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Aggies Take Down Tigers in SAC Sweep

By Alyssa Fox on 04/16/2018 The Aggies celebrate after a home run hit by Luis Rodriguez at Central Christian.-Courtesy photo The Aggies celebrate after a home run hit by Luis Rodriguez at Central Christian.-Courtesy photo

McPherson, Kan.— Panhandle Baseball traveled to McPherson, Kansas to face Central Christian College in a three-game series over Thursday and Friday. The Aggies took down the Tigers in an SAC series sweep, (22-19; 16-1; 6-4) amassing a combined total of 45 hits, 44 runs and 13 home runs.

The teams took to the field for a Thursday night game one, which would soon become a wind-aided slug fest as the Aggies and the Tigers accrued 20 and 25 hits, respectively, over the nine-inning contest. Central Christian was the first to get on the board, plating three runs in the bottom of the first, but Panhandle answered back with an equal three runs in the top of the second with runs from Nate Kelly, Louis Rodriguez and Kasey Leatherwood. And Gerson Padilla scored on a solo homerun in the third. The Tigers responded their own solo homerun in the bottom of the inning. In the fourth, a two-RBI double from Padilla brought the score 6-4 before an eventful fifth inning on both sides of the ball. The Aggies scored seven runs off five hits, seeing an RBI single from Pierce Edwards, a two-RBI sac fly from Padilla, a solo homerun from Leatherwood and a three run homerun from Rodriguez. The Tigers would score five runs off five hits in the bottom of the inning, and tack on another four in the sixth, catching up to the Aggies and tying the score, 13-13.

A double from Jacob Dean started off the seventh inning, followed by a base on balls for Kelly, and both runners were brought home on a single from Rodriguez. Aaron Moreno stepped in to pinch run for Rodriguez and would score on an error by the Tigers' second baseman. Central Christian battled and plated two runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Aggies exploded again in the eighth. Padilla took the first pitch of his at bat and hit his second home run of the game to bring in two runs and Juan Sanchez would score on a groundout from Kelly. Rodriguez stepped to the plate and slammed a two-run homerun to deep center and an RBI single from Jaylon Burnett would score the Aggies' sixth run of the inning. Central Christian followed with three runs in the eighth, but it was not enough to close the gap and the Aggies came away with the win after a nearly four-hour long bat battle, 22-19.

Friday's game one of a double header would also bring big hits for the Aggies. Corey Ley pitched his second gem of the season as he kept the Tiger's to only four hits and one run during his full seven innings pitched.

Leatherwood started off the second with a single which was followed up by a two-run homerun from Rodriguez to get the Aggies on the board. First baseman Jared Mayeda and Padilla singled to get on in the third and Padilla was brought in by a sac fly from Leatherwood. Rodriguez hit his second home run of the game in back-to-back innings and plated two runs to bring the score up 5-0. The Tigers brought in one run to get on the board in the bottom of the inning. Panhandle added four in the top of the fourth off an RBI single from Burnett and a three-run home run from Leatherwood. The Aggies kept the momentum going in the fifth as Mayeda roped an RBI single and Leatherwood crushed his second homerun of the game to bring in two and continue to pull away with the lead, 12-1. Panhandle added another four runs in the sixth on a solo homerun from Dean and a three-run homerun from Padilla. Both teams remained silent in the seventh but the Aggies walked away with a 16-1 victory and Ley would earn his fifth win on the season.

Game three proved a close battle, as the Aggies would take the lead in the second but both teams would remain silent through five of the seven innings. Central Christian would be first on the board, plating a run in the bottom of the first inning, though Panhandle would score five in the second. Sanchez beat an 0-2 count with a three-run homerun and Padilla followed with a two-run homerun, his fourth of the series. The Tigers answered back, plating three runs in the bottom of the inning to bring the score 5-4, in favor of the Aggies. The next four innings were quiet for both teams, but an RBI double from Padilla brought the tally up 6-4 and the Aggies closed out the series with their third win. Garrison Armstrong would earn a victory on his well-pitched seven innings backed up by solid fielding.

Now 22-26 on the season and 12-12 in conference, the Aggies will gear up to take to the road this weekend to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for a three-day series against the Golden Lions. Panhandle will face off against the Division I university over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 20-22. The Aggies will return home for their last series of the season, taking on the Oklahoma City Stars with a double header on Friday, April 27 beginning at 1:00 p.m. and a single, nine-inning game for Senior Day on Saturday.