Fighting Like Cats and Dogs...
Bethune-Cookman (19-21, 11-7 MEAC) at North Carolina A&T (13-23, 6-9 MEAC)
Date(s): April 18-19, 2014
Time: 1 and 4 p.m., on Friday; 1 p.m., Saturday
Facilities: War Memorial Stadium
IT’S A GOOD FRIDAY TO COME OUT AND SEE THE AGGIES PLAY
·For those people in the area off of work for Good Friday, coming out and seeing the North Carolina A&T baseball team might be a good family outing
·This weekend’s three-game series against Bethune-Cookman, the MEAC South’s top team, is a big one for the Aggies as they try to position themselves for a berth in May’s MEAC tournament.
·A&T comes into the weekend loser of six straight in the conference. The good news for A&T, however, is that they took two out of three from the Wildcats back in March.
· The Aggies are two games in front of Savannah State for the fourth and final tournament spot out of the south. Another series win over the Wildcats could make it a lot harder for Savannah State to catch the Aggies before season’s end.
·A&T’s game against Campbell on Tuesday was rained out. The Aggies were able to take two out of three from Marist the previous weekend. The Aggies saw a little of their offensive production return during the series. Lester Salcedo went 4-for-7 in the series, drove in three runs and had a double and triple. Dylan Hipp had four hits in 10 attempts and scored three runs.
·The Aggies are still one of the best running teams in the nation. They rank fourth nationally in stolen bases with 73.
·Right-hand pitcher Charles Cantrell leads the nation in complete games with six.
·Junior Lester Salcedo has reached safely in his last four games. In his last eight games, he is 8-for-24 (.333) at the plate with seven RBI, four runs scored and two extra base hits. His on base percentage in the last eight games is .433.
·Senior Stefan Jordan continues to put together a career year. In his last five games, he is 7-for-18 (.389) at the plate with five RBI. He is hitting .299 on the season and has caught five base runners stealing from his catcher’s position.
· Senior Luke Tendler has reached base safely in the last four games. He is 10-for-31 (.325) over his last nine games. He leads team in batting (.345), doubles (7), home runs (5) and RBI (27). He also has the team’s best slugging percentage at .529, and he is 41st in the nation in walks per game (0.77).
LAST TIME OUT
·A&T lost a wild ballgame to Marist last Sunday at War Memorial Stadium. The two teams combined for 24 runs, 27 hits, nine errors and five lead changes.
·Senior Cameron Jergens went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Lester Salcedo, Brandon Wilkerson and Luke Tendler also had two hits.
·The Aggies threw five pitchers on Sunday with Kirby Whicker (2-1) taking the loss. The Aggies held a 10-9 lead going into the top of the ninth before the Red Foxes scored five times.
Game 1: A&T RHP Tyler Boone (2-5, 5.05 ERA) vs. RHP Keith Zuniga (5-3, 2.10 ERA)
Game 2: A&T TBD vs. RHP Montana Durapau (7-0, 1.51 ERA)
Game 3: A&T RHP Mitchell McQueen (3-4, 5.83 ERA) vs. RHP Gabriel Hernandez (1-2, 3.67 ERA)
ABOUT THE A&T STARTERS
Boone has really pitched well as of late. He is coming off a complete-game, four-hit shutout of Marist last Saturday. In his last 22.1 innings pitched, his ERA is 2.04. At one point during the season, his ERA was over seven.
Teams have hit McQueen well over his last six starts. The Aggies are hoping for some quality innings on Saturday. He has not pitched beyond six innings only twice this season.
ABOUT THE BETHUNE-COOKMAN STARTERS
Zuniga picked up a win over the Aggies back on March 15 by going seven innings and striking out five. He is tied for the conference lead in batters struck out looking (19).
Durapau didn’t pitch in the previous series between A&T and B-CU. He leads the conference in wins (7) and strikeouts (58). He also has three saves on the season. Durapau is 42nd in the nation in earned run average (1.51).
Hernandez took the loss in the second game of the March 15 doubleheader versus A&T. He was chased after five innings pitched with two strikeouts and three runs surrendered.
Bethune-Cookman finds itself in a familiar position – first place in the MEAC. Although the Wildcats are in first place, they have plenty of competition surrounding them. N.C. Central and Florida A&M are only a half game back and A&T is only two back in the loss column.
The Wildcats have traditionally had good pitching and this season is no different. They lead the MEAC with a 3.58 ERA. They also lead the conference in opposing team batting average as their opponents are only hitting .244 against them.
Enos Modena is the big RBI man in the lineup with a team-leading 20, while Eric Sams leads the team in batting (.338).
The Wildcats lead the all-time series 81-21. A&T won a series at Bethune-Cookman for the first time since 2005 when they took two out of three from the Cats in March.
The Aggies will travel to Radford on Tuesday to face the Highlanders at 6 p.m. The Aggies beat the Highlanders 8-6 back in February. Radford leads the all-time series 13-12.