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Strong Pitching Helps Herd Take Two From A&T

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 02/24/2013
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A&T third baseman Mark Nales awaits a throw Sunday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies lost both games of a doubleheader against Marshall. Photo by Kevin L. Dorsey
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information

GREENSBORO-The North Carolina A&T baseball team struggled to get things going offensively on Sunday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium, as the Marshall Thundering Herd swept the doubleheader to win the series.  The Herd won the first game 16-3 and defeated the Aggies  3-0 in the second.

"We didn't play well overall," said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez.   "It was a tough game one.  We kept it together, and game two came out again and it turned into a pitcher's duel." 

A&T senior lefty Brent Moore and Marshall's lefty Wayland Moore came out in control in Game 2.

A&T's Moore kept the Herd off the board in the first five innings, retiring nine straight batters starting in the third inning.  Marshall's Moore was just as effective, retiring the first 13 batters he faced. 

Aggie designated hitter junior Cameron Jergens broke up the no-hit bid, the second on the day for the Herd, with a single to right field in the fifth inning.   

The Herd threatened in the top of the sixth, getting consecutive singles with two out. But Moore got designated hitter Alfredo Brito to go down swinging to get out of the frame.  But he had trouble getting out of the seventh inning unscathed.  Marshall scored a run on an RBI double to center field by second baseman Andrew Dundon.  With two on and one out, a two-RBI double to right by Gray Stafford made it a 3-0 contest. 

"They finally broke through and got one key hit.  We thought we were going to get out of the jam with one run, but it kind of just floated over our right fielder's head.  They were three runs that held up.  We couldn't put together a string of hits to get back into the game," Sanchez said. 

The Aggies started to rally in the eighth inning.  Jergens and right fielder Reggie Washington hit back-to-back singles to get the offense started.  James Harris,  who entered the game in the top of the inning to play third, hit a sac bunt to advance both runners into scoring position.  But Herd reliever Kolin Stanley struck out the next two batters to end the rally.

Reliever Tyler Boone, who entered the game in the seventh, retired the Herd in order in the ninth to keep A&T within striking distance.  Closer Matt Margaritonda came in for the save attempt.  With two out, second baseman Luke Tendler walked to keep the A&T hopes alive. But first baseman Kelvin Freeman grounded out to second to end the game.

"Boone was good again in the second game, and gave us a chance to get back in it," Sanchez said.  "We didn't give him any run support, and we didn't play the best defensive game behind him either.  They got to (Brent Moore) just the one inning, and that was it.  So that's the Brent we were expecting.  Hopefully we can give him better run support in the next time out."     

In the first game, Marshall put in a strong showing behind starter Aaron Blair, who kept the Aggies hitless until the sixth inning.  The Herd took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Stafford.  But Marshall opened up the game with a 5-run sixth inning off reliever Jamal Clark to take an 8-0 lead.     

"They had a very good pitcher on the mound.  We had a tough time with him.  He was throwing three, four pitches for strikes and mixing it up and keeping us off balance for a majority of the game," Sanchez said of Blair. 

The Aggies will host Duke on Tuesday at 3 p.m. , and Gardner-Webb on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium before opening up conference play at N.C. Central next weekend. 

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