Aggies Beat Gardner-Webb In Extra Innings
BOILING SPRINGS (February 12, 2017) – North Carolina A&T softball finished the season-opening weekend at the Gardner-Webb Tournament with a win over the tournament host ,5-4 in eight innings Sunday at Brinkley Stadium
The Aggies improved to 3-2 this season.
Lauren Dunlow and Zadasia Waddell had two hits apiece while senior Kimberly Brunson, Stephanie Williams and Nathaly Pacheco each had an RBI. The entire Aggie lineup came out to play, as seven of the players had at least one hit in the game.
In their second straight extra inning game, the Aggies found themselves battling back after gaining an early lead. Errors proved costly for the Runnin’ Bulldogs and helped the Aggies to their first score of the game in the second inning. Jillian Nobles led off with a single to third and moved two more bases on a throwing error from first baseman Alia Booth. A passed ball gave her a chance to reach home, giving the Aggies a 1-0 lead.
Two hits in the third inning were all the Aggies needed to move ahead 2-0 as Brunson led off with a single to center field and advanced to second on a groundout to shortstop from Dunlow. A single from Williams scored Brunson, and she was able to reach second on the throw, but a pop up to first from Nobles ended the inning.
The Aggies held that lead into the sixth when Gardner-Webb led off with three singles before a fourth from Madi Lewis scored a run for the Runnin’ Bulldogs as she advanced to second on the throw. Meanwhile, Talisha Jenkins was focusing on home as she was able to throw out the second Runnin' Bulldogs score attempt. Another single from Megan Champion tied the game at 2 before Gardner-Webb ended the inning with their first lead of the game after adding another run.
The Aggies were not deterred, however. A single from Pacheco was enhanced by Waddell's second double of the game to put runners on second and third, forcing a pitching change by Gardner-Webb. Summer Darnell hit the first two batters she faced, scoring Jenkins from third, who pinch ran for Pacheco, to tie the game at 3. Three straight outs with the bases loaded, however, forced extra innings.
N.C. A&T scored two in the top of the eighth, which would prove to be enough to hold off the Runnin’ Bulldogs despite their one score in the bottom half of the inning. Gardner-Webb made mistakes under pressure, producing two errors in the inning to advance Williams, who started on second base before she advanced home on the following play thanks to a throwing error by Champion at shortstop. A stolen base on the next play was enough for Zadia Davis to sprint home and give the Aggies a 5-3 advantage.
Booth scored for Gardner-Webb in the bottom of the inning after being placed on second base due to international extra inning rules. A single to center by Rachel Cuminsky forced Raven Gray to launch the ball home. But it wasn't in time. The Aggies were able to close out the game on a strikeout from Mohagony Headen to end the tournament with a winning mark.
The Aggies will host Appalachian State in a 1 p.m., doubleheader on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Lady Aggie Softball Complex.