SAVANNAH, Ga. - North Carolina A&T did not have much luck this week in one-run games. For the second time in five days, the Aggies softball team lost on a walk-off hit. The culprit on Sunday was Savannah State first baseman Katherine Stewart.
Stewart hit a two-out, walk-off single, to lead the Tigers to a 2-1 win over the Aggies in nine innings at Tiger Softball Field. On Tuesday, the Aggies lost on a walk-off single in the seventh inning at Liberty University.
Sunday's loss was the fifth straight for the Aggies after they put together a stint where they won five out of six. The Tigers (19-19, 8-1 MEAC) completed a three-game sweep of A&T (12-24, 5-4 MEAC) to put themselves three games ahead of the Aggies for second place in the MEAC Southern Division.
SSU's pitching was solid against the Aggies. A&T scored just two runs over the weekend. Only one of those runs was earned. Tranea Jones led the Aggies by going 2-for-4 on Sunday.
After Madison Hedderly pitched 15.1 straight scoreless innings against A&T in three weekend appearances, the Aggies finally broke through in top of the sixth on Sunday. Dominique Smith started the rally with a bunt single. Raven Smith advanced her to second on a sacrifice bunt. Dominique Smith went to third on a single by Jones, which set up Juanita Jernigan's RBI sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at 1.
A single by Hedderly and a walk to Shamyra Adams threatened to end the game in the seventh for the Tigers. But A&T starter Ashira Dobison got Stewart to fly out to center field to end the inning. The fly out put the Aggies in their first extra inning game of the season.
In the eighth, the Aggies were in position to gain an advantage in the contest. Hedderly walked Raven Smith with two outs. Jones responded by singling through the right side. The attempt to throw out Raven Smith going to third failed, allowing Jones to advance to second. But with runners in scoring position, Jernigan flew out to left field.
Another scoring opportunity presented itself for A&T in the ninth as Hope Fletcher singled and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Zabresha Blakeney. The inning ended on Detavia Kenan groundout.
The Tigers opened the ninth on an Amber Hallman single. After Dobison struck out Jamie Paolini, Chelsea Parrish singled through the left side to put two runners on. Dobison walked Hedderly to load the bases for pinch-hitter Nicole Lowery. Dobison came up big once again by striking out Lowery to put the Aggies one out away from escaping another Tiger threat.
But unlike the seventh inning when Stewart hit a harmless fly ball, she hit a single up the middle to score Hallman for the winning run. Dobison (11-14) took the loss after pitching 8.2 strong innings, where she struck out six and walked two. Hedderly (14-9) got the win with seven strikeouts and one walk. Hallman opened the scoring on Sunday with a second inning home run.
The Aggies return to action 2 p.m., Wednesday when they face Appalachian State in a doubleheader at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex.