GREENSBORO (February 18, 2018) – North Carolina A&T continued to prepare their young pitchers for use later in the season as they closed out the 2018 Aggies Softball Invitational at Lady Aggies Softball Complex with an 11-4 loss to the Howard Bison on Sunday.
Junior first baseman Mohagony Headen led the Aggies by going for 2-for-3 with two RBI. Senior outfielder contributed by going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Senior outfielder Talisha Jenkins also had two hits to along with two runs scored.
The Aggies (2-6) pitched their two freshmen in starter Hailee Cutts and reliever Bayleigh Kirby. Cutts (1-2) took the loss after pitching four innings. Kirby pitched the final three innings of the game.
After the Bison (1-6) scored two runs in the visitor’s first, the Aggies responded with a run in the bottom half of the first. Jenkins earned an infield single followed by a walk to surrendered to Gray. The Aggies loaded the bases as Howard starter Mackenzi Steele walked Headen. A slower roller to Steele in the circle by sophomore shortstop Stephanie Williams allowed Jenkins to score as Williams was thrown out at first.
Despite the Aggies cutting the Bison’s lead to 2-1 going into the second, Howard’s offense was consistent throughout the game. The Bison posted 15 hits and took an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning.
N.C. A&T tried to mount a comeback in their half of the fifth. Redshirt freshman third baseman Marcey Jiles opened the Aggies fifth with a double to left field. A one-out sacrifice bunt by Jenkins moved Jiles to third base. It set up an RBI single to right by Gray to score Jiles. Headen then doubled to left center to score Gray and cut the Bison’s lead to 8-3.
After Headen’s double, the Bison turned to Cassidy Winner in the circle to slow down the Aggies rally. Winner did calm things for the Bison as she got Williams to ground out for the final out of the fifth.
But the Howard offense did not cooperate with an Aggies comeback. A run was forced in for the Bison in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk. Two more runs were added by the Bison in the seventh as Alyssa Lavine hit a two-run RBI double to left to give the Bison an 11-3 lead.
A run was added in the seventh by N.C. A&T. Following back-to-back singles by Jenkins and Gray led to an RBI single through the left side by Headen to score Jenkins.
N.C. A&T closed out their annual invitational with a 2-2 record as they defeated Howard on Friday and Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday but sustained losses to Cleveland State on Saturday and Howard on Sunday.
Gardner-Webb will visit the Lady Aggies Softball Complex on Wednesday when they face the Aggies in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.