By Kevin Buczek, Assistant Sports Information Director
DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central University’s baseball program found itself in a tough spot in the top of the ninth inning, but a crucial strikeout from Caleb McRoy (Raleigh, N.C.) helped to seal the season-opening sweep over Army with a 5-4 win on Sunday, Feb. 21 at the Durham Athletic Park.
NCCU (3-0) last won all of its games against a season-opening opponent in 2013 when the Eagles won a doubleheader against NJIT after the first doubleheader of that weekend was canceled, but this is the first time NCCU has won a three-game series against an opponent to start a year. This is also the Eagles’ first 3-0 start since the 2013 season.
Army (0-3) scored first again after a run came in to score on a bases-loaded double play in the top of the first, but the Eagles would go on to score in each of the first four innings.
Luis DeLeon (Providence, R.I.) and Cort Maynard (Charlotte, N.C.) each supplied RBI singles in the first and second innings, respectively, and then Justin Bowers (Yorktown, Va.) crushed his first career home run over the right field fence in the bottom of the third to send the Eagles ahead, 3-1.
DeLeon tripled for his second hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth, and was brought in to score on a single by Cameron Norgren (Cary, N.C.) to send the hosts ahead, 5-1.
Army pulled two runs back in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by Jeremiah Adams (Mattapoiset, Mass.) followed by an error, and then the Black Knights trimmed the lead to one, 5-4, in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Blake Ledoux (Kingwood, Texas).
The Black Knights loaded the bases in the top of the ninth and had the tying run just 90 feet away at third base, but McRoy was able to buckle down and strike out the final batter to tie up a three-inning save.
Both DeLeon and Kokko Figueiredo (Fortuna, Calif.) had two-hit games for the Eagles, and Carter Macias (Ortonville, Mich.) picked up two hits and two walks for Army.
The Eagles as a team outscored Army, 22-9 during the series, and DeLeon drove in five RBI on four hits, and slugged .700 with a double and a triple.
NCCU will next visit Longwood, on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 3:00 p.m.