GREENSBORO (November 27, 2017) – North Carolina A&T baseball played a three-game Fall World Series wrapping up their preseason in late October. In the final game of the series at War Memorial Stadium, two captains were selected and teams were drafted. Each captain was responsible for setting their team rotations, pitching moves and lineup order.
Right-hand pitcher Tim Luth and catcher Jarrett Norman served as captains of Team Gold. Joining Luth and Norman were Aaron Benson, Jajuan Crawford, Shane Faulk, AJ Hunt, Leon Hunter, Michael Johnson, Zach McLean, Walfrank Pineiro, Milton Rivera, Anthony Rodriguez, McKinley Stanbery, Josh Stikeleather, Greg White and Justin Williams.
RHP Marcello Betances and one of the most accomplished players in school history, Adan Ordonez were captains of Team Blue. Betances and Ordonez played alongside Josh Bottenfield, Ethan Chavis, Leon Davidson, Jason Jenkins, Forest Kimbrell, Jason King, Tony Mack, KJ McAllister, Brandon Melendez, Roberto Negron, Jonah Owenby, James Rorie, Dawnoven Smith, Ryne Stanley and Ethan Strickland.
Blue won the world series in dramatic fashion with a 4-2 victory in the rubber game after dropping the opening game to Gold. Blue’s victory concluded the Aggies fall baseball season.
In their first of three meetings, sophomore outfielder Camden Williamson led Gold to a 12-6 victory with a grand slam to deep center field in the fourth inning. Williamson went 3-for-4 with five RBI. Senior outfielder Greg White finished with three RBI and scored two runs while Norman had two hits including a double, an RBI and two runs scored.
Gold started Luth who tossed five innings fanning four batters, walking two and surrendering one earned run for the win. Junior RHP Walfrank Pineiro had three strong innings in relief for the Gold. Senior infielder Forest Kimbrell and senior shortstop Brandon Melendez paced Blue. Kimbrell went 2-for-3 recording a double, two RBI and a run scored. Melendez homered and drew a pair of walks finishing with two RBI.
After a tough outing in the first game of the world series, Blue bounced back to even the series with a 6-3 victory behind the arm of freshman LHP Ethan Chavis. Chavis pitched five innings, striking out a pair, giving up two hits, walking two and surrendering one earned run. Off to a quick start scoring four runs in the first three innings, Blue quickly grabbed the momentum.
At the plate, redshirt sophomore Jay Rorie went 2-for-3 and hammered a three-run homer in the third inning. Freshman outfielder McKinley Strickland recorded a double, drew three walks and scored a run.
Gold trimmed the deficit with three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings pulling within one, 4-3. Blue responded in the top of the seventh with a pair of runs sealing the win. Michael Johnson pitched for the Gold and the duo of Zack McLean and senior Milton Rivera paced the offense. McLean went 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI and scored one run while Rivera went 1-for-3 garnering an RBI.
A solo home run in the first inning of the rubber game by redshirt junior infielder AJ Hunt had Gold off to a quick start. Blue answered back over the next two innings, scoring three runs to take the lead. Redshirt sophomore catcher Ryne Stanley had a sacrifice fly RBI and Ordonez had a two-run RBI double over that stretch.
The action picked up with a single run in the fifth by the Gold making it 3-2. Blue scratched out a run in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single from Rorie, extending their lead to 4-2. Senior RHP KJ McAllister earned the save for Blue after a quality start on the mound from redshirt freshman Jason Jenkins. Ordonez reached base three times, Stanley went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Rorie’s big RBI capped a 3-for-4 day. Williamson paced Gold by going 1-for-3 and reaching base three times.
“It was a well-played three-game series,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall. “The infield defense on both sides was stellar. Both sides saw competitive positives throughout the weekend.”