GREENSBORO (February 6, 2018) – North Carolina A&T baseball placed five players on the 2018 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason all-conference team this week and were predicted to finish second out of the MEAC Southern Division.
Fourth-year head coach Ben Hall was named the 2017 MEAC Coach of the Year and returns 25 letterwinners that went 28-25 and 15-9 in the conference, tying a school record for conference wins a 15-game improvement from 2016.
Bethune-Cookman was picked to win the MEAC South, while Delaware State, a team the Aggies eliminated from the MEAC tournament last season, was picked to win the North. Bethune-Cookman (84) won the MEAC title last season. The Wildcats received 13 first-place votes. The Aggies (64) followed the Wildcats just edging out Florida A&M (63) who received five first-place votes. North Carolina Central (37) was picked fourth and Savannah State (22) was fifth.
“This is an exciting time of year as we continue to prepare for the 2018 campaign,” said Hall. “Preseason rankings are exactly that, preseason. We have a lot to get done as we get ready for this first of three parts of the season. Our guys are ready to get started and see another uniform across the field from them.”
Three Aggies were selected first-team All-MEAC and two were picked second team. Catcher Adan Ordonez (5-foot-7, 180, SR, Clermont, Fla.), shortstop Brandon Melendez (5-9, 180, SR, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and outfielder Myles Sowell (6-2, 180, SR, Greensboro, N.C.) were the first team selections. Outfielder Greg White (6-1, 180, SR, Greensboro, N.C.) and utility player Perry “AJ” Hunt (5-11, 180, SR, Chesapeake, Va.) made the second team.
“It is always good to see your players receive some recognition for their body of work,” Hall added. “We have a great group of older players who have played a lot of baseball, so we will rely heavily on that experience as we strive to take the next step in this programs development.”
Ordonez is a two-time first-team All-MEAC selection and he was the 2015 rookie of the year in the MEAC as well as a Freshman Louisville Slugger All-American. Last season, he led the MEAC in RBI with 52. Ordonez was tied for fourth in home runs (6) and tied for sixth in doubles (12) after batting .299 making 46 starts in 58 appearances last season. He garnered 52 hits, scoring 20 runs in 174 at bats and blasted seven RBI against Maryland Eastern Shore.
Melendez earned second-team All-MEAC honors in 2017, ranking fifth in on base percentage (.442) and sixth in batting average (.363) in the MEAC. Melendez led the Aggies in batting average, on base percentage and walks (21). He made 44 of 46 possible starts and finished with 57 hits, 24 RBI and eight doubles.
Sowell had a breakout season in 2017, ranking second in the conference in triples (5), fifth in both runs scored (41) and batting average (.356) while finishing eighth in both total bases (87) and hits (62). He led the Aggies in slugging percentage (.483), was second in hits (62) and finished third in RBI (29). For his efforts, he earned first-team All-MEAC.
White made second-team All-MEAC at the end of last season and was a defensive marvel for the Aggies, posting a .991 fielding percentage. White ranked seventh in the MEAC in hits (63) and eighth in batting average (.348) and on base percentage (.429). White was the Aggie leader in hits, doubles (12), stolen bases (15), total plate appearances (214) and at bats (181). He was second on the team in runs scored (40) and on base percentage while ranking third in batting average, walks (18) and total bases (77).
Hunt was amongst the MEAC leaders in home runs and slugging percentage as the ranked fourth in home runs (6) and ninth in slugging percentage (.438). Hunt was second on the team in RBI (30), home runs and walks (21).
N.C. A&T opens the 2018 schedule 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16 with the first of three games at War Memorial Stadium against Coppin State.