North Carolina Central Eagles Rally To Take Game Three From Iona


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DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central University battled with Iona during the middle innings, but a go-ahead single from freshman Carter Williams (Brown Summit, N.C.) helped the Eagles take game three of the series, 7-5 on Sunday, Feb. 26 at the Durham Athletic Park.

NCCU (3-4) takes one out of three games from Iona (2-1) during the three-day series.

The Gaels threatened multiple times during the early frames, but the Eagle defense kept them in check with critical double plays and NCCU picked off a runner on second base as well.

The scoring started in the bottom of the fourth inning when Conrad Kovalcik (Detroit, Mich.) belted his third home run of the year over the right field wall to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.  However, the Gaels responded with their very next opportunity as they struck for four runs to take a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth, aided by a three-run home run from Lou Matarazzo (Rockville Centre, N.Y.).

NCCU stayed steady and knotted the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the inning as both Williams and Ellington Hopkins (Lansing, N.Y.) knocked RBI singles to level the game.  Iona swung the game back in its favor once again in the following half-inning on an RBI groundout from Jon Budesa (Wayne, N.J.) to give the guests a 5-4 advantage.

The Eagles rose to the challenge once again right after the Gaels took the lead as Hopkins tied the game on a sacrifice fly, and Williams put NCCU ahead for good with an RBI double down the right field line.

Williams added an insurance run for the Eagles in the bottom of the eighth as he stole third and was waved home after a throwing error on the play.

Iona had a chance to put the game through another twist in the bottom of the ninth as the Gaels loaded the bases with just one out, but Marcus Washburn (Chandler, Okla.) was able to get a groundball for the final out, and his first save of the year.

Williams finished the game 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, and Kovalcik was also a big factor as he went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.

Budesa went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for Iona, and Matt Byrne (Cary, Ill.) joined him with two hits with a line of 2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk.

The Eagles will hit the road for the first time this season on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at High Point, with first pitch scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

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