ORMOND BEACH, FLA. – The North Carolina A&T softball team saw its season come to a close on Thursday with a 6-1 loss against Norfolk State in an elimination game at the MEAC tournament at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.
“These last few games have been an offensive battle for us,” explained first year head coach Kenya Peters. “We only scored one run in each game of the tournament. We were able to win some games earlier in the season with one run but when it becomes tournament time it’s a new season. We can’t continue to rely on one run to win games for us.”
The third-seeded Spartans (20-25) outhit the Aggies 15-3 to knock A&T out of the tournament. A&T finished the season with an overall record of 16-28.
The Aggies’ bats couldn’t seem to sync together all day which made it difficult for them to score. The Aggies didn’t take advantage of chances to score and left seven runners on base against Norfolk State.
In the elimination game against NSU, the Spartans got on the board early and scored two runs off Kayla McNair’s hit to center field with runners on second and third.
A&T sliced the score to 2-1 in the third inning with two outs. Freshman Dasia Moore reached on a walk followed by a single to left field from Woodard. Freshman Lauren Irvin reached on an error on the next at-bat which allowed Moore to score.
NSU pushed the lead to 4-1 in the fourth inning and scored two more runs in the sixth inning.
Heather Dunning, Morgan Boyd, and McNair each finished with three hits. McNair posted a game-high three RBI.
Freshman Maiven McKnight ended the season with a 6-4 record in the circle. McKnight pitched four innings before freshman Jaimie Jordon relieved her. Jordon closed out the game for A&T and gave up a pair of runs.
Stephanie Wheatley (5-4) earned the win for NSU and finished with three strikeouts.
In the opening game against top-seeded Delaware State, the Aggies never got their offense going as the Hornets outhit the Aggies 12-4. A&T was only able to score in the fourth inning after DSU built a 4-0 lead. The Aggies led off the fourth inning with a single to left field from Woodard. Freshman Lauren Irvin pinch ran for Woodard and scored A&T’s only run after freshman Charity Douglas doubled to left center field.
The Hornets stretched their lead to 7-1 in the sixth inning on a two-out rally. Chloe Oro, who was 3-for-3, singled to left field to get the rally started. Nicole Gazzola reached on a bunt single and a throwing error by A&T, allowing Oro to reach third. After Gazzola stole second, Jessica Madrid doubled to push the score to 6-1. Sandy Hawthorne’s triple on the next at-bat allowed Gazzola to score DSU’s final run.
Vanessa Ciocaotto (11-5) secured the win and struck out a game-high six batters. Senior Shelby Snyder fell to 3-13 with the loss and pitched three innings. Sophomore Janika May tossed three innings and recorded three strikeouts.
“The girls have worked hard,” said Peters. “We’re looking forward to next year. I keep telling them to be ready to work. We’ll evaluate some things and regroup to get ready for the next season.”