Softball Picks Up Historic Wins In Daytona Beach
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 1, 2017) – North Carolina A&T did on Saturday what no team throughout the history of Aggies fast-pitch softball has ever done. They went to Daytona Beach, Fla., and earned a doubleheader sweep of Bethune-Cookman. The Aggies took Game 1, 4-3 in eight innings before finishing the Wildcats off with a 6-4 victory in the second game of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference doubleheader at Sunnyland Park.
It marked the first time in the 23-year history of fast-pitch softball at N.C. A&T that the Aggies have won two games at Bethune-Cookman.
It is the first time since 2007 the Aggies have taken two games away from the Wildcats in a series. Jillian Nobles had a big day offensively, going a combined 5-for-9 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI. Nathaly Pacheco drove in two runs during the doubleheader while going 3-for-6. Zadaisha Waddell was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI.
Mohagony Headen won both games of the doubleheader from the circle to improve to 4-10 on the season. The wins were vital for the Aggies (10-20-1, 3-2 MEAC) after dropping two of three in MEAC play to South Carolina State last weekend.
The Aggies won Game 1 in a dramatic way. Bethune-Cookman (12-26, 3-2 MEAC) took a 3-1 lead in their half of the fifth. N.C. A&T quickly responded in the top of the sixth. Waddell opened the inning with a single to left-center field which was followed by an infield single from Kimberly Brunson. Alexandria Simmons brought the Aggies to within one with an RBI single that scored pinch runner Alyssa Green. Zadia Davis loaded the bases by reaching first on an error.
Bethune-Cookman starter Sabrina Anguiano then made the mistake of walking Pacheco to force in Brunson from third to tie the game at 3. Bailey Conner replaced Anguiano and got three straight outs including Simmons being thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Headen who relieved Waddell in the sixth, allowed the tying run to reach second and go-ahead run to reach first in the B-CU sixth. Those runners advanced to third and second on a Headen wild pitch. But Headen battled back to strike out Conner before the inning ended on a groundout by Bryanna Campos. Both teams went down in order in their respective seventh innings to set up the extra innings saga.
In the Aggies eighth, Davis reached on a one-out infield single. Pacheco then singled and was aided by a Wildcat throwing error that put Davis on third and Pacheco on second. After Stephanie Williams recorded the second out, Talisha Jenkins came through with heroics by singling to score Davis for the winning run. Headen was again spectacular in the eighth by again retiring the Wildcats in order, to close out the game.
Offense took a more prominent role in the second game as both teams continued to play high stakes in the late innings. Headen doubled in a run in the second before being brought home on an RBI single from Lauren Dunlow for a 2-0 Aggies lead. The Aggies held the Wildcats scoreless until the sixth inning when RBI singles from Annie Bakenhus and Mariah Davis tied the game at 2.
N.C. A&T appeared to have put the game away with a big seventh inning, however. Waddell got the scoring going with a bases-loaded single through the left side as Dunlow scored for a 3-2 Aggies lead. With the bases still loaded and no outs, Brunson’s groundball to the second resulted in an error that allowed Davis to score. Nobles gave the Aggies a 5-2 lead on an RBI single with the bases still loaded as Raven Gray scored. Pacheco closed out the scoring with an RBI single up the middle to allow Waddell to cross the plate for a 6-2 advantage.
Conner replaced Anguiano who entered the game in the seventh to replace starter Mariah Estrada. Anguiano slowed the Aggies momentum by getting Headen to hit into a double play that prevented Brunson from scoring. Jenkins ended the inning on a groundout.
B-CU didn’t not let the Aggies get away easy. With Waddell in the circle and runners on second and third for the Wildcats with one out, Kaitlin Alamprese grounded out to first to score Brianna Sanders to cut N.C. A&T’s lead to 6-3. Taylor Sherritt then singled up the middle to score Kailey Richard to bring the Wildcats to within two. But Bakenhus grounded out to give the Aggies the doubleheader sweep.
The series will end with a noon game on Sunday at Sunnyland Park.