Softball Recaps: 5.6
Alabama A&M 9, Alabama State 1 (F/5)
Mississippi Valley State 6, Alabama A&M 5 (F/8)
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Needing to win its final two games of the regular season for the outright Eastern Division crown, Alabama A&M split versus Alabama State and Mississippi Valley State during Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) action Sunday afternoon.
Alabama A&M (21-19, 11-7 SWAC) downed Alabama State (20-29, 10-8 SWAC) 9-1 in five innings but fell 6-5 in extras to Mississippi Valley (14-29, 9-9 SWAC) in the nightcap. This resulted in an identical conference record with Alcorn State, and the Lady Braves and Lady Bulldogs are co-Eastern Division champions, but Alcorn State earned the East's 1-seed in tournament play thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lady Bulldogs.
In game one, Alabama A&M jumped on top early with a two-run home run off the bat of Tiana Sanders in the first inning to go ahead 2-0, before adding another run on a single by Danielle Hansell for a 3-0 lead.
Hatty Shope scored the lone run for Alabama State (20-29, 10-8 SWAC) in the third inning after an infield hit. She was able to steal second and scored on ball hit back to the pitcher by Kristin Gunter to trim the lead to 3-1. Alabama A&M was able to add a pair of runs in the third to push the lead to 5-1, before adding four in the fourth for the final margin.
Shope led Alabama State at the plate, going 2-for-3 as the Lady Hornets were held to five hits on the day. Vanessa Bradford (2-6) suffered the loss, working four innings and allowing nine runs off of nine hits with one strikeout. Imani Largin collected the win, allowing five hits in a complete-game effort with three strikeouts.
Alabama A&M and Mississippi Valley traded scoreless innings early on, stranding a combined 11 runners over the first 4.5 innings. In the fifth, Tamia Lee-Barbadillo started a Lady Bulldog rally with a single, and after she advanced on a fielder's choice and a Ariel Smith single, Lee-Barbadillo scored thanks to a Devilette miscue in left field.
Mississippi Valley responded in the top of the sixth with a two-run homer by DeShonte Smith, but AAMU tied the game as Barbadillo again capitalized on a defensive gaffe to touch home plate. The Devilettes blew the game open in the eighth, as Ikeyia Alexander slapped a two-run double to spark a four-run inning.
Alabama A&M rallied to within one, as Kia Lang hit a RBI grounder and Sanders collected a RBI base hit, but A. Smith went down swinging to end the game.
Barbadillo was 2-for-4 with two runs and a pair of RBI. D. Smith and Kailyn Dunn each had three hits. Jezabella Quintana came on with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the first to pitch 8.0 innings for the win. She allowed seven hits and five runs -- one earned. Lauren Hayden fell to 10-4 on the season, allowing 14 hits and walking seven in a complete game.
Alabama State Athletic Strategic Communications contributed to this report