ELON – Elon avenged its earlier loss to North Carolina A&T back in February by defeating the Aggies 10-2 Tuesday night at Latham Park.
In defeat, the Aggies (11-17) did get a strong pitching performance from Junior Dylan Hipp. In his first appearance of the season, the left-hander threw two scoreless innings of relief without giving up a hit. But the Aggies once again suffered from an inability to get anything going offensively as they dropped their fifth straight.
“When you only get three hits and you walk nine batters, you’re not going to win too many games,” said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. “We wanted to put (DarAmani) Swift out there and have him eat up a lot of innings for us. But it just didn’t work out that way for us.”
Swift, who has had some good moments for the Aggies pitching during the middle of the week, struggled with his control on Tuesday. He walked five Phoenix batters and was gone by the third inning. He left trailing 1-0 with the bases loaded and one out. RHP Joshua Thompson looked to settle things down a bit as he got Tyler McVicar to hit an RBI groundout to third for the second out of the inning.
But Nick Zammarelli cleared the bases with a two-run RBI double over the head of Aggies center fielder Ryan Hill to give the Phoenix a 4-0 edge. Blaine Bower then took Thompson’s 0-1 pitch and dropped into right field to score Zammarelli for a 5-0 Elon lead.
A&T’s only two runs of the ball game came in the seventh without the benefit of a hit. Brandon Wilkerson led off the inning with a walk of Elon Mike Krill. An error at shortstop allowed Kyle Clary to reach. In an odd way, Brandon Mitchell moved both runners into scoring position as his groundball to first bounced off the front of the bag and slowly into the hands Tucker Norton as he stepped on the bag for the out.
Hipp, who started the game in right field, followed by hitting the first pitch he saw from Krill to the right-field warning track. As D.J. Paone floated back to make the catch, he dropped the ball for a three-base error. Wilkerson and Clary scored to avoid the shutout.
LHP Swift (1-4) picked up the loss, while Lettas (1-0) pitched six scoreless innings, walked two, struck out three and only gave up two hits. Casey Jones was 2-for-2 with two RBI for Elon (18-10). Zammarelli drove in three runs on two hits.
The Aggies return to action Wednesday night when they travel down Market Street to face UNCG at 6 p.m.