N.C. A&T Outlasts Wildcats' Rally in Series Finale, 12-8
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (10-10, 5-4 MEAC) fell to the North Carolina A&T Aggies (8-10, 4-2 MEAC) in the series final at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Sunday in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) baseball action, with the Aggies coming from behind in the middle innings and holding off a late-game Wildcats rally.
All it took was 12 pitches for the Wildcats to get on the board, as right fielder Josh Johnson led off with a grounder and was joined by center fielder Jake Welch, who reached as a hit batter. Both advanced on a Jose Carballo sacrifice bunt. Designated hitter Austin Garcia sent Johnson to the plate with a sacrifice fly to left field, giving B-CU the 1-0 lead.
Shortstop Jordan Robinson extended the Wildcats’ lead in the bottom of the second, scoring on a wild pitch.
The Aggies trimmed the lead in the top of the third, as center fielder Bo McMillan reached base as a hit batter, advanced to second on a pickoff error and reached third on a wild pitch. Shortstop Luke Tendler brought him in for the score on an RBI single to center field.
Trailing the Wildcats 2-1, the Aggies took advantage of four walks in the fourth inning, scoring seven runs on five hits. The Aggies faced three pitchers in the frame and freshman Greg Minier closed out the frame on a flyout to center field.
The Wildcats made a push to draw down the deficit over the next five innings, beginning with a sacrifice fly for left fielder Eros Modena in the bottom of the fifth, bringing in Carballo. Robinson also batted in Garcia on an RBI groundout for two runs in the inning. B-CU added three more runs in the seventh to trim the deficit to just two runs at 9-7, courtesy of a two-run Modena double fired over third base, in addition to a Robinson backside single to bring Modena home.
The Wildcats’ final scoring push came in the eighth, as Modena threaded an RBI triple down the right field line.
Despite the rally, the Wildcats struggled to keep the Aggies off the board, as North Carolina A&T tallied four runs with scores in the sixth, eighth and ninth, maintaining breathing room for the 12-8 N.C. A&T victory, taking the series victory as well, 2-1.
Scott Garner (1-3) takes the loss for the Wildcats, pitching 3.2 innings and striking out five. For the Aggies, Mitchell McQueen (2-3) earned the win, throwing five frames with two strikeouts.
The Wildcats pounded out 13 hits in the conference contest, but 10 free bases via eight walks, and two hit batters, proved too much of an advantage in the Aggies’ favor.
Leading the charge at the plate, Modena went 3-for-4 with four RBI and one run scored. Johnson scored one run and batted three-for-six.
The Wildcats return to action at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Tuesday in a rematch with North Florida. The Ospreys (9-9) earned a 2-1 series victory over conference-mate USC Upstate with a 4-3 win on Sunday in Jacksonville.