Leaving 12 men on base, getting picked off or caught stealing three times and committing two errors usually isn’t a formula for success.
It was only the sixth time in 53 meetings between the schools that the Aggies earned a win. DarAmani Smith went six innings on the hill for North Carolina A&T, allowing one run on six hits to get the victory. Elon sophomore Tyler Manez gets saddled with the loss, lasting four and one-thirds innings and giving up five runs (two earned) on four hits with two strikeouts.
The Aggies jumped on the Phoenix with three runs in the first inning. Ryan Hill tripled to left field to begin the inning and then Brandon Mitchell reached when Elon junior left fielder Casey Jones dropped a fly ball. Hill scored on that play for the game’s first run.
A walk and a single loaded the bases, then Lester Salcedo brought in a run via sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice brought in another.
North Carolina A&T held the Phoenix scoreless until the seventh, but not without a fight. Elon had runners reach base in every inning but failed to bring them around.
The Aggies added another in the third inning. The first two hitters reached base, but the next two flied out and struck out. After a passed ball, a throwing error by Elon catcher Chris King allowed Tendler to score and increase the A&T lead to 4-0.
Elon finally scored in the seventh inning. The Phoenix loaded the bases to start the inning when junior shortstop Andy Moore walked and junior Quinn Bower and senior Sebastian Gomez singled. Moore scored on a groundout by Jones and Bower came around after an error by the third baseman. A fielder’s choice to the same spot scored Gomez.
Despite getting two on base in the eighth and one in the ninth, the Phoenix could not solve the Aggie pitching staff. Brian Poag earns the save after going the final inning and two-thirds without giving up a run or a hit.
For Elon, sophomore Brandon Kacer and freshmen Mike Krill and Chris Hall held the Aggies scoreless for the final three and two-thirds innings. At the plate, Jones was 2-for-4 with one run batted in.
The Phoenix falls to 6-2 on the season. Elon hosts the annual Elon Invitational Feb. 28-March 2 at Latham Park. Teams coming to town include St. Joseph’s University, High Point University, and Gardner-Webb University.