GREENSBORO-It was a rough day for the North Carolina A&T baseball team, as Gardner-Webb defeated the Aggies 16-5 on Wednesday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (6-1-1) totaled 16 hits, including a pair of home runs and five doubles, against the Aggies (3-5). The Aggies, who managed just five hits in Sunday's doubleheader against Marshall, bounced back on Wednesday with 11 hits, but left five stranded against Gardner-Webb.
"It was a rough outing. We've got to have a short memory. We've got to get ready to play the opening series in conference play against N.C. Central," said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. "This game is over with, we'll move on and hopefully we learn we've got to be ready."
A&T designated hitter Cameron Jergens extended his hitting streak to a team-best seven games with three hits. Senior first baseman Kelvin Freeman also contributed three hits, while junior second baseman Luke Tendler had two.
The Aggies pulled within two runs at 7-5 in the seventh inning, but Gardner-Webb posted seven runs in the ninth to put the game away for good.
"We've got two on Saturday. We got to have a new attitude. We can't show up out here and expect to hit a button and play good baseball. We have to be ready. We have to clear this one out of our system quick," Sanchez said.
Freshman Kirby Whicker made his first career start for the Aggies on Wednesday. The Runnin' Bulldogs pulled ahead 3-0 in the top of the second on a three-run home run to left field by designated hitter Sam Fulginti. A two-run shot by catcher John Harris in the top of the third put G-WU ahead by five runs.
The Aggies were behind six runs before they were able to bring home any runs. Freeman hit his second homer of the year to make it a 6-1 ballgame in the fourth. Jergens and right fielder Dairio Little followed him on base with back-to-back singles. Sophomore Bo McMillan brought home both runners with a double to left field to pull A&T within three.
An RBI single by Brad Collins gave G-WU a 7-3 lead in the top of the seventh. But the Aggies worked to cut the deficit.
Shortstop Jeovanny Tolentino scored the Aggies fourth run in the bottom of the seventh as Tendler reached on an error. Freeman then singled to put runners on the corners with one out for Jergens. Jergens singled through the left side to make it a 7-5 game.
The Runnin' Bulldogs continued to get the better of A&T relievers. A two-run RBI double by shortstop Ryan Hodge put the Bulldogs up 9-5 in the top of the eighth. G-WU scored seven runs in the ninth-five off Andrew Cook and two off Joshua Thompson.
The Aggies will play their first road series this weekend, opening up conference play at N.C. Central in Durham Athletic Park. The Aggies will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday and are scheduled to play the series finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday.