COLUMBIA, S.C. – North Carolina A&T baseball’s historic weekend carried over into this week.
Days after sweeping Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Bethune-Cookman for the first time, the Aggies earned one of the biggest upset wins in program history by defeating the University of South Carolina, 2-0 Tuesday night at Founders Park.
The Aggies beat a Gamecocks program out of the Power Five conference SEC with two national championships, six College World Series championship game appearances
More importantly, the Aggies (15-9) have won five straight which also included a rare win over crosstown rival UNC Greensboro. All five wins have come away from the Aggies home, War Memorial Stadium.
Junior RHP Michael Johnson proved his worth to the Aggies program. After missing his customary weekend start, Johnson got back to work on Tuesday and devoured some valuable innings for the Aggies.
He pitched five innings of shutout baseball giving up only three hits, walking two and striking out five. Johnson improved to 4-1 on the season thanks in part to excellent work by the relievers who followed him on the mound. Senior RHP Leon Davidson pitched two innings of hitless baseball while walking two and striking out three.
Senior RHP Roberto Negron tossed an inning of relief giving up one hit and striking out one. Senior RHP Leon Hunter picked up his fourth save of the season by pitching a scoreless inning that included him striking out two.
N.C. A&T managed only four hits against Gamecocks pitching with senior A.J. Hunt recording two of those hits. Hunt also drove in a run along with reigning MEAC rookie of the week Tony Mack.
The Aggies upset win was aided by a productive two-out third inning rally. All the runs were produced with two strikes on the batter. Junior Dustin Baber walked on a 3-2 pitch delivered by USC starter Dylan Harley. Mack then doubled through the left side on an 0-2 pitch to score Baber for a 1-0 advantage.
Hunt ripped a 1-2 pitch through the left side to score Mack to give the Aggies all the runs they would need.
The Gamecocks were able to put runners on second and third in the third inning, but Johnson pitched his way out of it. Gamecock runners reached second and third in the fourth inning before Johnson escaped again.
USC did double off Hunter in the ninth inning to put the tying run at the plate. Luke Berryhill moved to third on a groundout before Hunter struck out the last two batters he faced to secure the historic victory.
N.C. A&T will have to do it all over again on Wednesday as they face another Power Five team in N.C. State at 6 p.m., at First National Bank Field, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Admission is $5.