Aggie softball wins double-header on Senior DayCourtesy N.C. A&T Sports Information / April 27, 2017
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Kimberly Brunson had a Senior Day that all seniors dream of and sophomore Mohagony Headen complemented her efforts with a ginormous day of her own as the North Carolina A&T softball team won both games of a Saturday doubleheader against Savannah State at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex.
Game 1 ended in controversy but the Aggies still prevailed 4-3 before taking the second game 11-3 in a game that ended in the Aggies’ sixth inning because of the NCAA run rule that states a team ahead by eight or more runs after five innings is the winner.
The doubleheader wins on Saturday combined with the Aggies’ dramatic win on Friday over SSU gave the Aggies a three-game sweep, while improving their winning streak to four closing out their 2017 home schedule. It was a home schedule that was closed out with flair. Brunson, who played in the 156th and 157th games of her career on Saturday, went a combined 4-for-7 with two RBI and a run scored.“I knew today was my last day to come out here and enjoy this wonderful field and be out here with my family (teammates). I just had in my mind to go all out big and to go out with a bang,” said Brunson.
Headen went 6 2/3 innings in Game 1 before giving up a run. She still picked up the win to improve to 6-14 on the season, while Zadaisha Waddell picked up the save. In Game 2, Headen crushed two home runs, posted five RBI and scored three times.
“Today took me back to last year when we played Savannah. I didn’t start any of the three games, but I had to come into all three of them,” said Headen as she began to discuss her Game 1 outing in the circle. “They really didn’t hit me that well so coming in I knew I had to have movement on the ball and work my spots.”
Headen was certainly in command over the first six innings. She did not allow a ball out of the infield until the fourth inning. The Tigers were retired in order three times and when her day in the circle was finished she had three strikeouts, two hit batters and only one walk. Headen got help offensively in the second when Alexandria Simmons laid down a perfect bunt down the third-base side, which allowed Brunson to score from third for a 1-0 Aggies lead. The Aggies scored another run in the third when Raven Gray tried to steal second with teammate Stephanie Williams on third. Gray was thrown out on the play, but Williams scored on the throw.
N.C. A&T gave Headen an even bigger lead in the fourth as Nathaly Pacheco walked with one out and went to third on a two-base error that allowed Alexandria Simmons to reach second. SSU starter Amanda McDowell then unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Pacheco to score. Simmons was allowed to score as well because she was obstructed trying to reach. The ruling gave the Aggies a 4-0 advantage.
SSU challenged that advantage in the sixth as they finally got to Headen with two outs in the seventh. A hit batter and back-to-back singles loaded the bases for McDowell who represented the tying run. McDowell cleared the bases with a double to left center to pull the Tigers to within one at 4-3. Waddell replaced Headen and walked Alysha Bolling to put runners on first and second. Then the fun started.
Alexis Singleton singled up the middle against Waddell. Gray came up firing from her center field position to throw out pinch runner Ashleigh Dennis trying to score from second. The throw was superb to Pacheco who turned, stood her ground against a charging Dennis and tagged Dennis out to end the game. At least that’s what everyone gathered at the Lady Aggies Softball Complex thought was the end.
After a protest from the SSU dugout, a lengthy conversation ensued and it was decided that Waddell did not officially re-enter the game after being pinch ran for in the sixth. Singleton was asked to return to the plate for a redo as the Tiger runners on the base paths returned to first and second. Singleton kept the drama going as she reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. But Waddell made all the previous dealings futile when she struck out Lesure to officially end the game.
The second game wasn’t as compelling although the game was tied at 3 after 4 ½ innings. That’s when Headen smashed a two-run, two-out homer down the left field line to give the Aggies a 5-3 advantage. Waddell added to the Aggies’ lead in the sixth with a two-run RBI double to left center. Brunson tripled Waddell home to give the Aggies an 8-3 lead. Two outs later, Talisha Jenkins singled to put runners on first and third.
Headen put the cherry on top of a great day for N.C. A&T by clobbering a three-run homer over the center field fence to give the Aggies the eight-run lead they needed to end the game. Gray and Davis were perfect in Game 2 as Gray went 3-for-3 with a run scored and Davis was 4-for-4 with two runs scored.