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Aggies Get Big Win Over Strong Niners Team

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 03/07/2017
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Sophomore Jarrett Norman is all smiles after blasting a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Photo by Kevin L. Dorsey
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information

GREENSBORO (March 7, 2017) – North Carolina A&T baseball will go into conference play this weekend on an upswing. They just completed an eight-game homestand 7-1. They’re No. 9 hitter, junior Myles Sowell, is hitting .477 after another multiple-hit game.

And on Tuesday, the Aggies beat one of the better teams in the nation, the Charlotte 49ers, 6-5 at War Memorial Stadium. The successful homestand has the Aggies (8-4) off to their best start since 1974 when they started the season 10-2. Sowell led the Aggies on Tuesday by going 3-for-3 with a run scored. It was his seventh multi-hit game of the season and the third time this season he has compiled three or more hits in a game. 

“You want to get that winning feeling going,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall. “Winning is contagious. Hitting is contagious. Success is contagious. That’s what we’ve been talking about here for three years. You have to feel that as a player, know it’s there and just keep it rolling. We just have to keep stringing good weeks together as we go forward.”

To keep it going against a team like Charlotte was impressive. The Niners came into the week with the nation’s sixth-best strength of schedule and a No. 8 RPI ranking. They received Top 25 votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll.

It is perhaps why they put a scare in the Aggies in the ninth inning. N.C. A&T led 6-3 going into the Niners last at-bat after another quality start from freshman Michael Johnson and a power-hitting Aggies fourth inning that produced four runs. Senior right-hander Bob Peck entered inning with a chance to earn his third save in as many games.

Peck’s ninth inning started like his last two have – with the first batter he faced getting on base – as Zach Jarrett reached on an error. That was followed by a Harris Yett double that put runners on second and third for Reece Hampton who singled up the middle to score Jarrett. Hunter Jones flew out to right field for the first out.

It appeared Peck had ended the game by getting Drew Ober to hit into a double play as Aggies third baseman A.J. Hunt scooped up Ober’s groundball and whipped it to Melendez at second base to force out Hampton. But the throw to get Ober was late, allowing Yett to score to cut the Aggies lead to 6-5. A walk put the tying run at second and the go-ahead run at first. But Jackson Mims ended the game by hitting a groundball to Melendez who forced out Brett Netzer going to second with a quick toss to junior Milton Rivera.

Peck did pick up his third save while Johnson improved to 2-1 on the season. Brandon Casas (0-1) took the loss after going only two innings.

Offensively, the Aggies built a good lead over the Niners in the fourth. With the game tied at 4, sophomore designated hitter Jarrett Norman hit gargantuan two-run home run that landed near the trees behind the left field well at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies then began to hit doubles as Sowell and Melendez hit back-to-back doubles to put the Aggies ahead 5-2. One batter later, Ordonez doubled to score Melendez. Norman and Ordonez drove in two run apiece.

“I’m proud of the way our team competed,” said Hall. “That was a team win. The hitters picked it up as the game went on, we had a big inning, we got another great midweek start from Michael Johnson and our bullpen continues to do what they do. (Charlotte) tightened it late, but that’s baseball. A team like that is going to get their hits at some point.”

N.C. A&T starts conference play Saturday with a 1 p.m., doubleheader against North Carolina Central at Durham Athletic Park. The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.

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