A&T Softball Prepares For First MEAC Series
Game: North Carolina A&T (7-18, 0-0) vs. S.C. State (11-15, 0-0)
When: Saturday, March 31, 1 p.m., doubleheader; Sunday, April 1, Noon
Where: Lady Aggies Softball Complex
A really good softball game. S.C. State and North Carolina A&T split their four meetings last season, and the two teams appear to be evenly matched this season. The Aggies are trying to return to the MEAC Tournament after missing out on the chance to compete for a title last season because their record did not qualify them. This season, the Aggies have already faced three schools - Morgan State, Norfolk State and Maryland Eastern Shore - from the MEAC. None of those games counted toward the conference standings because all three are Northern Division teams. But if those games are any indicator of how well the Aggies matchup against teams from the MEAC, things are looking promising. The Aggies went 3-3 against those teams as the Bulldogs come to town. The Aggies are 27-10 against the Bulldogs over the last 10 seasons, including putting together a 13-game winning streak over the Bulldogs between March 23, 2007-April 2, 2011.
S.C. State Bulldogs
The Bulldogs come to the Lady Aggies Softball Complex on a two-game winning streak after taking two from Maryland Eastern Shore on March 21. Before their victories over the Hawks, the Bulldogs lost five straight March 4-14. Mikala Johnson leads the Bulldogs offensively with a .400 batting average. She also has a team-leading 21 RBI and two home runs. Tiffany Harris is also a run producer. She comes into the series batting .382 with 17 RBI. On the mound, Vianney Gomez has received the most work. Gomez (7-12) has made 25 appearances with 15 starts. She has a 4.39 ERA and has surrendered seven home runs. Teams are hitting .308 against the sophomore. Senior pitcher Raven Johnson (1-3) has made 13 appearances with seven starts, and she holds a 3.87 ERA.
A&T and S.C. State have played six common opponents this season. The Aggies and the Bulldogs have faced Morgan State, Norfolk State, Alabama A&M, Mississippi Valley State, Gardner-Webb and UMES. The Bulldogs are 4-6 against those teams, while the Aggies are 3-7 against those opponents. The Bulldogs were able to split with Morgan State while the Aggies were swept by the Bears.
A&T outfielder Detavia Kenan is the reigning MEAC Player of the Week after she went 6-for-8 with six RBI and two home runs for the week of March 19-25. Against UMES, Kenan had a pinch-hit RBI single to lead the Aggies to victory on March 22. In the second of the doubleheader, Kenan went 4-for-4 with a triple, a home run and four RBI. Kenan, a sophomore out of Raleigh, N.C., is a career .324 with 20 RBI and 23 runs scored.
Aggies first baseman Juanita Jernigan is starting to become the cleanup hitter the Aggies need. Jernigan has reached base in 11 straight games. Also over her last 11 games, Jernigan is hitting .529 (18-for-34) with 10 RBI and three home runs. In the last 11 games, she has raised her batting average from .175 to .338. Her .338 average leads the team along with her 15 RBI, four home runs and .538 slugging percentage