Baseball Picks Up Two Wins Over Tigers
GREENSBORO (April 1, 2017) – North Carolina A&T baseball opened their series against Savannah State with two wins in Saturday’s doubleheader at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies defeated the Tigers 12-3 in Game 1 after adding nine runs in the eighth and came away with a 2-1 victory in Game 2. The wins helped the Aggies (13-12, 4-4 MEAC) match their win total from a year ago with more than 25 games remaining on the schedule. The Tigers are 9-19 overall and 0-8 in the MEAC.
“These wins today are important because we want to continue to progress in conference play and see yourself trend upwards,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall. “We haven’t played as well as we could the first two conference series, so to come out and pitch the way we did today and play outstanding defense was great. There are things we need to do offensively, especially in the second game to extend ourselves, but we have a good bullpen that got the job done. It’s always a good day when you can get two wins.”
The game turned on a nine-run eighth inning for the Aggies. They entered the eighth in a 3-3 tie with the Tigers as they loaded the bases for the fourth time in the contest. With no outs, the Aggies capitalized on the bases loaded situation for the first time in the game.
A sacrifice fly to center field from junior Myles Sowell brought Melendez home to give the Aggies their first lead of the game. A single from sophomore pinch hitter Jason King gave the Aggies a 5-3 lead as Greg White who was hit by a pitch to reach base, scored. With one out, A.J. Hunt walked to reload the bases for sophomore Jarrett Norman whose infield single scored freshman Camden Williamson for a 6-3 Aggies lead. With the Tigers still in a jam, Jacob Morrison (RHP) replaced Ian Concevitch (RHP) on the mound. The Aggies were not fazed. Kyle Clary’s two-run RBI single gave the Aggies an 8-3 lead. Concevitch walked Ravare to load the bases again. He then doubled down on his mistake when he hit Greg White with a pitch to force in another run. Savannah State’s biggest down fall came on a single off the bat off Williamson to left field, which eventually led to an error that cleared the bases for the Aggies to give them a 12-3 lead.
“We were able to get into their bullpen in the eighth,” said Hall. “We were able to throw them off balance. Just because the situation is big in a tight ballgame doesn’t affect how your bat goes. We saw that early in the game we weren’t getting hits in big situations. But once we got that big hit and could extend ourselves, it releases some of that pressure.”
The Aggies left 11 men on base before their big eighth inning. Freshman Michael Johnson, who was promoted to a weekend pitcher this week, went 6.1 innings. Junior right-hander Cutter Dyals (2-0) came on the SSU eighth to pitch to get one batter. Right-hand reliever Paul Sheffield, Jr., took the loss to drop to 1-2. Williamson, Ordonez and Clary had two RBI apiece. Sowell, Ordonez, Jarrett, Clary and Melendez had two hits apiece with Sowell recording a triple.
Game 2 belonged more to the pitchers. Aggies starter Marcello Betances was excellent in his first game as the Aggies seven-inning pitcher in doubleheaders on the weekend. Betances went five innings, gave up five hits, one run and struck out three. RHP Josh Bottenfield and Dyals each pitched an inning of scoreless relief as Dyals earned his fourth save of the season.
The Aggies scored a run apiece over the first two innings and allowed their pitching to take over from there. With White and third and Williamson at first, Sowell hit into a double play which allowed White to score. The Aggies added one more run in the bottom of the second inning off a solo home run to right field from Hunt.
“We need to come out tomorrow and understand it’s a new day,” said Hall. “They know nothing we did today will win the ballgame tomorrow. We have to come out fresh and go through our routine the right way and get their mindset around playing a clean nine-inning baseball game. We need to extend ourselves offensively as the game goes, that is the big thing.
The Aggies look to sweep the series on Sunday with a 1 p.m., first pitch at War Memorial Stadium.