GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T was finally blessed with warm weather during a home softball game and celebrated with plenty of hits.
Junior catcher Sabrina Edmonds had a double, a home run and drove in five runs to lead the Aggies to a 9-4 win over conference foe Florida A&M in the first game of a doubleheader played at Lady Aggies Softball Complex. Woodard went 2-for-4 with three RBI. In the second game, the Aggies overcame a six-run deficit, but fell short in a 9-6 loss.
The Aggies had been mired in 30-40 degree weather in their previous home contest. But the weather finally cooperated on Saturday with temperatures in the 60’s. It allowed both teams to come out hot. The Rattlers put up two runs in the first inning of the first game, but the Aggies quickly responded with three runs in their half of the first thanks to back-to-back doubles by Woodard and Edmonds.
After picking up two runs in the third, the Aggies broke open the game in the fourth. Freshman Amari McNeil started the rally with a double to right-center field. The Rattlers then turned to relief pitcher Ashleigh Minter. Her appearance would have made a difference, but FAMU shortstop Kieifi Myrick lost a Zabresha Blakeney fly ball in the sun, putting runners at first and second.
It was a huge drop because Minter got the next two batters to fly out. But after McNeil and Blakeney stole third and second respectively, Woodard made the Rattlers regret the error by singling to right center to score two and give A&T a 7-2 lead. Edmonds then capped off the inning with her fifth home run of the season as her two-run blast cleared the left field fence for a 9-2 A&T advantage.
After a shaky first inning, A&T starter Shelby Snyder (3-1) settled in and silenced the Rattlers bats. She did give up a two-run homer to Alexsis Sandage in the seventh inning, but that was one of the few mistakes she made following the first.
Teammate Ashira Dobison also got off to a slow start on the mound in the second game. The Rattlers built a 6-0 lead thanks in large part to a three-run RBI double by Tikey Strong.
But the Aggies (4-22, 2-3 MEAC) responded in the fourth. Raven Smith and Tranea Jones both singled, which set up Alexiss Dominguez’s three run homer, a golf shot over the left field fence that cut the Rattlers lead to 6-3. Minter, the Rattlers starter in Game 2, compounded her problems by walking McNeil and giving up a bunt single to Blakeney. Junior Detavia Keenan drove in both runners with a double to pull the Aggies to within one.
An RBI single by Raven Smith in the Aggies fifth tied the game at 6. The Rattlers (10-27, 3-2 MEAC) kept their composure and received a few breaks in the top of the sixth to earn the win. There big inning was almost for not thanks to a brilliant play by A&T shortstop Alejandra Barcenas. With Rattlers on third and second with one out, pinch hitter Arianna Stewart hit a groundball to short.
Barcenas turned her attention toward throwing to first, but caught a glance of pinch runner Naesha Lewis trying to score from third. Barcenas quickly turned and captured Lewis in a rundown. Jones would eventually tag out Lewis trying to get back to third to keep the game tied at 6 with two outs.
But when Dobison walked Strong, it loaded the bases for the Rattlers. Dobison then hit pinch hitter Robbielyn Roberson with a 3-2 pitch to force in a run.
Brielle Gordon’s two-run RBI single gave the Rattlers a 9-6 cushion. The Aggies never really threatened again as Jennifer Lindsey (5-17) came on in relief to pick up the win. Keenan drove in two runs in the second game. The two teams will play the third game of the series noon Sunday at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex.