GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T softball will enter Thursday’s MEAC tournament by facing Delaware State in the first round of games at 10 a.m., at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex in Ormond Beach. Fla.
The Aggies (16-26, 8-7) claimed the fourth seed in southern division while the Hornets (32-15, 15-3) are the co-champions of the northern division and secured the top seed.
A&T enters the game after snapping a nine-game losing streak with a pair of wins over N.C. Central last weekend. DSU is on its longest win streak of the season, winning the last eight games. In neutral territory, the Aggies have posted a 4-4 mark this season while DSU is 6-2.
The Aggies will look to get even with the Hornets as DSU eliminated A&T from the MEAC tournament last season with a 7-6 win. This season the Hornets are the top team in the conference in several categories including hitting (.316), pitching (2.21 ERA), and wins (32). DSU’s three conference losses have been by Hampton, Morgan State, and Norfolk State.
A&T pitchers Janika May, Shelby Snyder, Maiven McKnight, and Jaimie Jordon will have to control DSU’s offense. The majority of the Hornet’s lineup is batting over .300 and is led by Sandy Hawthorne who is hitting .406 which is fifth in the league. Jessica Madrid (.389) leads the Hornets in RBI (35) and Nicole Gazzola (.384) heads DSU with 58 hits.
The Aggies’ offense has been sparked by many this season. Freshman Dasia Moore who is batting .304 has led the team in hits (38) and doubles (12). Moore has notched 13 multi-hit games and is on a four-game hitting streak. Sophomore Alejandra Barcenas has scored a team high 23 runs and junior Zebresha Blakeney has been the leader on the base paths as she is 14-for-16 in stolen bases.
DSU pitchers Tara Tursellino (13-5), Vanessa Ciocatto (10-5), and Rachel Meagley (9-5) haven’t had too many problems in the circle this season. Ciocatto has struck out 63 ahead of Tursellion (61) and Meagley (41).
The winner of the A&T/DSU game will face the winner of the FAMU/Norfolk State game on Thursday at 7 p.m. The loser of the A&T/DSU game will face the loser of the FAMU/Norfolk State game at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.