GREENSBORO (March 30, 2018) – North Carolina A&T is starting to create a knack for pulling out late-inning games in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.
The Aggies rallied late in the first game of a doubleheader Friday afternoon at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex to defeat the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 6-5. The Aggies did not rally in Game 2 as the Wildcats evened the series with a 4-2 win. The series finale is 12 p.m., Saturday at LASC.
After the split, the Aggies (6-24) are 3-2 in the MEAC. All three wins have come by one run with the key runs coming after the fifth inning. The Aggies won two one-run games against S.C. State earlier in the week with both games stretching to nine innings.
Friday’s game wasn’t that long, but the Aggies did have to overcome a 5-3 deficit going into the home half of the sixth inning.
Junior Zadia Davis started the comeback effort with a single through the left side. Davis moved into scoring position thanks to a wild pitch from Mariah Estrada. A Wildcat fielding error on a Nijah McCray groundball and a pitch that bounced off the back of senior Nathaly Pacheco’s left arm loaded the bases with no outs for senior Raven Gray.
Gray hit into a force play that got Davis thrown out at the plate. But the bases remained loaded as Gray reached on the fielder’s choice. Junior Zadaisha Waddell took advantage with a single up the middle that scored McCray and a sliding Pacheco who beat the throw going to home plate to tie the game at 5.
Victoria Guzman replaced Estrada in the circle and was tasked with facing sophomore Stephanie Williams. The first pitch Guzman threw hit Williams to reload the bases for N.C. A&T. Junior Mohagony Headen then battled through a nine-pitch at-bat before Guzman’s last pitch to her went low and inside, walking Headen and forcing home Gray to give the Aggies a 6-5 lead.
Guzman retired the last two Aggies she faced in the inning, leaving Waddell with the task of closing out the Wildcats from the circle in the seventh. After giving up a one-out single to pinch-hitter Kaiya Epps-Lee, Waddell got two consecutive groundouts to give the Aggies the key MEAC victory.
N.C. A&T had to rally after taking a 3-1 lead over the Wildcats in the third inning. A fielding error allowed the Aggies to tie the game at 1 before a two-run RBI single from senior Talisha Jenkins gave the Aggies the two-run lead. The Wildcats (17-21, 3-2 MEAC) regained the lead in their fourth thanks to two, two-run RBI doubles from first Jacki Smith and then Iesha Waters that gave B-CU a 5-3 lead.
Pacheco went 2-for-3 with two runs scored to lead the Aggies in Game 1. Waddell also had two hits and Waddell and Jenkins had two RBI apiece.
Waddell got the win in Game 1 after relieving the starter, Headen, in the fourth inning. Estrada (3-1) took the loss.
Waddell (2-5) took the loss in Game 2 after getting the start in the circle. Headen led the Aggies offensively with a 2-for-3 performance that included two RBI and a run scored. Williams extended her hitting streak to seven games by going 1-for-3 with a run scored.
N.C. A&T took a 2-1 lead in the second on a two-run homer from Headen, her first of the season and the eighth of her career. The Wildcats quickly regained the lead at 3-2 in their half of the third on a two-run double from Alexis Bermudez. Bermudez’s double would prove to be enough even though she added an RBI double in the seventh for extra cushion.
Destiny Enriquez (4-6) earned the win in relief as she retired the Aggies in order in the seventh to salvage the split for B-CU.