggies in front. Two innings later, N.C. A&T tacked on an additional run in the sixth inning thanks to a double to deep center field by senior Myles Sowell scoring Stanley to extend the Aggies lead to 3-1.

Fifth-year relief pitcher and right-hander Josh Bottenfield replaced Luth (RHP) in the seventh inning to earn his third save of the season. He did not surrender a run over three innings. Luth (3-1) got the win as he struck out five and walked two in six innings pitched. FAMU’s Jacky Miles homered to left field in the first and Brett Maxwell scored Willis McDaniel on a sacrifice fly to center in the seventh for the Rattlers two runs. 

In the second game, the Aggies had their best outing of the conference season fueled by a 10-run first. N.C. A&T was paced by Smith’s four-RBI performance.

“Any time you can turn around in 30-minutes and have that offensive output like we did is a great feeling,” Hall said. “It gets you off to a good start in that seventh inning game, giving you a chance to breathe a little bit.”

Home runs by Rivera, Smith, and Stanley along with doubles from Ordonez and Smith aided a triple by Kimbrell and singles from Sowell and Hunt highlighted comprised the Aggies first. 

Rivera and Smith recorded their fourth home runs of the season in the opening inning. Rivera hit a solo shot and then Smith emptied the bases on a two-run homer scoring Hunt. Ordonez followed with a double down the right-field line and Stanley brought him home on a home run to left-center field. Sowell singled to right center and crossed home plate on Kimbell's triple. Back-to-back errors by the Rattlers allowed White and Rivera to reach base as Kimbrell scored from third. Hunt drove in White on an RBI single to left and the final runs came on a two-run RBI double to left by Smith to bring home Rivera and Hunt. 

“I had a stretch where I was not hitting a thing,” said Rivera. “But it is all about staying within the process and credit goes to Coach Hall for putting in the work with us. I was able to get a good pitch and I got lucky hitting it over the fence. As a team, we have been playing in some tight ballgames and it is about time that we are producing the scoring opportunities.”

FAMU was held to single runs in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings. N.C. A&T, who has won seven of their last eight, extended their lead in the fifth inning on a single to shortstop by Kimbrell. He advanced to second on a wild pitch. Rivera loaded the bases with a single to right after White walked. Kimbrell scored on a wild pitch to give the Aggies an 11-3 lead.

The final two runs came in the sixth as sophomore Camden Williamson drew a walk and scored on a triple to center field by Stanley. Sowell's RBI single to right scored Stanley for the 13-4 advantage.

The Aggies and Rattlers will look to conclude their weekend series 1 p.m., Saturday with a single game at WMS. 

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