ROCK HILL, S.C. - Two four-run innings helped Kent State defeat North Carolina A&T 9-5 in softball action at the Winthrop Invitational at Winthrop Field C on Friday. The Aggies lost earlier in the day to Western Illinois, 16-5.
Raven Smith went 2-for-2, including a two-run home run. Jax Woodard had two hits and scored twice for the Aggies (1-10).
The Golden Flashes led 5-4 going into the sixth inning. Two walks helped the Flashes begin to pull away. A bunt single by Jassacca Gironda loaded the bases. A wild pitch by Aggies starter Ashira Dobison scored Ariele Patterson from third. Abbey Ledford followed with a two-run double down the left field line to give the Flashes an 8-4 lead. After Shelbi Tilton moved Ledford to third with groundout, Lauren Grimes scored her with an infield single.
A&T did put two runners on in the top of the seventh. Woodard scored Detavia Keenan from third with an infield single. But Sabrina Edmonds' groundout gave the Flashes the win.
Dobison (0-6) took the loss for A&T after striking out two over six innings pitch. Lauren McNeil (2-4) struck out 10 over 6.1 innings.
But McNeil struggled with the Aggies early. Woodard opened the second inning with a single. One batter later, Smith blasted her second home run of the season, a two-run launch over the left field fence. Smith's home run gave A&T a 2-0 lead.
The Flashes responded in the bottom half of the inning with the first of their two four-run innings. All four runs came on a grand slam to center field by Kim Kirkpatrick. The Flashes eventually took a 5-3 lead before Edmonds moved the Aggies to within one, 5-4, on a home run to center. It was her second home run on the day, after homering against Western Illinois, and the 16th of her career.
A&T will continue play in the Winthrop Invitational on Saturday with a 1 p.m., game against Harvard and a 5 p.m., game against host Winthrop. Woodard also homered against Western Illinois.