EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T rallied with a two-run home run only to see Savannah State score late to come away with a 3-2 win over the Aggies in the first game of a three-game Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) baseball series at War Memorial Stadium on Friday.
The Aggies (15-11, 5-2 MEAC) played their first home conference game on Friday after playing their first six MEAC games on the road. They found themselves in a 2-2 tie going into the ninth inning with senior RHP Roberto Negron on the mound throwing heat.
After jumping out ahead of Garrett Bogart 0-2, Bogart hit a sharp groundball back to the mound that bounced off Negron’s glove to freshman second baseman Tony Mack who scooped up the slow roller but could not throw out Bogart at first.
SSU (5-14-1, 4-3 MEAC) replaced Bogart with the speedy Dwayne Franklin. Franklin eventually stole second to move into scoring position. It led to Aaron Straker singling through the right side. Senior Dawnoven Smith’s throw was not in time to throw out Franklin as the Tigers took a 3-2 lead.
Negron struck out Trevor Meaney for the second out of the inning before another single back to the pitcher put Tigers on first and third. The Aggies then turned to senior RHP Leon Hunter who got Luis
N.C. A&T had to face RHP Matthew Shunk in the ninth inning. With two outs, Smith walked to put the go-ahead run at the plate in junior Zach McLean. But McLean hit a deep flyball to left field to end the game.
Right-hander Ian Concevitch (1-1) got the win in relief for SSU while Shunk (3) picked up the save. Negron (0-2) took the loss. Senior RHP Tim Luth got the start and went seven innings, giving up eight hits, two runs and striking out six. His counterpart Luis Torres-Lopez went 6 1/3 innings surrendering six hits, two runs and striking out two.
The Tigers took the lead off Luth in the fifth inning. Again, it was a couple of infield hits that did the Aggies in. After Aaron Straker doubled down the left field line, Meaney and Jalen Atterbury earned infield singles with Atterbury’s infield single leading to a run. Joseph Roberson followed with an RBI single to right to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
McLean had the answer in the sixth inning when he launched a two-run homer over the left field wall to tie the game at 2 before SSU was able to get the game-winning run in the ninth.
Smith led the Aggies by going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Senior Jason King went 2-for-4. The Aggies left 13 runners on base. Atterbury was 3-for-5 for SSU. The two teams play Game 2 Saturday at 3 p.m., at War Memorial Stadium.