EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T nearly rallied Wednesday afternoon in non-conference softball action but instead came up short 8-6 to fellow Division I Greensboro institution UNC Greensboro after the Spartans scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning at the Lady Aggie Softball Complex.
Senior Zadia Davis and junior Alyssa Smith led the team by going 2-for-3, while freshman Nikki Varela recorded two RBI. Pitcher Mohagony Headen (2-4), who had three strikeouts, picked up the loss after pitching the seventh inning.
N.C. A&T took a large lead in the bottom of the fourth inning by scoring four runs to extend their lead. Freshman Maya Figueroa hit a sacrifice fly to drive home left fielder Marcey Jiles, who led off the inning with a double, to give N.C. A&T a 3-1 lead. Headen hit a solo home run to center field for a 4-1 lead and took a 6-1 lead after Varela hit a two-run single up the middle to drive home Davis and Smith.
UNCG cut into the lead, 6-4, after scoring three runs in the fifth inning after an error that allowed a Spartan to score with two outs and a two-run single and pulled within a run, 6-5, in the sixth inning after an RBI single.
The Spartans scored the final three runs of the game in the seventh inning after an RBI triple and a two-run home run to left field. The Aggies went down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.
UNCG got off to the early lead, Wednesday. UNCG took the first pitch of the game and hit it over the center field fence to take a 1-0 lead, but the Aggies responded in the bottom half of the inning after senior Zadaisha Waddell hit a sac fly to drive home Davis to tie the game at one after the first inning.
The Spartans had runners on second and third with one out, but back-to-back grounders back to the pitcher ended the UNCG threat to keep the game tied at 1. UNCG also left two runners on base in the third inning, including Smith’s throw out of a Spartan at home for the second out.
The Aggies took a lead in the third inning after Smith led off the inning with a solo home run to left field for a 2-1 lead before the big inning in the fourth.
Makenna Matthijs, Delaney Cumbie and Gabi Howard each recorded two hits for the Spartans, while Kayleigh Willis and Hannah Kincer each added two RBI. Stephanie Bryden (9-5) picked up the win in relief after pitching the final 3 1/3 innings giving up two unearned runs.
The Aggies travel to Norfolk, Va., to face Norfolk State Friday for a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m.