GREENSBORO (April 11, 2018) – North Carolina A&T baseball led from start to finish before ending the night with a 9-2 midweek victory over Appalachian State Wednesday night at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies (17-15) have won three straight by holding the Mountaineers to only four hits.
“The guys came out ready to play after several days off,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall. “The guys came out ready, the pitching staff was outstanding with a couple of zeros after the first couple of innings and everybody was sharp. I was happy that we were able to scrap more runs in the eighth inning. We have to keep on working offensively to make sure that we do not have multiple innings with no runs. But overall we played well defensively and threw a lot of strikes tonight.”
Senior left-hand pitcher Jonah Owenby improved to 3-0 after tossing 3.1 innings striking out two and walking two batters. Sophomore relief pitcher Leon Davidson (RHP), junior Leon Hunter (RHP), junior Roberto Negron (RHP), junior Walfrank Pineiro (RHP) and senior Josh Stikeleather (RHP) all went an inning apiece.
Sophomore Zach McLean paced the Aggies by going 3-for-4 to record his third multiple-hit game of the season and finished with a career-high three runs scored. Sophomore Shane Faulk was the only other Aggie to finish with multiple hits with two.
“Today we went out there and played well,” said McLean. “It started off with quality pitching and then we had two good innings putting up multiple runs. For me personally, I was just getting my pitch and was not missing it.”
The Aggies capitalized off a costly error by the Mountaineers in the second inning to take an early lead. A single to left field by McLean advanced senior Adan Ordonez and senior Dawnoven Smith, but the grounder went underneath the glove of the left fielder allowing both runners to score. Faulk then grounded out to score McLean for a 3-0 N.C. A&T advantage.
In the third, walks to seniors Greg White and Milton Rivera and redshirt junior A.J. Hunt loaded the bases. Reliever Kaleb Bowman compounded his problems by hitting Smith with a pitch to force in a run to give the Aggies a 4-0 lead. Ordonez followed by grounding into a double play to send Rivera home. An RBI double from McLean scored Hunt and an RBI single by Sowell closed out the scoring in the inning as McLean scored for a 7-0 Aggies lead.
App State cut into N.C. A&T's lead with two runs in the fourth. The Aggies tacked on two runs late in the eighth inning. Kimbrell's infield single scored McLean. A double steal sent Kimbrell to second and Sowell home on the throw down to second to score the Aggies ninth run. Travis Holden (2-3) took the loss for App State.
The Aggies travel to Durham to take on rival N.C. Central in a three-game series beginning April 14. The Eagles claimed the first weekend series between the teams by taking two out of three in early March.
“Heading into this weekend we need to keep swinging it,” McLean said. “We will do well in the series because our pitching has come along during the last month.”