GREENSBORO- It was a frustrating Sunday afternoon for North Carolina A&T softball. The Aggies worked extremely hard to regain the lead in the first game of a doubleheader played at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex against Morgan State before the Bears took it right back in a 10-7 win over the A&T.
In the second game, the Aggies saw a spirited rally in the seventh inning fall short as the Bears completed the sweep with a 10-7 win.
Tranea Jones, Juanita Jernigan and Tiffany Macklin homered in Game 1. Jones and Jernigan's home runs came in back-to-back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jones saw a high 2-2 fastball from Jordan Eades dangling over the plate and promptly placed it over the left field fence for a 6-5 Aggies lead. Jernigan followed with a home run that was lofted high down the left field line. Jernigan's golf-type swing stayed fair as the Aggies took a two-run lead into the seventh.
The good times didn't last long for the Aggies, however. The Bears opened the inning with a slap-swing single by Tiffany Rubin. A&T starter Ashira Dobison then walked Danielle Lugo to put runners on first and second. Boshia Richardson loaded the bases with another single, which set up a two-run RBI single to left field by Deanna Matlock.
When Aggies left fielder Detavia Kenan missed the cut off person as she threw the ball back into the infield, it allowed Richardson to score from first to give Morgan State an 8-7 lead. MSU added more runs as Shareday Christina doubled off of Dobison to score Matlock. After a sacrifice bunt moved Christina to third, she scored on an Amber Frame groundout for a three-run Bears lead going into the Aggies half of the seventh.
Tiffany Macklin kept the Aggies' hopes alive with a two-out single through the left side, but Hope Fletcher flew out to left to end the game. Dobison (5-9) took the loss. Five of the ten runs she surrendered were unearned. Eades (2-4) picked up the win despite in relief for the Bears. After replacing starter Amber Bachman, Eades struck out four.
Jones led the Aggies offensively by going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Jernigan was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Macklin had two hits and two RBI.
The second game saw freshman Raven Smith go 2-for-4 with three RBI, including her first career home run. Despite Smith's efforts, Morgan State took control of the game late. Matlock's two-run RBI double to left center field highlighted a five-run sixth inning for Morgan State as it took a 10-4 lead.
A&T tried to rally in the seventh as Fletcher opened the inning with a triple to left field. Jones brought her home with a one-out single to cut the Bears lead to five. Jernigan made the Bears a little more nervous. Her second home run of the day went to the deepest part of center field and over the scoreboard. The two-run long-range launch put the Aggies down just three runs.
Game 1 winner Eades came on to slow the Aggies down. She struck out Raven Smith on an impressive curve ball and Tiffany Macklin flew out to right to give Eades the save.
The two losses dropped A&T to 5-15 on the season as Alexandria McAfee (0-6) picked up the loss, while Amber Bachman (1-2) got the win. Fletcher and Jernigan had two hits apiece, while Dominique Smith scored twice.
Raven Smith opened the scoring for A&T in the second game with a two-run RBI double for a 2-0 Aggies lead.
The Bears tied the game at 2 in the second inning before three Morgan State errors allowed Dominique Smith to give the Aggies a 3-2 advantage. Smith reached on an error by Frame at second base. Jones also reached first on an error, but turned too wide at first base, as she got caught in a rundown. During the rundown, MSU's Matlock dropped the ball at first base, allowing Dominique Smith to score.
MSU regained the lead with three more runs in the fourth before Raven Smith's home run in the fifth cut the lead to 5-4.
The Aggies are back in action Tuesday as they travel five miles down Market Street to face UNC Greensboro in a 4 p.m., doubleheader.