Quality Start From Bottenfield Leads Aggies
GREENSBORO (March 4, 2017) – North Carolina A&T’s recent home stand has mostly included many hits, many runs and lots of blowout baseball wins for the Aggies. N.C. A&T proved on Saturday they can also win the close ones with solid pitching and timely hitting as they defeated Mount Saint Mary’s 4-2 at War Memorial Stadium.
N.C. A&T (6-4) has now won the last six games in which the game went to full completion. Their only loss in the last seven games came in a shortened game that was stopped early because of inclement weather.
Junior right-hander Josh Bottenfield (2-1) got the win after going 8 1/3 innings, giving up one run, striking out six and walking none. He ran into trouble in the visitor’s ninth with the Aggies leading 4-1. Bottenfield opened the inning by striking out Zach Hostetter. But Tyler Post doubled to left-center field off Bottenfield, leading N.C. A&T head coach Ben Hall to replace him with Bob Peck (RHP), who has gone from weekend starter a year ago to key arm in the bullpen this season.
Joshua Lenig took Peck’s 0-1 pitch to left field to score Post to move The Mount to within two runs at 4-2. An error at third base put the go-ahead run at the plate with only one out. e out. It, however, took Peck only two pitches to get out of jam. Alex Kriss hit a grounder back to Peck for out No. 2 and Jared Urban took the first pitch he saw from Peck and grounded out to shortstop to end the game as The Mount fell to 0-6. Peck picked up first save of the season.
“Josh Bottenfield was marvelous today,” said Hall. “He worked out of some jams and picked his defense up after some mistakes.”
Bottenfield did have to pitch around six Aggie errors. The Aggies offense started to take care of Bottenfield in the third. A Myles Sowell single followed by a balk and a wild pitch from Mount starter Michael Collins (RHP) eventually led to a groundout RBI from junior Milton Rivera to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead. After pitching out of a jam in the fifth, Bottenfield got more help in the home half of the fifth on an RBI double from junior Adan Ordonez as he scored junior Greg White for a 2-0 advantage.
Redshirt sophomore A.J. Hunt’s single to right opened the Aggies sixth as he moved to second on a Brandon Melendez sacrifice bunt. Sowell then singled to center to score Hunt. Sowell advanced on the throw home to get Hunt, which set up White’s RBI single to left for a 4-0 Aggies advantage.
Sowell led the Aggies with a 3-for-4 day that included two runs scored and an RBI. White was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, while Hunt was 2-for-4.
“Tip your cap to their starter. He gave us some fits early in the game,” said Hall. “We finally got a couple leadoff hitters on and executed some situational baseball. We got a couple of big RBI hits from Myles, Greg and Adan when we needed them.”
Collins (0-2) took the loss after going 4 2/3 innings and striking out six. He struck out five of the first eight batters he faced. The Aggies will try to sweep the series on Sunday with Aggies right-hand starter Kaeson Wilson scheduled to throw the first pitch at 1 p.m., from WMS.