GREENSBORO – Ahead of a big MEAC series against N.C. Central this weekend, the Aggies got their bats going against UNC Greensboro Wednesday night. But the Aggies had trouble holding leads against the Spartans at UNCG Baseball Stadium in a 13-8 loss.
Lester Salcedo, Cameron Jergens, Brandon Wilkerson, Ernesto Lizardi and Brandon Mitchell had two hits apiece for the Aggies (11-18) as the two teams combined to produce 30 hits. Wilkerson and Mitchell had two RBI apiece and Ryan Hill and Salcedo scored twice.
Those resurgent sticks helped the Aggies take an 8-5 lead over the Spartans in the sixth inning as redshirt junior Micah Carmony hit an RBI sacrifice fly to left field to score Mitchell. The Spartans responded in the home sixth. A&T starter Justin Godette (RHP) loaded the bases by giving up a single, a hit batsman and a walk.
As he approached 100 pitches, he got a visit from A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. Godette was then able to get Eric Kalbfleisch to line out. But it wasn’t as lucky with Hunter King. King hit a three-run RBI triple over the outstretched glove of Hill in center field to clear the bases and tie the game at 8.
Godette was allowed to pitch to L.J. Kalawaia and walked in, ending his night after 5.2 innings where he was credited for giving up nine runs. His replacement, Jamal Clark, walked the next two Spartans to force in a run to give UNCG a 9-8 lead that they never relinquished.
“Offensively we had a better performance but every time we scored and got the lead, we gave it back,” said Sanchez. “Pitching wise we’re still struggling. But we battled, and I was glad to see that.”
A&T took a 2-0 lead on an RBI double by Luke Tendler and a groundout RBI by Wilkerson. The lead didn’t last long as the Spartans scored four runs in their home second.
The Aggies were undaunted. They rallied to score five in the visitor third. With runners on first and third, Salcedo singled through the right side to score Hill to cut UNCG’s lead to 4-3. A walk to Jergens loaded the bases as UNCG starter Andrew George was replaced by RHP Dylan Thompson. Thompson walked Wilkerson to force in a run to tie the game at 4. A Lizardi groundout gave the Aggies the lead as Salcedo scored. Mitchell closed out the scoring in the inning with a two-run RBI double down the left field line to give A&T a 7-4 lead.
“It went back-and-forth there for a while until they finally put us away at the end there,” said Sanchez. “You’ve got to go out there, get the hits and then throw strikes and get people out. We got some key hits tonight, but we couldn’t keep them off the bases, and they got us in the end.”
The Spartans (14-13) scored eight runs in their last three innings. Hall and McAneney had three hits apiece. King had three RBI. Godette (0-4) took the loss while Brennen James (1-0) picked up the win.
The Aggies travel to Durham on Saturday to play the first two games of a three-game series against N.C. Central with the action starting at 1 p.m. The series finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.