RALEIGH - A rough first inning stood in the way of what was otherwise an outstanding outing for North Carolina A&T freshman pitcher Janika May. In what was a softball pitcher's duel, May went seven innings and surrendered five hits in a 3-1 loss to Lafayette at N.C. State's Wolfpack Challenge at Dail Stadium.
Lafayette's two-run first inning made the difference in the ballgame. May, who walked seven batters for the game, walked two in the first inning and was hurt by an error. May opened the game by walking Kristen Berger on four straight pitches. After a sacrifice bunt moved Berger into scoring position, Jordan Parsons put Leopard runners on first and third with a single.
Another walk to Allison Brown loaded the bases before a groundout led to Leopards first run. An error by Aggies third baseman Tranea Jones helped Parsons plate the second run for a 2-0 lead.
Jones quickly redeemed herself by registering an RBI single to right to score Zabresha Blakeney. It came down to great pitching from there. Leopards starter Melissa Robinson went seven innings and surrendered just one run on three hits. She also struck out five and walked three. The Aggies (1-3) put together a serious threat in the sixth after Kimberly Brunson doubled to left center, but Raven Smith grounded out to first to end the threat.
The Leopards (1-0) added a run in the visitor's seventh when May walked Brown to force in a run. The Aggies closeed out the first day of the challenge with a 17-0 loss to Kansas. They open on Saturday against Stony Brook (2:30 p.m.) before playing host N.C. State at 7 p.m.