EAST GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T Aggies bounced back in a big way in Sunday’s series final against North Carolina Central, beating the Eagles, 9-4, to salvage the series’ draw at War Memorial Stadium in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) baseball.
A&T improves to 17-29 overall and a steady conference entry at 11-11.
Junior left-handed Ethan Chavis (1-3) gave A&T its best start to the year, went 6.0 innings and allowed just two hits with five strikes to win.
“The guys brought the right mentality to the garden today,” said the A&T coach Ben hall. “Ethan got off to a great start. He stepped up when the team needed him most.”
The Aggies enjoyed a 7-1 lead in the eighth inning, but the NCCU would not go away quietly. The Eagles (18-17, 10-10) put together a three-run, three-hit inning, highlighted by junior Cameron Norgren’s three-run homer to the right field.
However, A&T picked up two massive runs in the bottom half of the eighth to push the lead back to five.
Eagles pitcher Scott Meylan picked second year Cameran brantley with a pitch to lead the round. Junior Justin rodriguez Lay down a beautiful sacrificial bundle to move Brantley to others. Junior Justin Williams followed with a double down the left field line, bringing Brantley around third to score.
The Eagles made a pitching change, replacing Meylan with Brenton Fisher. Senior Dustin Baber responded with a lined shot to the left of an RBI single to score Williams to give the Aggies a 9-4 lead.
“Offensively, we scored in a number of ways and put races in all but two innings,” Hall said. “We got the run-and-bundle game going, and the two rebound races on the eighth were big.”
Senior closer Evan Porter (Save, 4), who had entered the game on the seventh in relief, slammed the door of the Eagles in the ninth with three strikes. He threw 3.0 innings of work and allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits with seven strikes.
Rodriguez, Williams and this week’s reigning MEAC player Zach McLean each went 2-for-4 in the game offensively, with Williams and Rodriguez also counting one RBI piece. Sophomore Tony Mack and senior Ryne Stanley had a team-high two RBI piece. Senior Camden williamson drew three turns throughout the game.
“We have a lot to play for here the last couple of weeks,” Hall said. “Every game is great and requires our best mindset.”
A&T takes the trip south down to Tallahassee, Fla., For a four-game set against the Rattlers of Florida A&M starting at 5 p.m., Friday. The series can decide who will earn a place in the MEAC postseason tournament.