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Two Walk-Off Moments Lead To Two A&T Losses

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 04/22/2012
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Dairio Little went 2-for-4 in Game 2 of the Aggies doubleheader at Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium on Saturday. Photo by Kevin L. Dorsey
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information

FARMVILLE, Va.-Saturday's baseball games at Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium featured two walk-off moments for Longwood as it swept a doubleheader from North Carolina A&T. The Lancers took the first game 4-3 in 11 innings, and then repeated the feat in Game 2 by winning 4-3 in their last at-bat in the seventh.    

The Aggies (13-26) went down to the wire for the third straight game this week.  They will look to get over the hump on Sunday as they host the Lancers (21-17) for a twin bill starting at 1 p.m.

"We put ourselves in a situation to get one or both and we didn't," said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez.  "We gave ourselves the chance to win both of them.  Really that's the bottom line.  We came out on the losing end of both of them."

The Aggies nearly won Game 2, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. 

A&T slugger Marquis Riley tied the game at 2 with an RBI single to right field, scoring senior Carvell Copeland.  Luke Tendler then hit it into what looked like a double play.  Longwood put out Riley at second.  But when Longwood shortstop Matt Dickason threw the ball to first base, no one was covering.  The ball sailed to the fence, allowing Tendler to advance to second.  

Mark Nales then stepped up to the plate and slammed an RBI double to the left-center field wall to give A&T the lead. 

Longwood responded in its half of the seventh.  Reliever Dylan Hipp walked the leadoff batter Robby Newman.  Delk then doubled to center field, which brought home Newman to tie the game t 3. The Aggies then called on right-hander Andrew Cook to keep order.  He got Joey Varaksa to go down swinging, before intentionally walking Alex Owens to put two on with one out for Travis Biddix. 

Cook walked Biddix to load the bases, and put the go-ahead run at third. The walk proved costly. Designated hitter Conner Hall hit a sacrifice fly to right to score the game-winning run and end the game.

"It was a good fight," Sanchez said. 

The good fight began in Game 1. With the Aggies trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning, Riley earned a one-out walk, and stole second as Tendler struck out swinging. First baseman Kelvin Freeman extended his hitting streak to 10 games by singling up the middle off the glove of pitcher Aaron Myers to bring home Riley, making it a 3-3 contest.  Little grounded out to third with the go-ahead run on first to end the rally.

The Aggies ran into trouble in the bottom of the ninth.  Nine-hole hitter Zach Jordan reached first and took second on a throwing error by Radford.  He took third on a sac bunt by Matt Dickason.  A&T starter Estarlin Paulino, who allowed three runs on nine hits in 9.0 innings, then intentionally walked Burkett.  With runners at the corners and one out, Lacy hit into a 6-4-3 double play to push the game into extra innings. 

 The Lancers once again threatened and got the winning run within 90 feet for the second straight inning as Newman tripled to right field. But right-hand reliever Joe Mackey got the Aggies to the 11th inning.

After the triple, Mackey intentionally walked the next two batters to load the bases with no out to enable the force at any base.  Mackey  then got the next two batters to pop out before Bobby Shelton struck out looking to end the threat.

A&T again had its chance to take the lead over the Lancers in the 11th as an error and a walk allowed Tendler and Little to reach base. With two on and one out, freshman Bo McMillan grounded out to second.   Both runners advanced into scoring position on the play.  Stefan Jordan then struck out to end the A&T offensive.

In their half of the 11th, the Lancers got the winning run on second base as Bruce Burkett doubled to left-center with one out.  Justin Lacy then hit a walk-off RBI single down the right field line to give Longwood the victory. It was the third time the Aggies have lost in extra innings this season.  

The Aggies had 17 hits on the day, including two by Luke Tendler to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, and they left a combined 15 runners stranded.   The Aggies also had four double plays on the day, using strong defense to help limit the Lancers.

After their doubleheader on Sunday at War Memorial Stadium against Longwood, the Aggies will next be home on Friday, April 27 at noon when they take on Bethune-Cookman in the first of a three-game set.  Friday's game will be televised live on ESPNU.    The Aggies will wrap up the series against the Wildcats with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., on Saturday, April 28 at War Memorial Stadium. 

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