Complete game for Paulino(SWG) as N.C. A&T Aggies win 2nd game at MEAC Tournament

Posted by Andy Durham on May 22, 2010 at 10:19 am under College | Comments are off for this article


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., — Two plays at the plate Friday afternoon went North Carolina A&T’s way and played a big part in the Aggies defeating Norfolk 7-2 in the 2010 MEAC Baseball Tournament at Jackie Robinson Park.

Sophomore starter Esterlin Paulino(Southwest Guilford HS) pitched a complete-game, struck out four and surrendered just one earned run. Offensively, Xavier Macklin and Mark Nales had two hits apiece along with an RBI for each player.

The win improved the Aggies to 30-24. A&T is now in possession of its first 30-win season in school history. A&T advanced to face top-seed Bethune-Cookman Saturday afternoon at 2 in the semifinals. The Wildcats have won 9 out of the last 10 MEAC titles.

A&T earned the right to face the Wildcats thanks in large part to the fourth inning. Things didn’t start out well, however. With a 1-0 lead, the Spartans opened the fourth with a Brandon Hairston infield single. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sammy Serafine.

Cameron Parsons followed with a single to center. Hairston, however, had to pause at second to see if the ball would get past Aggies second baseman Marquis Riley. The hesitation proved costly. Three pitches later, Chris Warren hit a slow groundball to third.

Aggies third baseman Nick Rogers made an outstanding bare hand grab and fired the ball home to throw out Hairston at the plate to keep the lead the at 1. Ryan Wiggins would end the inning by hitting into a force play.

Meanwhile, the Aggies took the momentum from Rogers’ play and scored five runs in their half of the fourth. Xavier Macklin’s RBI double down the left field line tied the game at 1 as Dario Little scored. With the Aggies next batter, Hairston tried to return the favor to Rogers after being thrown out in the previous half inning

He fielded a groundball at first off the bat of Riley. He zipped a throw into home as Rogers sprinted down the third base line. But Rogers slipped in under Parsons’ tag at home to give the Aggies a 2-1 lead.

In contrast to what the play at the plate did to the Spartans’ fourth inning, the play at the plate in the Aggies’ fourth inning seemed to ignite A&T. Kelvin Freeman and Nales followed with back-to-back RBI singles to give A&T a 4-1 lead. Although Lester Rivenbark hit into a double play, it still scored Freeman for the Aggies fifth run of the inning.

Paulino, the 2010 MEAC Pitcher of the Year, benefited from the rest the long inning provided. He gave up just one hit between the fifth and seventh innings. After giving up three hits and a run in the eighth, he returned to pitch a strong ninth to secure his ninth win of the season.

The Spartans were led by Hairston who went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. John Rasberry added two hits. Chase Davenport (4-6) took the loss.

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