N.C.A&T Aggies Play Looose, Beat Bethune Cookmen

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NC A&T

DI/MEAC/Baseball

 

N.C. A&T Sports Information

 

GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T head baseball coach Ben Hall had a simple pregame speech before his Aggies team took on Bethune-Cookman Sunday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium. He spoke out about there being so much season remaining that there was no need to get stressed about what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow. Only concern yourselves with what is immediately in front of you and that is playing B-CU on Sunday, he added.

There were no “Four scores and seven years ago,” “Yes we can” or “Free at last, free at last” memorable moments in the speech, but it was effective for Hall’s purposes, a 6-5 MEAC win over the Wildcats to prevent from being swept at home by the Wildcats who won twice on Saturday. Junior Myles Sowell and redshirt sophomore A.J. Hunt led the Aggies. Sowell was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI, while Hunt contributed by going 2-for-3 with three RBI.

Senior right-hander Kaeson Wilson (2-2) gave the Aggies a quality start by going six innings, surrendering four runs and striking out four to get the win. Junior Cutter Dyals pitched the final three innings for the Aggies to pick up his third save of the season. Hall’s speech was motivated by the fact the Aggies came into Sunday’s game losers of seven of their last eight. He wanted to remind his team their recent setbacks did not mean their season was over.

“We play more than 20 some odd games in the conference, so we’re only getting started,” said Hall. “We were putting too much pressure on ourselves and too much emphasis on certain things we can’t control instead of just playing the game. They get the wonderful privilege of playing college baseball. We need to come out and play fun, passionate baseball. I think you saw that from us today.”

N.C. A&T (11-11, 2-4 MEAC) was a more enthusiastic team on Sunday and it showed early. Aggies center fielder Greg White opened the Aggies home half of the first inning with a single to center field before stealing second. Walks to Sowell and junior Adan Ordonez loaded the bases for Hunt who singled to left to score White and Sowell for an early 2-0 lead. Senior first baseman Kyle Clary helped the Aggies add another run in the first with an RBI single to left to score Ordonez.

Bethune-Cookman (17-8, 6-3 MEAC) responded in the third inning as Demetrius Sims and Adonis Lao opened with back-to-back singles. Jameel Edney followed with a double to right center to score Sims. Danny Rodriguez then hit a gigantic blast over the left-field fence to give the Wildcats a 4-3 lead. It was Wilson’s only troublesome inning.

“We weren’t too worried about him,” said Hall after he was roughed up in the third. “He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes, and he was commanding the outer half of the plate. They have great hitters in their lineup, so they’re going to get runs. You’re not going to shut those guys out. But after giving up those runs, he responded by throwing strikes.”

Wilson threw 58 strikes in 92 pitches. His teammates rallied for him quickly in their half of the third. Sowell walked to open the inning and then moved to third when B-CU starter Dontae Lindsay (RHP) made an errant throw to first on a pickoff move. Ordonez made Lindsay pay for the mistake by tying the game at 4 on an RBI sacrifice fly to right.

After both teams went quietly in the fourth inning and B-CU was retired in order their fifth, the Aggies took the lead for good in their fifth. Freshman Camden Williamson opened the inning with a double to left center. Sowell tried to bunt him over, but the combination of his great speed and a bad throw from Lindsay allowed Sowell to reach and move to second, while Williamson scored for a 5-4 Aggies lead. Lindsay compounded his problems by throwing a wild pitch to move Sowell to third. He then walked Ordonez to set up an RBI single by Hunt through the left side for the 6-4 Aggies advantage.

Wilson pitched a strong sixth inning before turning things over to Dyals in the seventh. Dyals gave up his first run of the season as Rodriguez picked up an RBI single to right to score Josten Heron who opened the inning with a double as the Wildcats cut the Aggies lead to 6-5. Dyals settled in and got Jordan Stacy to fly out to left field to close out the inning.

The Wildcats did put the tying run in scoring position in the eighth as Kyle Corbin singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. But he was thrown out at third trying to steal and Chase DeBonis flew out to end the Wildcats’ eighth. Dyals went on to retire the Wildcats in order in the ninth to give the Aggies the win.

N.C. A&T will turn their focus to Duke as the Aggies will travel to Durham to face the Blue Devils 6 p.m., Wednesday at Durham Bulls Stadium. The Aggies return to conference play next weekend when they host Savannah State.

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