BOILING SPRINGS — The North Carolina A&T baseball team picked up their third straight series win on Saturday, as they split a doubleheader at Gardner-Webb. A&T lost the first game 4-3 before winning the second 5-1.
The Aggies (13-23) totaled 20 hits on Saturday, including five doubles, against the Runnin’ Bulldogs (20-15-1). Junior Luke Tendler batted 3-for-9 with two doubles and two RBI. Freshman Jeovanny Tolentino led the team with four hits. Junior right-hander Tyler Boone went the distance for the Aggies in the second game, allowing one run on six hits.
The Aggies struck first in Game 2. After four shutout frames, the Aggies scratched a run in the fifth. Sophomore Brandon Wilkerson singled and stole second. He advanced to third as senior Dairio Little laid down a sacrifice bunt. Catcher Stefan Jordan singled up the middle to bring home Wilkerson.
The Aggies rallied again in the fifth when senior Kelvin Freeman had a one-out single. He stole second and designated hitter Cameron Jergens and Wilkerson walked to load the bases. Starter Conner Scarborough then unleashed a wild pitch to score Freeman from third for a 2-0 lead.
The Aggies took a 3-1 lead into the ninth and gained some insurance. Third baseman Mark Nales doubled to left to start the inning. Tolentino then singled to shortstop Ryan Hodge to put two on for Tendler. The A&T shortstop sacrificed to move the runners. Hipp hit into a fielder’s choice, which put Nales out at home. The Bulldogs then intentionally walked Freeman to load the bases with two out. Tolentino scored on a wild pitch, and the Bulldogs walked Bo McMillan and Wilkerson, which scored A&T’s fifth run.
Boone held the Bulldogs scoreless in the ninth to secure the series victory for the Aggies.
In the first game, Hunter Smith’s RBI double gave Gardner-Webb the walk-off win in the ninth inning. The Bulldogs retired the last nine A&T batters to secure the win.
An RBI single by first baseman Freeman gave the Aggies the early lead. The Aggies tacked on two more runs in the fourth as Tolentino singled to start things off. He advanced to second as Nales singled through the right side. Both runners scored as Tendler doubled to left field to give A&T a 3-0 lead.
But the lead didn’t last long. In the sixth inning, JJ Nazzaro homered to left field to end A&T starter Josh Ganus’ shutout bid. With one out, Benji Jackson singled to right. He took third as Coleman smacked a double. John Harris brought home both runners to tie the game at 3 with a single to left-center.
The Aggies’ road trip will continue on Tuesday as they travel to Durham to face Duke at 6 p.m.