GREENSBORO – The 2014 North Carolina A&T baseball team seems to be at its very best when the game goes beyond the scheduled nine innings. For the second time in six days and for the fourth time this season, the Aggies won a baseball game on a walk-off hit in extra innings.
The man in the spotlight on Fridday was freshman Timothy Ravare. The Aggies used his walk-off hit in the 11th inning to down Bethune-Cookman 5-4 in the first game of a doubleheader played at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies lost the second game 3-1.
The Game 1 win, in which the Aggies overcame a 4-1 deficit, helped the Aggies end a six-game conference losing streak. Senior Luke Tendler went 4-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
“We’ve got guys on our team who will battle,” said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez, who saw his team improve to 5-1 in extra innings this season. “They’re going to keep playing until the last out is made. We’ve put together a lot of rallies late to send games into extra innings, and that is encouraging.”
A&T (14-24, 7-10 MEAC) was able to load the bases with no outs in its 11th thanks to a double by Lester Salcedo and walks to senior Cameron Jergens and junior Ryan Hill. The Wildcats (20-22, 12-8 MEAC) turned to right-hander Charles Waltermire to end the Aggies’ threat, and he got off to a roaring start. He struck out redshirt junior Micah Carmony and then Kyle Clary lined out to shortstop for the inning’s second out.
But Waltermire’s luck ran out against Ravare as he ripped a 2-2 fastball into right field to score Salcedo for the game winner.
“It’s been a long stretch since we’ve won a conference game,” said Sanchez. “It was good to start the first game with a win. Our guys competed and battled. We really needed this one and we came from behind to get it.”
Carmony blasted his first home run of the season over the right-field wall in the eighth to bring the Aggies to within two runs at 4-2. Tendler kept the momentum going in the ninth by starting the inning off with a line-drive single off the glove of B-CU right-hand starter Keith Zuniga. After a walk to junior Brandon Wilkerson, Salcedo moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. With power hitter Jergens coming to the plate, the Wildcats replaced Zuniga with LHP Donte Lindsay.
Lindsay didn’t last long. He walked Jergens on four straight pitches to load the bases. He was replaced by RHP Michael Austin who also walked the first batter he faced in Stefan Jordan. The Jordan walked forced in Tendler to move the Aggies to within a run at 4-3. Carmony would tie the game by recording his second RBI in as many innings as his fly ball to left scored Wilkerson on an RBI sac fly.
Dylan Hipp (1-0), who started the game in right field, would pick up the win after pitching a scoreless 10th and 11th inning. Austin (0-2) took the loss.
Tendler had two hits for the Aggies in Game 2, but Wildcats ace Montana Durapau was too strong for A&T. He improved to 8-0 by tossing five innings and giving up just one unearned run. Bryant Munoz went 3-for-3 for the Wildcats in Game 2.
“We faced the best pitcher in the conference and we competed tonight,” said Sanchez after Durapau threw 104 pitches. “We made him throw a lot of pitches and really work. We just couldn’t come up with the timely hits against him.”
The two teams will play again Saturday at 1 p.m., at War Memorial.