GREENSBORO - During its three-game series with Coppin State, North Carolina A&T played strong defensively. Sophomore Kelvin Freeman is starting another late-season surge, and the Aggies' weekend pitching rotation all went deep into the game with solid performances.
It looks like the Aggies are gearing up for the 2011 MEAC Baseball Tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla., May 18-21. N.C. A&T completed a three-game sweep of Coppin State on Sunday with a 9-1 win at War Memorial Stadium. It was career win No. 300 for Aggies head coach Keith Shumate.
Freeman led the Aggies with three hits, two RBIs and one run scored. Luke Tendler and Mark Nales went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. The Aggies also honored lone senior Nick Oelker, who pitched a masterful game on Saturday. On Sunday, it was Brent Moore's turn. He gave up just one run over 6 2/3 innings, while striking out four in 98 pitches thrown. The Aggies gave him all the offense he would need in the second and third innings.
Tendler's double down the right field line led to an RBI double from Nales to give the Aggies their first run. Stefan Jordan followed with an RBI single and later moved to third on a throwing error. The miscue led to an RBI single by Freeman to give N.C. A&T a 3-0 advantage.
Marquis Riley put another double on the board for the Aggies in the third. It was complemented by another Tendler RBI single. Tendler stole second, which set the table for Dairio Little's RBI single for a 5-0 lead.
On the mound, Moore had command of his pitches. He did walk four batters, but most of those came in the seventh when he walked in the Eagles only run. Sixty-one of the 98 pitches he threw were strikes as he improved to 3-7 on the season. Jim Vagnier (0-11) took the loss.
The Aggies (18-29, 8-8) still have four games remaining before the tournament. They play at Campbell on Tuesday at 6 p.m. They close out the regular season with a three-game series at Savannah State May 13-14.
Led by Oelker's impressive 2011 season, the Aggies hope to end Bethune-Cookman's hold on the MEAC title. Oelker's career thus far includes a 14-15 record with 141 strikeouts in 192 innings pitched. Coppin State dropped to 5-39 overall and 2-16 in the MEAC.