NCCU lands 3 on all-MEAC team; falls in baseball tourney opener
North Carolina Central University landed three student-athletes on the All-MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) squads headlined by freshman Carlos Ortiz (Cleveland, Ohio) who earned both Rookie of the Year and second team honors, while Tyson Simpson (Burgaw, N.C.) was placed on the first team and Carter Williamson (Roanoke, Va.) was on the second team, the league announced Wednesday.
Ortiz becomes the first Eagle in the modern era to earn Rookie of the Year honors as the second team outfielder ripped through the league batting .318 overall, but was an exceptional .392 against MEAC competition. His six home runs were second on the team as he hit four of those bombs in league play. His two home run contest against Florida A&M back on April 27 was a key factor in the maroon and gray’s 15-11 comeback victory over the Rattlers.
“For a freshman to put together a season like Carlos has is very impressive,” said NCCU head coach Jim Koerner. “He has a strong desire to be great and the work ethic to match. He has a good understanding of what it takes to play the game at a high level and has earned this recognition.
Simpson has enjoyed his best season at-the-dish in his senior year as he earned first team honors at third base after batting .353 on the year (11th in the MEAC) with 10 doubles, two home runs, and 35 RBI. Throughout most of the season, Simpson resided in the MEAC’s Top 10 in batting average and one of his best moments of the year came in the series-opening win over Florida A&M in Durham, N.C. with his game-winning three run homer to take the contest 8-5. Entering the week Simpson has put together one of the best careers in the modern with the most home runs (8), second in runs scored (103), second in doubles (30), third in hits (179), and second in RBI (103).
“I believe we all saw what Tyson is capable of when he’s healthy,” said Koerner. “He put together great at-bats all year and has been impressive from start to finish. It’s great to see him recognized for his performance.”
Williamson landed on the second team at the designated hitter position also enjoying career-best marks hitting .363 (10th in the MEAC) in his final year, while topping the team with 42 RBI (third in the MEAC). Williamson is the second Eagle to record 40 or more RBI in a season twice in a career and is number one in the modern era of the program with 135. In conference action, he’s batting a ridiculous .415 at-the-dish.
“Carter has seen the ball extremely well all year and has again proven to be a clutch hitter,” said Koerner. “His season has been one of the best this program has seen in a while. This honor was well deserved.”
NCCU FALLS IN MEAC OPENER, TO FACE UMES TODAY
BY CHRIS HOOKS, NCCU Athletics
NORFOLK, Va. — In opening round action of the 2014 MEAC Baseball Tournament Wednesday, North Carolina Central University dropped a 6-1 ballgame to the second seed from the North Division Norfolk State after the Spartan pitching staff held the Eagles to four hits, while the maroon and gray left eight men stranded on Wednesday morning at Marty Miller Field in Norfolk, Va.
The loss sends NCCU (18-32-1, 12-12 MEAC) to the loser’s bracket as the Eagles will face Maryland Eastern Shore Thursday, May 15 at 9 a.m.
Through the first four innings, NCCU managed just one hit, but left a runner stranded in three of the four frames. The maroon and gray finally cracked the scoreboard in the fifth inning on senior Zack Lee’s RBI single that drove in sophomore Kory Wood who recorded a one out walk.
Senior Carter Williamson’s leadoff double to leftfield in the fifth inning seemed to get the maroon and gray rolling as Williamson advanced to third on redshirt junior Eric Kimber’s (Greensboro, N.C.) fly ball to centerfield. The next two batters could not get the Eagles on the board in the frame as Bryant Battle (Greenville, N.C.) grounded out and sophomore Christian Triplett (Wilkesboro, N.C.) struck out swinging.
Senior righty Terry McNabb settled in after the fast NSU start and shut down the Spartans from the third inning all the way till the seventh when an NCCU error allowed Norfolk State to make it 4-1.
A two out rally by the Spartans in the bottom of the eighth that began with a Cameron Day bloop single, followed up by Ross Cardwell’s RBI double, and Cody Ellis’s first RBI triple of the year to make it 6-1 in favor of Norfolk State.
In the first two frames, Norfolk State came out swinging with six hits to take a 3-0 advantage on the Eagles. Andre Moore’s leadoff triple along with Zach Markel’s RBI double got the Spartans rolling in the first inning, while Moore’s RBI single was followed up by Chase Kyriacou’s RBI single as well.