GREENSBORO (May 7, 2018) – North Carolina A&T baseball moved a step closer to claiming their first regular-season title in 13 years on Monday. The Aggies homered three times in a 10-2 victory over Florida A&M in a vital Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup at War Memorial Stadium. The game was a makeup from April 7 when the two teams were rained out.
N.C. A&T (27-22, 14-7) not only benefited from going yard, but the Rattlers also committed five errors. Senior Dawnoven Smith had a career day with the first multi-home run game of his career as he slammed a three-homer before hitting a grand slam to post seven RBI.
Senior Greg White registered three hits and scored twice. Senior left-hander Jonah Owenby started Monday's contest and went four innings before the bullpen came through and held the Rattlers to one run on four hits over the last five innings played. Junior Walfrank Pineiro (2-0) got the win after 1 1/3. Junior Leon Hunter pitched an inning and then redshirt freshman Jason Jenkins closed the game tossing two innings.
“I am really proud of the team for bouncing back after this long weekend,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall. “Today we had to make the game up and I am proud of them for getting up and finding the energy to play baseball and to be big in big situations.”
N.C. A&T is now in a first-place tie with the Rattlers (23-26, 14-7 MEAC) for the MEAC Southern Division regular-season crown. The Aggies final three conference games are against the Rattlers in Tallahassee, Fla., May 11-12 with the two teams scheduled to play a 1 p.m., doubleheader on May 11. Two wins in Tallahassee guarantees the Aggies the Southern Division crown and the No. 1 seed out of the South.
After a first-inning run from the Rattlers, N.C. A&T answered in their first by scoring two runs on three hits and two FAMU errors. Redshirt junior A.J. Hunt singled up the middle followed by a single to center by Smith. Senior Adan Ordonez brought Hunt home with an RBI single to right. Smith eventually scored on a wild pitch to give the Aggies a 2-1 lead.
Home run derby started in the fourth. Senior Myles Sowell hit a solo shot to left for his third home run of the season. The final action for FAMU was by Brett Maxwell in the sixth inning. Maxwell singled to left field to score Will McDaniel to cut the Rattlers deficit to 3-2.
That was before Smith started bashing the ball. Smith's first smash was a three-run shot to right in the seventh to score White and Hunt for a 6-2 Aggies lead. He hit his grand slam in the eighth as redshirt freshman Justin Williams who walked, White who singled and Kimbrell who earned an infield single, scored ahead of him.
“We want guys to be able to rise to the occasion in big spots and there’s no better day when you have two really good teams going against each other," said Hall. "You have to have guys that can stand big in big situations and elevate their play and really that is all (Smith) did. Dawnoven did what he has been doing all year. He came up big in some big spots for us today.”