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Excitement Surrounds A&T TV Game

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 04/27/2012
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Senior Estarlin Paulino will get the start on Friday. He is 5-3 with a 3.78 ERA.
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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GREENSBORO- ESPNU will be returning to historic War Memorial Stadium to air a live telecast of North Carolina A&T's noon game on Friday against the six-time defending MEAC Champions, Bethune-Cookman. 

"I've never been on TV before," said freshman outfielder Dylan Hipp, who is excited for the contest against B-CU. "That's our rival.  It's always more important when you play your rival."

The only other team to take the MEAC crown in the last 13 years was A&T, who won their third championship in program history in 2005. 

In fact, the last time the Aggies played a nationally televised game was May 23, 2010 when they lost to the Wildcats for the MEAC Championship in a tape-delayed broadcast at Jackie Robinson Park in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The Aggies are anticipating an exciting series with major postseason implications, which makes the Friday telecast all the more meaningful.

"They're the top team in the conference," said Sanchez.   "Everybody knows Bethune-Cookman.  I coached there for a long time, obviously.  We already played them in a series, and we know we can play with them. Most importantly, it's another conference series.  We're still trying to position ourselves for the best possible seed [in the Tournament] and that's the most important. We've got to go out and try to win them one game at a time, and we'll continue to do that."

The Aggies defeated the Wildcats on March 25 in Daytona Beach by a 5-3 final.  It was the first time they defeated B-CU since May 20, 2007.  They hope to make it a winning streak by defeating the Wildcats on Friday.

The Aggies are eager to showcase their abilities and talent, and the program that's being developed in the Gate City to the nation through the ESPNU telecast. 

Joel Sanchez, who is in his first year at the helm of the A&T baseball program, is hopeful that the national exposure will help attract more talented student-athletes to the university.

"It's not the first time the program's been on TV.  We like the exposure and we get to go nationwide [with the telecast].  We are recruiting kids out of state. We've talked to a few recruits that know [about the Friday's game] that we're trying to get," he said.  "We're not just recruiting in the state of North Carolina.  Hopefully it helps and gets the name out there-North Carolina A&T State University. "

Junior outfielder Andre McKoy, who took a minute to promote the team's appearance at the 2012 A&T All-Sports Banquet on Monday, is excited not just because of the rivalry aspect, but what being on national TV means for the program in terms of building a fan base.

"It's going to be big time.  It gets us exposure.  It'll encourage people to come to the games and support us," he said.  

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