DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – North Carolina A&T got a rare sweep of Bethune-Cookman in baseball thanks to a game-winning RBI single by senior Dawnoven Smith that led the Aggies to an 8-7 win over the Wildcats in 11 innings Sunday at Jackie Robinson Park.
Smith’s hit gave the Aggies their first sweep of B-CU dating back as late as the 1990 season. Smith had a big day going 3-for-6 with three RBI while freshman Tony Mack had a breakout game by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI.
Senior right-hander Roberto Negron was excellent in relief for the Aggies while fellow senior Leon Hunter (2-1) picked up the win.
The Aggies improved to 14-9 overall and 5-1 in the MEAC with all five wins coming on the road. It took a ninth-inning rally, however, to even get the game into extra innings.
With the Aggies trailing 7-6, Mack opened the ninth with a single and moved to second on a single by junior Dustin Baber. Junior Shane Faulk moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Senior A.J. Hunt loaded the bases which led to a bases-loaded walk given to junior Cam Williamson to tie the game at 7.
The inning ended when Smith hit into a double play sending the game into the bottom of the ninth for the Wildcats.
B-CU had to face Negron in the ninth and did not turn out well for them. He retired the Wildcats to send the game into extra innings. The Aggies failed to score in their half of the 10th while the Wildcats put together a serious threat in their 10th.
Negron was replaced by Hunter in the 10th after he opened the frame by walking Chase DeBonis. Negron left the game after pitching 4 1/3 innings without giving up a run on two hits, two walks while striking out two.
N.C. A&T’s troubles increased after Negron left when Zach Spivey reached on an error. DeBonis and Spivey moved into scoring position on a sac bunt. The Aggies then walked Brady Van Hook intentionally which turned out to be a smart move because Nate Sterijevski into an inning-ending double play to send the game into the 11th.
Smith’s heroics was set up by a leadoff single by Baber. Baber stole second to move into scoring position. Baber moved 90-feet from scoring the go-ahead run when he moved to third on a groundout by Faulk. After a Hunt strikeout and a walk to Williamson, Smith stepped up and got Baber home with an infield single.
B-CU (9-15, 3-6 MEAC) did get the winning run to the plate after Over Torres singled to right field. But Josten Heron ended the game by hitting into a double play. Isaak Gutierrez (0-1) took the loss.
The Aggies jumped out to a 5-0 lead after a five-run third. B-CU rallied with three in the fourth and four in the fifth to take a 7-5 lead. Mack had an RBI single in the sixth to get the Aggies to within one before the Aggies were able to tie the game in the ninth.
DeBonis led the Wildcats by going 2-for-3 with three RBI. N.C. A&T returns to action 7 p.m., Tuesday when they travel to baseball power South Carolina to play the Gamecocks.