DURHAM – North Carolina A&T’s regular-season finale did not go well, as N.C. Central defeated the Aggies 10-2 in six innings in softball action at Parkwood Park on Sunday.
The Aggies only managed four hits on the afternoon and ran into a tough fifth inning, which led to the Eagles ending the game early due to the 8-run rule that is triggered when a team leads by eight runs or more after the fifth inning.
The game ended when Angelique Perricelli’s infield single scored Bianka Molina from third to give the Eagles their 8-run lead. The Aggies (9-33, 7-8 MEAC) scored the first two runs of the game before N.C. Central (5-44, 3-11 MEAC) scored 10 unanswered runs.
The Aggies scored those two runs in the second inning thanks in part N.C. Central third baseman Camille Hampton booting a Zabresha Blakeney grounder that allowed Blakeney to reach. Blakeney was replaced on first base by Haley Snyder who hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Blakeney out at second. Freshman shortstop Alejandra Barcenas put runners on first and second with an infield single, leading to a two-out RBI single by Detavia Kenan that scored the first run of the game.
Another Hampton error allowed Raven Smith to reach second, while also helping the Aggies take a 2-0 lead as Barcenas scored. The Eagles were held scoreless in their half of the second, but then scored over the next four innings of the game to pick up the win. The most impactful hit of the game for the Eagles came on a grand slam home run by De’Onna Smith in the fifth inning. Smith, who entered the game in the fourth inning to play first base, saw her home run be a part of a five-run fifth inning.
N.C. Central pitchers Kayla McPeek (starter) and London Booker combined to not allow an Aggies earned run.
The Aggies must now recover and prepare for the MEAC tournament, May 9-11, in Ormond Beach, Fla. It is still not known where the Aggies will be seeded. If A&T ties with Savannah State for third place in the MEAC Southern Division, the Aggies will earn the third seed by virtue of beating the Tigers two out of three earlier this season. If however, the Aggies tie with S.C. State, the Bulldogs will earn the third seed from the South because they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Aggies.