ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – The Florida A&M University softball team won the 2016 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Softball Tournament championship on Saturday afternoon at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.
This is the third consecutive title for the Lady Rattlers (27-28) and 12th overall.
Head coach Veronica Wiggins was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Coach for the 10th time. Veronica Burse was also named Most Outstanding Performer.
“I have two new coaches this year, so this championship was really special,” Wiggins said. “We have a great pitching staff and she (Burse) knew her role and she did exactly what she was supposed to do.”
In the double-elimination championship, Bethune-Cookman took the first game, 8-3, to force a deciding game.
In the deciding game, Florida A&M got a solo home run by Kieffi Myrick in the second inning and broke the game open in the third with six runs on seven hits and took advantage of one Lady Wildcat error to grab a 7-0 lead.
Bethune-Cookman (22-31) plated a run in the fifth, but it wasn’t enough as Florida A&M captured its third straight MEAC Tournament crown.
The Lady Rattlers pounded out 12 hits. Jessica Nathan, Tashayla Irvis, Kieffi Myrick, Toni Anderson and Whitney Farris each had two hits.
Burse (10-14) scattered three hits and gave up one run, with three strikeouts and four walks, in seven innings to lift Florida A&M to the win. During the tournament, Burse dominated batters as she worked 15.0 innings and fanned nine. Also, she gave up only three hits and two runs (one earned).
In the opener, Florida A&M jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a two-run homer to left center by Alexis Day in the first inning.
Bethune-Cookman loaded the bases with one out in the top of the second and came away empty handed after a pair of strikeouts by Kenya Pereira. However, the Lady Wildcats loaded the bases in the third and grabbed a 4-2 advantage after a grand slam homer by Brianna Sanders.
The Lady Wildcats added to the lead with four runs in the fourth and cruised to an 8-3 win.
Sanders paced the Bethune-Cookman offense with two hits and four RBIs. Sabrina Anguiano went the distance as she surrendered three runs on eight hits to earn the win.
Pereira took the loss as she gave up seven runs on six hits, with four strikeouts and three walks, in 3.1 innings.
Florida A&M earns the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division Regionals awaits their opponent that will be announced during the NCAA Softball Selection Show Sunday, May 16 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Most Outstanding Player: Veronica Burse, Florida A&M
Most Outstanding Coach: Veronica Wiggins, Florida A&M
2016 MEAC All-Tournament Team
Sabrina Anguiano, Bethune-Cookman
Annie Bakenhus, Bethune-Cookman
Sophia Ortega, Bethune-Cookman
Iesha Waters, Bethune-Cookman
Veronica Burse, Florida A&M
Alexis Day, Florida A&M
Jessica Nathan, Florida A&M
Kenya Pereira, Florida A&M
Sandy Hawthorne, Delaware State
Nicole Gazolla, Delaware State
Torrian Wright, Savannah State