GREENSBORO – A misplaced fastball and Jennifer Lindsey were the main culprits in North Carolina A&T’s 5-0 loss to Florida A&M in MEAC softball action at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex on Sunday.
The Rattlers (11-27, 4-2 MEAC) took two of three from the Aggies (4-23, 2-4 MEAC) thanks to Lindsey, the Rattlers starting pitcher. Lindsey started the first game of the series on Saturday and was ineffective. A&T scored six runs and had nine hits off of her, and she was chased after only three innings of work in the Aggies victory. But somehow Lindsey figured out the Aggie hitters from there.
She came on in relief during the second game of the series on Saturday and pitched three innings without giving up an earned run as the Rattlers took Game 2.
On Sunday, she was even more daunting. Lindsey pitched a complete-game four-hit shutout, where she struck out four and did not walk a batter in 101 pitches. Junior A&T starter Shelby Snyder was no slouch. Snyder also pitched seven innings and had four strikeouts.
Going into the fifth inning, the Aggies trailed just 1-0 thanks to an RBI single by FAMU’s Arianna Stewart in the second. The fifth started with Snyder striking out Christina Robbs and Tikey Strong. Ashanti Shepherd then hit a slow groundball to shortstop and was able to beat out the throw from Aggies shortstop Alejandra Barcenas. Brielle Gordon followed with a single through the left side to put two on with two out.
After Gordon’s hit, Snyder and FAMU cleanup hitter Kieifi Myrick waged an eight-pitch battle. On the eighth pitch, Snyder threw a fastball high and outside that Myrick feasted on. Her swing sent Snyder’s fastball over the left field fence for a three-run homer and a 4-0 Rattlers lead.
The Aggies did give Lindsey some trouble in the bottom of the fifth as Tranea Jones led off with a single. Raven Smith replaced her on the basepaths with a fielder’s choice and later moved to second on a stolen base. Lindsey put runners on first and second when she hit Amari McNeil with a 1-0 pitch. But the inning ended when pinch hitter Tiffany Macklin grounded out to first.
The only other runners the Aggies put in scoring position was Detavia Keenan in the fourth off of a sacrifice bunt, and Smith in the seventh off of a double.
A&T’s weekend series puts it in a fierce struggle with S.C. State for the fourth and final tournament seed out of the MEAC Southern Division. In order to qualify for the MEAC tournament in May, the Aggies must finish in the top 4 of the division. The Bulldogs and the Aggies are both 2-4, but the Bulldogs own the tiebreaker after taking two out of three from the Aggies the last weekend of March.
Next weekend will be another crucial three-game conference series for the Aggies. They will face Savannah State in a 1 p.m., doubleheader at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex on Saturday before closing out the series at noon on Sunday.