GREENSBORO—The search for a strong start in a midweek game will continue as the North Carolina A&T baseball team fell behind early in a 10-2 loss to Campbell on Tuesday evening at War Memorial Stadium.
“It’s tough to deal with playing from behind early. This midweek routine--we keep playing from behind early and it’s tough,” said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. “We play some good teams who are fundamentally sound. You can’t make mistakes and you can’t walk guys and you’ve got to make them swing the bat.”
A&T was not able to convert scoring opportunities, as they stranded eight runners in the game, including two apiece in the last two innings. The Aggies allowed six walks and hit three batters total on the night.
The Fighting Camels (24-5) took advantage of some struggles by A&T starter junior right-hander Justin Godette, as he allowed six runs, all earned, on three hits with three walks and two hit batters in 3.0 innings.
The Camels took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, as an RBI double by catcher Will Albertson gave Campbell their first run of the game. Later in the inning, left fielder Jesse Simmons scored on a wild pitch.
With runners on the corners and no out in the fourth, A&T called upon freshman Joshua Thompson to pitch. He walked three straight batters, allowing two Campbell runs to score. Another run scored as Michael Felton hit into a double play. Thompson got Elijah Trail to fly out to end the inning, with Campbell ahead by 7-0.
Thompson retired the next six batters he faced and held Campbell scoreless for three innings, giving the Aggies a chance to come back.
“That was good to see. We need more guys to be able to come in and eat up some innings and be usable, and keep us in ballgames,” Sanchez said.
Campbell starter Paul Eyster walked left fielder Brandon Wilkerson and second baseman Jeovanny Tolentino to start the A&T sixth. Sophomore right fielder Dylan Hipp collected a bunt single to load the bases for first baseman Kelvin Freeman. Freeman hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Trevor Lane to right to end the shutout. Both base runners advanced on a wild pitch while designated hitter Cameron Jergens was batting. Jergens hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it a 7-2 ballgame. Campbell added three runs on three hits and an error in the eighth.
Tolentino singled through the right side to start the eighth. Hipp then walked, but both runners were left on the bases as Campbell retired the next three batters. Two Aggies got on base in the ninth with two out, but Tolentino hit into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
The Aggies (9-19) will host Radford on Wednesday at 6 p.m., at War Memorial Stadium, and will look to gain some momentum before welcoming archrival N.C. Central to town for a three-game weekend series.