Seniors Play Big, Clinch Berth In MEAC Tournament
GREENSBORO – It was a good day for the North Carolina A&T softball team as it clinched the fourth and final spot in the MEAC southern division heading into next week’s conference tournament with a split against rival N.C. Central Saturday afternoon at the Lady Aggie Softball Complex.
The Eagles (8-33, 4-9) went the distance in the first game to seize a 6-5 win in eight innings. The Aggies responded (15-26, 7-7) in Game 2 and snapped a nine-game losing streak by rallying to win 4-3.
The Aggies also celebrated Senior Day in between the doubleheader and honored Sabrina Edmonds, Detavia Kenan, Tranea Jones,Tiffany Macklin, Dominique Smith, Haley Snyder, Shelby Snyder, and Jax Kaye Woodard.
“We wanted to send the seniors off on a good note,” head coach Kenya Peters said. “Before the game we just reminded them that this was going to be their last series playing on this field and they need to go out with a bang. We needed our underclassmen to contribute as well in helping to achieve that goal. We are really going to miss them.”
A&T found itself playing from behind again in the second game after the Eagles unloaded three runs in the first inning. The Aggies were finally able to make some noise in the fourth inning after junior Raven Smith and Edmonds led off with singles. With no outs, H. Snyder put the Aggies on the board with a double to left center to cut NCCU’s lead to 3-2. A groundout moved Snyder to third and she scored the tying run off a passed ball.
A&T came back in the fifth inning and took the 4-3 lead with Edmonds’ RBI single to left field that scored sophomore Alejandra Barcenas.
“It felt great to snap the losing streak,” Peters said. “A lot of our losses in the last couple of games have been by one run, but we knew coming in that we’d have to work hard to get out of that hole.”
Edmonds led the Aggies offensively with three hits, followed by H. Snyder and Barcenas who finished with a pair of hits. Freshman Maiven McKnight improved to 6-3 and finished with three strikeouts. London Booker (6-20) tallied a game-high five strikeouts in the loss.
In Game 1, the Aggies answered first in the second inning with Edmonds’ 28th career home run, a leadoff shot to left field on the first pitch.
NCCU countered in the third inning and scored its first run with an RBI single from Angelique Perricelli that scored Martha Batie. NCCU took the 5-1 lead after Dominique Wilson hit a grand slam over the left-center field fence with one out.
The Aggies scored three runs in the bottom of the third as freshman Dasia Moore led off the inning with a double to left field. Barcenas drew a walk and junior Zebresha Blakeney loaded the bases with a bunt single. Edmonds reached on an error by Batie who was in center field which allowed a pair of runs to score. The Aggies tied the game with Woodard’s RBI single to left field that drove in Blakeney.
A&T tied the game at 5 in the fourth as the Eagles walked Edmonds with bases loaded. For the next three innings, neither team was able to score forcing the game into extra innings. The Eagles finally capitalized in the eighth and scored the game-winning run with a solo homer from De’Onna Smith.
Booker tossed a complete game for the win and recorded 11 strikeouts. S. Snyder (2-12) took the loss for the Aggies.
Blakeney was 3-for-3 while Woodard and Moore each finished with two hits.
The Aggies and Eagles will finish out the regular season on Sunday, May 4 for a single game starting at noon.