HIGH POINT-After taming the Savannah State Tigers on Sunday, the North Carolina A&T baseball team was able to put down the High Point Panthers 7-5 on Wednesday evening Coy O. Williard Stadium. It was their third straight win-the longest winning streak they have posted this season.
"It was good momentum we hope to take it into the weekend. We started off against Savannah State on Sunday, and we've got to keep that going," said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez. "We're starting to put some things together. Offensively we're swinging the bat well.
The Aggies (10-18) tallied 15 hits off seven HPU (20-12) pitchers, including four-hit games from Marquis Riley and Michael Radford. Sophomore Luke Tendler also homered in the contest.
"That was a good job by the offense, especially after the many changes [HPU] kept coming in there with," said Sanchez. "They had a staff day, I guess. It's tough to get into a rhythm against somebody when they're changing guys all the time. But we did."
The Aggies got to freshman HPU starter Will Resnik early. Resnik was making his first start after 15 appearances from the bullpen. He lasted only 1.1 innings, gave up four hits, three runs (two earned) and walked three. A&T's starter fared much better.
Torrellas tossed 6.0 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits for his first victory of the season.
"Our pitcher came out and threw strikes for the most part. He started off a little rough and settled down and kept guys off balance," Sanchez said.
HPU tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the third on an RBI double by Sal Pezzino and an RBI single by Ryne Rush. The Aggies regained the lead for good in the next inning. After Radford led things off with a bunt single, Wigmore walked the three batters to allow the Aggies to make it a 4-3 game.
The Aggies kept extending their lead, getting back-to-back singles from freshman designated hitter Colby Keene and Radford to start the fifth frame. Both runners advanced into scoring position on a passed ball while McKoy was at the plate. McKoy hit a two-run RBI single up the middle to put A&T ahead 6-3 with one out. The Aggies had an opportunity to do more damage as Riley singled up the middle to put runners on the corners. But HPU called on Adam Pratson to take on Freeman, who struck out swinging to end the inning.
A&T then had to wait before claiming victory. Inclement weather plagued the contest throughout. Batting practice and infield/outfield practice before the game was postponed due to lightning in the area. While the game started on time, rain returned at 8:18 p.m., as the two teams headed into the bottom of the seventh.
When play resumed at 9 p.m., righty reliever Andrew Cook took the mound.
The Panthers loaded the bases to start the seventh, before Cook was able to get Willie Medina to fly out to right. Then Pezzino hit the ball toward first. Freeman made a great grab to his right to keep the ball from going into right field for a hit. One run scored on the groundout play to make it 6-4, but Freeman saved a couple of runs with his defense.
"It was a big defensive play. He happened to be playing in the right spot and that did kill the momentum for them a little bit," Sanchez said of Freeman's grab.
In the top of the eighth, Tendler got the run back by slamming a 2-0 pitch about 330 feet over the right field wall to make it a 7-4 game. It was his second home run of the year.
But HPU added a run in the eighth and put the tying run on in the ninth. Cook got Rush to fly out to right to secure the win for the Aggies, and to collect his third save.
The Aggies will be home for the Easter holiday weekend, hosting the Florida A&M Rattlers in a three-game conference series. The Aggies and Rattlers will play in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., on Saturday and will play the finale at 1 p.m., on Sunday at War Memorial Stadium.