SAVANNAH, Ga. - Two strong Savannah State pitching performances helped the Tigers defeat the North Carolina A&T softball and take sole possession of second place in the MEAC's Southern Division standings.
Savannah State won the first game of Saturday's doubleheader 3-0 at Tiger Softball Field. The Tigers won the second game 8-1. The Aggies mustered only three hits in each game. Madison Hedderly tossed seven shutout innings, walking one and striking out six. In the second game, Tiffany Davies and Hedderly combined to hold the Aggies to no earned runs, while striking out seven.
The losses dropped the Aggies (12-23, 5-3 MEAC) two games behind the Tigers (18-19, 7-1 MEAC) in the standings. The two teams will play the series finale Sunday at noon.
A&T's best opportunities to score came during its first two at-bats in the first game. A walk to A&T center fielder Dominique Smith and a one-out single up the middle by third baseman Tranea Jones put runners on first and second for the Aggies.
Hedderly worked her way out of the tough situation by striking out the Aggies top hitter in Juanita Jernigan. Raven Smith followed by flying out to center field to end the threat and strand two.
Another Aggies hitter coming into her own, Sabrina Edmonds, opened the second inning with a single. For the second consecutive inning, the Aggies put runners on first and second as Hope Fletcher reached on another single. The Aggies failed to get the ball out of the infield from there. Two infield pop ups and a strikeout ended the inning and the Aggies' offensive rallies.
The only other base runner the Aggies produced against Hedderly came in the sixth inning when Jernigan was hit with a Hedderly pitch.
A&T starter Ashira Dobison was not shabby either. But the trouble she ran into in the fifth inning, led the Tigers to victory. Katherine Stewart scored the first run as she doubled to center field and moved to third on a Dominique Smith error. Jessica Weimerskirk scored her on an infield single. A double by India Morgan and walk to Tiffany Davies loaded the bases.
Amber Hallman's single to center field scored Weimerskirk and Morgan for a three-run lead. Five of the Tigers seven hits against Dobison (11-13) came in the fifth. Meanwhile, Hedderly retired the Aggies in order in the seventh to improve to 13-9.
An RBI single by Jamie Paolini and an Aggies error helped Savannah State take a 2-0 lead in the third inning of Game 2. Chelsea Parrish added another run in the inning by singling to center field to score Paolini.
The Aggies answered in their half of the fourth by taking advantage of an error by Weimerskirk in left field. The error allowed Edmonds to advance to second, which set up an RBI single by Fletcher, as the Aggies cut the Tigers lead to 3-1.
But the game turned heavily in SSU's favor in the sixth inning. The Tigers scored five runs on six hits, including a two-run RBI double by Parrish.
Davies (4-7) picked up the win in Game 2, while Alexandria McAfee (1-10) took the loss.