SAVANNAH, Ga. – North Carolina A&T baseball had to play two games on Sunday after having the second game of a three-game Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) series against the Savannah State Tigers postponed on Saturday because of inclement weather.
The Aggies lost the make-up game 2-1 at Tiger Field, but they did win the regularly scheduled game for Sunday, 8-3 in seven innings to win two out of three from the Tigers. N.C. A&T (25-21, 13-7 MEAC) split the season series with SSU, 3-3.
More importantly, the Aggies remain in first place in the MEAC Southern Division, a game ahead of Florida A&M (21-28, 13-8 MEAC) in the loss column with the Rattlers coming to Greensboro this weekend for a three-game series at War Memorial. The No. 1 seed out of the south will receive a bye at the 2019 MEAC Baseball Championship Tournament, May 15-18, in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Savannah State (10-24, 8-13 MEAC), who is in a struggle with Bethune-Cookman and N.C. Central to qualify for the MEAC tournament out of the south, had excellent pitching on Sunday until the seventh inning of the second game.
Trailing 3-1 and with inclement weather pending, Zach McLean opened the Aggies seventh by reaching on an error followed by a walk surrendered to senior Brandon Melendez. Freshman Tony Mack also reached on an error that allowed McLean to score to cut the Tigers lead to 3-2.
The Tigers turned to Matthew Shunk to replace starter Tyler Robison with the Aggies threating. But junior Dustin Baber kept N.C. A&T’s momentum going with an RBI single that scored Melendez to tie the game.
A bunt single by senior Jason King scored Mack to give the Aggies their first lead of the day. Robison’s wild pitch allowed King and Baber to move into scoring position for Dawnoven Smith who was intentionally walked to load the bases with no one out.
Junior Jarrett Norman made the Tigers pay for the intentional walk and errors with a three-run RBI double down the left field line that cleared the bases and gave the Aggies a 7-3 advantage. Norman eventually moved to third on a wild pitch which led the Tigers to turn to Ian Concevith on the mound.
Concevitch struck out junior Ryne Stanley but gave up an infield single to junior Shane Faulk that scored Norman from third to put the Aggies ahead 8-3.
SSU did get to hit in the home seventh as the faced off against RHP Leon Hunter who entered the game in relief. Hunter was sidetracked by two Aggie errors, but when Christian Harkey hit into a double play it put the Aggies in position to claim victory.
SSU’s Jalen Atterbury ended Game 2 by flying out to left. Senior Leon Davidson (3-0) got the win in relief for N.C. A&T after earning the save the day before. Junior Michael Johnson started the game and went five innings striking three.
Robison (2-5) took the loss. Baber and Norman had two hits apiece for the Aggies while Justin Washington drove in two runs for the Tigers.
In the first game, the Aggies and Tigers started in the fourth inning because that’s when Saturday’s game was stopped. The Tigers led 2-0 behind the pitching of Caleb Hill. Hill would go on to pitch a complete-game two-hitter while striking out five.
The only run he surrendered came in the fourth on Sunday when junior Cam Williamson hit an RBI sac fly to score King who reached on a leadoff triple.
Junior Evan Gates got the loss (4-3) while Hill improved to 2-4. Atterbury had two hits for the Tigers.
N.C. A&T’s series against the Rattlers starts 6 p.m., Friday at War Memorial Stadium.