GREENSBORO - Luke Tendler is becoming another freshman in a long line of North Carolina A&T baseball freshmen who make an immediate impact on the diamond.
Tendler had another superb day at the plate Tuesday night as he went 3-for-5 with a double, a triple and a home run to lead N.C. A&T to a 16-5 win over S.C. Upstate at War Memorial Stadium. Tendler also added two RBIs and two runs scored.
He leads the team in batting with a .381 average. If he continues to lead the team, it will mark the second straight season a freshman led the Aggies in batting. From John Primus to Joe McIntyre to C.J. Beatty to Tendler, Aggie freshmen under Keith Shumate tend to make a difference.
"I wanted to come in and get adjusted to the pitching," said Tendler. "I had no idea I would be hitting the ball this well."
Almost every N.C. A&T player hit the ball well against the Spartans. Marquis Riley added three hits and four RBIs, and Andre McKoy went 4-for-6 with four runs scored. The Aggies recorded a season-high 16 runs and 22 hits.
N.C. A&T dominated the game from the beginning. The first four Aggies reached base in the first inning. Riley gave the Aggies an early 2-0 lead with a two-run RBI triple to left center field. Kelvin Freeman added another Aggies run with a double down the left field line that scored Riley. Mark Nales closed out the five-run first with a two-run RBI double to give N.C. A&T a 5-0 lead.
An RBI sacrifice fly by Dairio Little gave the Aggies another run in the second before a big four-run fourth inning put the Spartans away. After McKoy scored on a wild pitch, Little reached on an infield single. Tendler drove him home with a triple into the right field corner, giving the Aggies an 8-0 lead. Freeman and Nales would add RBI singles to put the Aggies ahead 10-0.
Left-hander Craig Erskine had his best outing of the season. He pitched six innings, gave up just three hits and struck out two to pick up his first win of the season. Blake Green (0-1), who moved from center field to pitch on Tuesday, took the loss.
The Aggies return to action on Saturday when they travel to Farmville, Va., to play Longwood in a 1 p.m., doubleheader. Longwood will return the game on Sunday when the Lancers play the Aggies at War Memorial Stadium in a 1 p.m., doubleheader.