GREENSBORO (March 2, 2018) – Bucknell came from behind on Friday to defeat North Carolina A&T baseball 5-4 at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies led for six innings behind the arm of starting right-hand Tim Luth. He registered a season-best seven strikeouts in six innings pitched. The Aggies were hampered by five errors and 14 Bucknell strikeouts. Senior outfielder Myles Sowell went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI.
The Aggies (3-6) controlled things early on with senior second baseman Milton Rivera hitting his first home run of the season, a solo shot to right-center field giving the Aggies a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Bucknell (1-6) tied the game in the second inning off a single to center field by Luke Hartman scoring Tyler Wincig. After a strikeout by Luth, the Bison blasted an RBI single to left field for a 2-1 lead.
N.C. A&T responded with two hits in the second to tie the game at 2. Junior A.J. Hunt led off with a double to center field and later scored on an RBI single to center field by Sowell. Then in the fourth inning sophomore first baseman Zach McLean hit an RBI double to center field scoring senior catcher Adan Ordonez for a 3-2 advantage.
Bucknell pulled together a three-run seventh inning to go ahead 5-3. Two errors combined with an RBI double to deep right field by Dominic Toso brought in Hartman and Evan Madigan for a one-run Bison lead. On the next play a groundout to second base allowed Toso to cross home as the Bison built a two-run cushion.
Sowell’s sacrifice fly to right field in the eighth inning scored Hunt cutting the deficit to one, 5-4. The Aggies were not able to score in the ninth.
“Tough result on a Friday night,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall. “Tim Luth gave us a tough start even though he did not have his best stuff, he pitched through it. We did a great job in the box, but just did not make enough adjustments throughout the game. We have to do a better job with two strikes and putting some balls in play. It is tough to win when you strikeout 14 times in a baseball game. We have to be a little more composed in certain situations, so we can make some routine plays and get ourselves off the field.”
Senior RHP Josh Bottenfield (0-2) suffered the loss going one inning and surrendering two earned runs. Senior RHP Josh Stikeleather closed the game for the Aggies as he pitched two innings and struck out three.
The Aggies and the Bison will play Game 2 of their weekend series on Saturday, at 2 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.