GREENSBORO (March 31, 2018) – A week that included seven games played over 56 innings ended in disappointment for the North Carolina A&T softball team on Saturday. Bethune-Cookman’s Kailey Richard hit a game-winning RBI single in the 10th inning to lead the Wildcats to a 4-3 win over the Aggies in extra innings at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex.
The Aggies (6-25, 3-3 MEAC) finished the week 3-4 after winning two nine-inning games against S.C. State on Monday. The Aggies lost the series finale to the Bulldogs on Tuesday before having to a play a non-conference game against Elon soon after. The Aggies split Friday’s doubleheader with the Wildcats before the two teams played a 10-inning marathon on Saturday.
N.C. A&T’s week got wacky because inclement weather last weekend forced
The Aggies will face four-time defending MEAC champion Florida A&M 4:30 p.m., Friday, April 6 in Tallahassee, Fla., in their first live nationally-televised game since 2011.
N.C. A&T acquitted themselves well against Bethune-Cookman throughout the weekend, another traditional MEAC power. They fought back twice on Saturday before the Wildcats (18-21, 4-2 MEAC) finally pulled out the victory.
Junior Zadaisha Waddell went 2-for-2 at the plate and did not give up an earned run in nine innings pitched. Junior Zadia Davis went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored while sophomore Stephanie Williams extended her hitting streak to six by going 1-for-4.
Junior Mohagony Headen helped the Aggies tie the game at 3 in the fifth inning with a leadoff double to the deepest part of center field. Freshman Azaria Isbell’s one-out slapper to the pitcher helped Headen advance to third before Davis singled through the left side for her third RBI of the season as Headen scored her sixth run of the season.
N.C. A&T, who left 15 runners on base for the game, left two on the in the sixth before being retired in order in the seventh. Meanwhile, Waddell set down six straight Wildcats over the final two innings of regulation to send the game into extra innings.
B-CU put two runners on in the eighth before Isbell caught a hard line drive off the bat of Kaiya Epps-Lee to end the threat. A throwing error by N.C. A&T in the ninth inning put runners on second and third for the Wildcats. N.C. A&T’s problems were compounded when Waddell hit Ryan Jackson with a 1-2 pitch to load the bases.
But the Aggies got out of that jam when Iesha Waters hit into a force play at shortstop to end the inning. The 10th inning, however, did not turn out so well.
By rule, the batter who made the last out in the previous inning was placed on second to start the Wildcats half of the 10th. In this case, it was Waters. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alexis Bermudez. That set up Richard’s RBI single to give the Wildcats a 4-3 lead.
In the Aggies 10th, sophomore Alyssa Green was placed on second. She went to third on a sac bunt from Isbell. With two out, B-CU pitcher Victoria Guzman walked senior Raven Gray on eight pitches. But Guzman struck out freshman pinch-hitter Marcey Jiles to end the game. Guzman (5-6) picked up the win in the circle.
N.C. A&T’s final attempt to rally did fall short unlike their previous two, the first occurring early in the ballgame. N.C. A&T overcame an early 2-0 deficit as the Wildcats put two across in the second. The Aggies responded in the fourth.
Isbell opened the inning with a single. A groundball to shortstop by Davis resulted in B-CU shortstop Jacki Smith throwing the ball into the outfield trying to force out Isbell. Isbell scored on the play and Davis reached third. Freshman pinch-hitter Samantha Ramirez eventually brought Davis home to tie the game on a groundout to second.