Aggies Comeback Attempt Falls Short
Thu, May 9
EAST GREENSBORO -- North Carolina A&T baseball nearly pulled off a masterful comeback Thursday night against Florida A&M in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play at War Memorial Stadium.
But the come-from-behind effort came up short as the Rattlers defeated the Aggies 9-7. The win puts the Rattlers (22-29, 14-8 MEAC) in a first-place tie with the Aggies (26-22, 14-8 MEAC) for MEAC Southern Division supremacy.
The two teams will close out their respective regular seasons Saturday afternoon when they face each other in a 1 p.m., doubleheader at War Memorial. The winner of the three-game series could be the No. 1 seed out of the south heading into the MEAC Championship Baseball Tournament, May 15-18, in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The Rattlers got off to a fast start Thursday scoring four runs on five hits, including two doubles, in the second inning. FAMU took a 9-1 lead in the eighth inning as two groundouts led to two runs and a throwing error led to another run.
N.C. A&T then began its long march back. It started with junior Cam Williamson being hit by a 1-2 pitch by reliever Morgan Mendez. Junior Ryne Stanley put two on by singling through the right side. Junior Jarrett Norman loaded the bases by earning a walk.
Sophomore Zach McLean brought home Williamson with an RBI sacrifice fly cutting the Rattlers lead to seven. Freshman Tony Mack kept the inning going with an RBI single to score Stanley.
FAMU turned to Jamie Grant in an effort to slow down the Aggies, but Grant started his outing by walking junior Dustin Baber. With the bases loaded, senior Jason King ripped a two-run RBI single between third and short scoring Mack and Norman to get the Aggies within four, 9-5.
Senior Dawnoven Smith kept the rally going with a single to reload the bases. Rattlers closer Jeremiah McCollum then entered the game and unleashed a wild pitch scoring Baber to make it a 9-6 game. The inning finally ended on a flyout by Williamson.
Senior RHP Leon Davidson kept the Rattlers scoreless in the ninth giving the Aggies a chance to continue their comeback effort.
Norman was able to reach when McCollum hit him with a 2-0 pitch with one out. Norman went to second on a wild pitch to set up a two-out, RBI pinch-hit double by freshman Scott Meitzler to put the Aggies down two. But the game ended on a Mack groundout.
Mack led the Aggies by going 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. King was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Stanley had two hits and scored twice.
Senior RHP Tim Luth (7-3) lost his first conference game of the season to fall to 6-1. Kyle Coleman (4-5) got the win and McCollum got the save (11). Kaycee Reece had three RBI for the Rattlers.