GREENSBORO – The extra four days North Carolina A&T had to wait to open its 2014 baseball season must have seemed like an eternity for junior designated hitter Micah Carmony.
Carmony sat out the 2013 season to recover from Tommy John Surgery. He and his Aggies teammates then had to wait out a snow storm last week that led to the cancellation of their three-game series against Temple over the weekend.
Once Carmony finally got a chance to put a bat in his hand in a game situation, he made the most of it. The junior college transfer went 2-for-4 with three RBI including a two-run RBI triple and two runs scored to lead the Aggies to a season-opening 8-6 win over Radford Tuesday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium.
It marked the second straight season the Aggies won their season opener. Carmony received help from freshman third baseman Kyle Clary who went 3-for-4, drove in a run and scored twice. Freshman Ryan Hill, All-American senior Luke Tendler and senior Cameron Jergens had two hits apiece with Jergens driving in two runs.
Before the Aggies bats took control of the game, Radford (1-3) did take a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI sacrifice fly Blake Sipe. A&T scored the next eight runs over the next two innings with a string of consecutive hits. The Aggies momentum started with a one-out walk to junior catcher Ernesto Lizardi by Radford starter Austin Ross in the Aggies second inning.
Clary took the opening to smack his first collegiate hit into the left field corner for an RBI double. Carmony gave the Aggies the lead for good with a single to center for a 2-1 advantage. Carmony moved into scoring position by stealing second. Junior Ryan Hill singled through the left side, but it wasn’t deep enough to score Carmony from second. After Hill moved into scoring position by stealing second, the Highlanders decided to intentionally walk Tendler to face Jergens.
Jergens showed his appreciation by ricocheting a single off of Ross’ foot for a two-run single to give A&T a 4-1 lead. The Aggies scored four more runs in their third highlighted by Carmony’s two-run triple. Hill followed Carmony’s triple with an RBI double, and Tendler closed out A&T’s scoring for the day with an RBI single that scored Hill for an 8-1 A&T lead.
Radford didn’t let A&T get away easy. An error in the fifth gave the Highlanders an opening to score three unearned runs in the fifth to cut A&T’s lead to four, 8-4. Two innings later Hunter Higgerson pulled a two-run, two-out homer over the left field wall against right-hand relief pitcher Brian Poag to make it a two-run game.
Poag then walked Jordan Taylor to putting the tying run on first. But Poag settled in and retired the last seven batters he faced to secure the win for the Aggies. Junior right-hander Charles Cantrell (1-0) picked up the win in middle relief. Ross (0-1) took the loss.
The Aggies are back in action Wednesday afternoon when they travel to Raleigh to face N.C. State at 3.