NCCU Avoids Sweep, Beats A&T
GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T baseball team did not win on Sunday but it did win the weekend. Archrival N.C. Central matched a season-high with 13 hits to earn a 9-3 win over A&T at War Memorial Stadium.
The win snapped the Aggies (6-3, 2-1 MEAC) five-game winning streak.
“It’s always good to win those conference series because you’re obviously trying to put yourself in a good place,” said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. “Winning two out of three is a win for us. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the sweep.
“Hopefully from this we’ll learn that you have to show up every day. We came out a little flat today and before we knew it, those guys were up on us.”
Leadoff man Ryan Hill led the Aggies by going 2-for-5 with a run scored. Senior first baseman Cameron Jergens was 2-for-4 with an RBI. The Eagles (2-7-1, 1-2 MEAC) took an early 3-1 lead into their half of the fourth and broke the game open from there.
NCCU’s second baseman Cory Williamson started the rally by reaching second on an infield single and throwing error by Brandon Mitchell. An infield hit put runners on the corners for Zack Lee whose groundball was bobbled by Aggies third baseman Kyle Clary, allowing Williamson to score for a 4-1 lead.
Jared Kehagias singled to load the bases, setting up Tyson Simpson's RBI sacrifice fly to right field to give the Eagles a 5-1 advantage. Carter Williamson would close out the four-run fourth with a two-run RBI double to right center, giving the Eagles a comfortable 7-1 lead.
Williamson’s extra base hit also ended the day for A&T right-hander Mitchell McQueen (1-2). McQueen gave up seven runs, four earned and struck out two.
“Mitchell wasn’t very sharp. He got hit around a little bit,” said Sanchez. “He was up in the zone and didn’t locate very well. But give them credit. They came out and swung the bats.”
The Aggies did add a run in the fifth as Jergens hit an RBI single to right to score Hill. A&T inched a little closer in the sixth when NCCU right-hander Eric Kimber started having control problems. After getting Mitchell to groundout, Kimber walked three straight Aggies to load the bases. The Eagles then turned to sophomore righty Andrew Vernon who got Hill to foul out before walking Brandon Wilkerson to force in the Aggies third run.
The base on balls also put the tying run at the plate in senior slugger and reigning MEAC Player of the Week Luke Tendler. But Vernon got Tendler to swing and miss at a third strike to end the inning.
The Eagles added on a run in the seventh and another in the eighth for insurance. Kimber (2-0) picked up the win in relief. Carter Williamson led the Eagles by going 3-for-4 with four RBI. Lee was 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
The Aggies are back in action on Wednesday when they face No. 9 N.C. State for the second time in two weeks in Raleigh. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m., and the game is to be televised on ESPN3.