BLACKSBURG, Va.-The North Carolina A&T baseball team was shutout for the second time this season on Tuesday evening at English Field, falling to the Virginia Tech Hokies by a 6-0 final.
Senior Marquis Riley and sophomore Luke Tendler each had two hits in the contest, accounting for all of the hits by the team. Tendler's two singles extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
The Aggies combined good defense with six innings of shutout baseball, but struggled at the plate on Tuesday.
"We need to put a full game together. That's where we're struggling as a group," said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. "We had a couple opportunities there, we just didn't capitalize."
The Hokies (31-16) took advantage of some early struggles by A&T southpaw Ruben Torrellas, going ahead 4-0 in the first inning on a trio RBI hits, including a two-run home run by right fielder Tyler Horan.
Torrellas then settled down in the next three innings, allowing four hits across those frames.
"[Torrellas] came out and we were still trying to figure out if he was ready to go or not. It looked like he wasn't," Sanchez said. "He came out and struggled with command and struggled to locate, and paid for it early. But then he did settle down and gave us seven quality innings, six after that. He gave us a chance to come back."
The Aggie defense proved strong behind him, as one runner was picked off, and two runners were caught stealing. Left fielder Andre McKoy put out one baserunner at the plate with a strong throw to keep the Hokies off the board.
The Aggies got their first hit in the game in the fourth inning, on a single by Riley. Tendler extended his hitting streak to 17 games on an infield single in the fifth.
In the top of the fifth, the Aggies threatened the Hokies, in their best scoring chance of the night. Tendler recorded a leadoff single. First baseman Kelvin Freeman was walked by VT reliever Ricky Hodges. A&T designated hitter Brandon Wilkerson laid down a sac bunt, but Hodges threw the ball to third baseman Chad Pinder to put out Tendler at third.
With runners on first and second and one out, the Hokies called on Manny Martir to face catcher Stefan Jordan, who reached on an error by Pinder. With the bases loaded, Martir struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam and strand all three runners.
"We're only one hit away in that inning, with the bases loaded and one out, from making it a very interesting ballgame. We just couldn't pull the trigger," Sanchez said. "Give credit to them, they had some good arms. They guys that came in, they matched up righties and lefties, they were good arms. They competed and got the job done."
Torrellas kept dealing, retiring six batters in a row at one point. He tossed a career-high 7.0 innings, and did not allow a run after the first inning.
The Aggies are now 2-33 against the Hokies in program history, and have lost their last five meetings. The last time the Aggies defeated VT was on March 2, 2007 in Blacksburg, Va.
The loss on Tuesday also marked the 10th consecutive loss for the Aggies (13-31, 7-11 MEAC). It's their longest losing streak since they dropped 10 straight from Feb. 26-March 11, 2008, after starting that season 3-0.
The Aggies continue their midweek road trip with a visit to Lynchburg, Va. to take on the Liberty Flames at 3 p.m. tomorrow. The Aggies will host their final home series of the season this weekend, taking on Savannah State in a three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m., and Senior Day on Sunday at 1 p.m.