ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – North Carolina A&T lost their first-round game of the 2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Softball Championship Tournament, 2-1, to the Norfolk State Spartans Wednesday afternoon at the Ormond Beach Complex.
The Spartans are the No. 1 seed out of the MEAC Northern Division while the Aggies came into the tournament as the No. 4 seed out of the south.
Senior pitcher Mohagony Headen gave a valiant effort in the circle, going six innings, striking out three, walking two and surrendering only one earned run. Offensively, senior Zadaisha Waddell went 2-for-3.
But the Aggies (8-30) could not overcome a strong pitching performance by the Spartans Skylar Swain and Hunter Halford. Swain started the game and went 4 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run before Halford stepped and got her second save of the season by pitching 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Norfolk State (25-18) pitching did not have a strikeout on Wednesday.
The Spartans got on the board first when Headen opened the game by hitting leadoff batter Shelby Deschamps with a pitch. Deschamps stole second which was followed by a single from Lily Porter that advanced Deschamps to third. Kylee Lopez brought Deschamps home with an RBI sacrifice fly to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the first.
NSU took a 2-0 lead in the second. With runners third and first, Deschamps tried to steal second. In the process of Deschamps getting caught in a rundown, Jade Dixon took off from third and eventually scored even though Deschamps was thrown out stealing.
N.C. A&T did a get run back in the third. Sophomore Marcey Jiles reached on an error and eventually moved to third. With two outs, senior Zadia Davis earned an infield single that allowed Jiles to score cutting the Spartans lead to 2-1.
The Aggies had one final chance to pull off the upset in the seventh. Sophomore Samantha Ramirez opened the frame by reaching on an error. One out later, Jiles reached on a single to put runners at first and second. Headen then loaded the bases with an infield single.
Freshman pinch-hitter Nikki Varela grounded into a game-ending double play, however, as the Spartans avoided defeat to stay in the winner’s bracket.
The Aggies moved into the elimination bracket of the tournament where they will play the loser of the Delaware State/Florida A&M game noon Thursday.