N.C. A&T Aggies Complete Sweep Of Maryland Eastern Shores

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N.C. A&T Aggies

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N.C. A&T Sports Information

 

GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T made sure they did not let an opportunity to get an early-season series sweep slip away. The Aggies scored 11 unanswered runs on Sunday to secure an 11-4 win over Maryland Eastern Shore in non-conference baseball play at War Memorial Stadium.

The Aggies (4-3) are now winners of four straight after sweeping the Hawks (0-6). It is the Aggies first four-game winning streak in three years. A.J. Hunt led the way for the Aggies by going 4-for-4 with two RBI. Three other Aggies had two-RBI afternoons including sophomores Dawnoven Smith, Jason King and senior Timothy Ravare. The last time the Aggies scored double-digit runs in three straight games, all three game against the Hawks during the 2011 season.

“Sundays are all about competitive nature,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall. “There is a tendency for teams to come out and lay down a little bit when you’ve already won the series, but we really challenged them this morning. We wanted to finish strong because when you get a chance to sweep you want to sweep, and the other side, they’re going to come out to compete hard and not get swept.”

Hall’s premonition was correct. The Hawks got Aggies starter Kaeson Wilson (RHP) to throw 61 pitches over the first three innings of the game as Dallas Culotta hit a two-run homer off him in the second inning. Left-hander Jonah Owenby replaced Wilson in the fourth inning and had to pitch out of a jam himself. Fortunately, Owenby got a heads up play from his first baseman Kyle Clary. With runners on second and third after a double steal, Jordan Martin hit a groundball to Ravare at second. Ravare fielded the grounder and tossed the ball to first, but instead of using the throw to touch the first base bag for the out, Clary alertly spotted Joey Nicastro stuck between third and home plate and Tyler Friis caught in between second and third.

Clary quickly threw a laser to shortstop Milton Rivera to get Friis, before Rivera set his eyes on Nicastro, as Rivera fired over to Hunt who fired over to catcher Jarrett Norman for the double play. MDES did score two more runs in the fifth thanks to an RBI double from Jamison Trower who advanced to third on the throw home to get Ryan Rotondo. Tower eventually scored on an Owenby wild pitch to aid the Hawks in taking a 4-0 lead.

“We got off to a slow start, but I was proud of the guys defensively. We didn’t let any of their innings get too big by making mistakes defensively. Our guys stayed with it at the plate and eventually we broke though.”

Clary aided in that effort. After falling behind 0-2 in the count to MDES starter Wesley Martin. Clary took three straight pitches before fouling off Martin’s next two offerings. Martin’s next pitch missed wide, giving Clary the free pass. Martin’s next pitch hit Smith in the helmet to put runners on first and second. Martin, who had thrown four shutout innings to that point, was never the same. Norman doubled down the right-field line to score Clary and Smith.

One out later Ravare singled through the left side to cut MDES’ lead to 4-3. Hunt followed with an RBI double to score Ravare and tie the game. The hit also ended Martin’s afternoon as Evan Bertone came in and got the last two outs of the inning. But the Aggies offense kept coming. Rivera opened the sixth by hitting a pop fly over the outstretched arm of Bertone on the mound. It started a string of three straight singles that allowed Rivera to score. A Jason King groundout to third helped Clary, who singled earlier, to score. Ravare closed out the scoring in the sixth with a single to score Smith for a 7-4 Aggies advantage.

The Aggies posted four unearned runs in the seventh to close out the Hawks. Owenby (1-1) got the win in relief by going four innings, striking out four and surrendering two runs on four hits. Bob Peck (RHP) and Josh Stikeleather (RHP) each pitched an inning of scoreless relief.

“It was great to see our bullpen come in and shutdown their momentum,” said Hall. “I was happy with our guys’ competitive nature all weekend. I’m glad we finished off the weekend the right way.”

N.C. A&T returns to WMS for the next contest as they take on Presbyterian, Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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