North Carolina Central Eagles Walk Off Again In Doubleheader Sweep Of NJIT

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DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central University walked off for a win for the third time this year, and the Eagles took both games of a doubleheader with NJIT, 4-3 and 7-3 on Saturday, March 4 at the Durham Athletic Park.

NJIT (2-6) scored first in game one on a double steal in the top of the second, and NCCU (6-4) responded in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back doubles from Carter Williams (Brown Summit, N.C.) and Corey Joyce (Lexington, N.C.) to move the Eagles ahead 2-1.

The Highlanders regained the lead with runs in the sixth and seventh frames on a double from Tom Brady (Brookfield, Conn.) and a solo home run from Matthew Cocciadiferro (Dumont, N.J.) to go ahead 3-2, but the Eagles promptly tied it on an RBI single from Ellington Hopkins (Lansing, N.Y.).

The score remained level at 3-3 going to the ninth, and the Eagles were able to load the bases for Dominic Cuevas (Gurnee, Ill.) who laced a single up the middle to bring in the winning run.

NJIT jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first frame of game two, on a deep two-run double to center from Johnny Malatesta (Vineland, N.J.).  Conrad Kovalcik (Detroit, Mich.) halved the deficit on a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the second, but the Highlanders made the lead two again on an RBI groundout in the top of the third at 3-1.

The Eagles worked back to level ground with runs in the third and fourth innings with an RBI single from Joyce before tying the game on a wild pitch.  NCCU was able to take the lead for good in the bottom of the ninth as the Eagles sent nine to the plate and racked up four runs on four hits and an error committed by NJIT.

The deciding blow came from Zach Michalski (Belews Creek, N.C.) who lifted a bases-clearing three-run double to right center to give the Eagles the advantage, and he was driven in on a double from Evan Holland (Erial, N.J.).

With the walkoff in game one, Justice Sampson (Lumberton, N.C.) became the pitcher of record for the fourth time this season and improved his record to 4-0 which is a new season career-high for him.

Devin Sweet (Greensboro, N.C.) also set a new career-high with nine strikeouts tossed in 5.1 innings during game two, which is tied for the sixth-most in the modern era at NCCU.

At the plate, Kovalcik went 4-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored in game two, and Holland was 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in the same game.  In game one, Joyce went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.

The Eagles will go for the weekend sweep on Sunday, March 5, with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at the Durham Athletic Park.  Admission is free.

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