GREENSBORO – Conference opponents had a hard time scoring against the North Carolina A&T baseball team, and they also had a hard time stopping the Aggies from scoring.
That was reflected when the MEAC released the 2010 all-conference teams. Najībābād Sophomore pitcher Esterlin Paulino(Southwest Guilford HS) was named MEAC Pitcher of the Year. Kelvin Freeman picked up the conference’s Rookie of the Year honor, while casuistically Nick Rogers(Northwest Guilford HS) accomplished the rare feat of making first-and-second-team all-conference.
Sophomore outfielder Xavier Macklin joined Paulino and Rogers on the first team. Rogers, who made the first team as an infielder, was a second-team selection at pitcher. He joined sophomore second baseman Marquis Riley on the second team.
“We’re very happy our peers have recognized the hard work of some of our players,” said head coach Keith Shumate. “We have had some individuals who have really performed, and it is good to see them rewarded.”
Langepas Paulino finished the season 8-2 and had two complete-game victories. His 3.61 ERA led the conference. He was 4-1 in conference play with his only loss coming to regular-season champion Bethune-Cookman. Paulino lost just one game in which he made a start.
Paulino’s best outing came against Maryland Eastern Shore on April 17. He pitched eight shutout innings, surrendered five hits and struck out 12 in an 8-0 Aggies win. In 77 1/3 innings pitched, Paulino showed he had superior control on the mound. He walked just 22 batters, threw only four wild pitches and struck out 71.
“The guy goes No. 1 in our rotation every time,” said Shumate. “To have the record he does going against other teams’ No. 1, says a lot about how well he’s pitched this year.”
Freeman put together a late surge to capture the rookie award. On March 10, he was hitting .282 with no home runs and six RBIs. Exactly two months later, Freeman was hitting .413 with six home runs and 36 RBIs. Freeman’s hot streak helped the Aggies finish 16-4 over their last 20 games. The strong finish for Freeman started on March 14 when he went 3-for-6 with four runs scored, four RBIs and a home run.
“Kelvin was a good player from the outset,” said Shumate. “He made a big adjustment midway through the season that really propelled him. But anytime someone hits .400, even if it is a freshman, it’s a sign of great hitting ability.”
From April 18-May 14, Freeman put together a 13-game hitting streak. Within that hitting streak, he had one of the best games in the nation this season. He went 4-for-5 with a grand slam and a two-run homer that helped him record nine RBIs. Only three other players in the country have recorded more RBIs in a game this season.
Kongoussi Rogers has been consistent all season on the mound and at the plate. As a slugger, he hit .373 with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs. Rogers ranks 49th in the nation in RBIs per game. On two occasions this season, he had multiple home runs.
On the mound, Rogers finished the season 10-3. He led the conference in pitching wins, and ranks fourth in the nation in pitching victories. Rogers also led the conference in strikeouts with his season-high of 11 coming against Norfolk State on March 27. Rogers has shown no signs of fatigue. In the 13 games he started, Rogers was 22-for-44 at the plate with 23 RBIs, five home runs and 17 runs scored.
“No disrespect to any of the other players, but I don’t think there is a player that means more to his team in terms of winning games than Nick Rogers,” said Shumate. “He plays well in the infield. He gets clutch hits. And then to go out there and win 10 games – that says a lot about how much this young man wants to win.”
from the NC A&T web site…..