HAMPTON, VA. -- Freshman Chris Aldridge drilled a two-out single to left center scoring Josh Tuck with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as Apprentice School defeated Thomas Nelson CC 5-4 at War Memorial Stadium on Monday.
In the ninth, Tuck started with a single to left center and advanced on a sacrifice from Ryan Wagner. After a strike out, Corey Gallaway was intentionally walked to set up a force out situation. Aldridge responded with a shot into left center to plate Tuck with the winning run.
The Builders scored a run in the first as Kennedy singled and advanced to second on a passed ball. Gallaway followed with a double to left center to plate Kennedy for a 1-0 lead.
TNCC (8-11-1) answered with three in the top of the third taking advantage of a couple of Builder errors. Bryant Liberta had an RBI single to score Alex Wetzler who reached on an error that plated the first run. The Gators then took a 3-1 lead as Raul Martinez scored on a passed ball after walking and advancing on a throwing error and Liberta's single.
Apprentice School (21-12) responded with three runs in its half of the fifth inning as Tuck started with a single to right center and scored on a Wagner double to left field. Kennedy followed with a single and Gallaway greeted new pitcher Aaron Merritt with a RBI single to right to plate Wagner. Aldridge followed with a sacrifice fly scoring Kennedy for a 4-3 advantage.
The Gators scratched a run in the top of the ninth as Jordan Kelley doubled to left center and scored on a RBI single from pinch-hitter Anthony Blount down the third base line to tie the game. TNCC had Blount at second with one out and Tabb Griffey struck out Brenden Craft then Chris Perry came in and struck out Wetzler to keep the score tied and eventually set up Aldridge's heroics.
The first five batters in the Builder lineup all recorded two hits each - Tuck, Wagner, Kennedy, Gallaway and Aldridge. The last two topped the team in RBI with a pair each. Perry earned his second win on the year with his closing out the ninth inning.
Apprentice School now will play host to NCAA Division III fourth-ranked Christopher Newport University at 4 pm on Wednesday.