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Kayt Houston
Kayt Houston had a two-for-two day at the plate with two runs scored and an RBI.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Softball Picks Up Wins at Tennessee Classic

App State softball turned the weekend around on Sunday with a 5-1 defeat over Jacksonville State and a 4-3 victory against Belmont in extra innings. The Mountaineers finished the Tennessee Classic with a record of 2-2.

Kaylie Northrop improved her record to 5-0 in the circle this year, pitching a complete game against the Gamecocks and coming in during the bottom of the ninth against Belmont to pitch the final two innings and finish off the Bruins. The junior has an ERA of 1.14 this season, the best in the Sun Belt.

McKenzie McCullen and Kayt Houston combined for 11 hits across two games, three runs and seven RBI.

Game 1 Recap (App State 5, Jacksonville State 1)
The Mountaineers led from start to finish against the Gamecocks, opening the top of the first with a pair of runs. Houston led off her successful day with a single to center-field. Shortly after, Taylor Thorp hit the go-ahead RBI double, followed by an RBI single from McCullen.

McCullen struck again in the third inning, slamming a three-run homer to left-center that brought in Houston and Thorp, making the score 5-0.

The Mountaineer defense was strong throughout the morning, allowing no runs and just two hits through the first five innings. The Bruins would finally bring in a run in the bottom of the sixth, but the Black and Gold responded and did not allow a runner on base in the seventh.

Northrop pitched all seven innings and struck out eight batters for the second time this season, posting her fourth win.

In addition to her big-hitting outing, McCullen also led the team with nine putouts at first base, followed by Kylie LaRousa with eight from the catcher’s position.

Game 2 Recap (App State 4, Belmont 3, 10 innings)
In their first 10-inning game since March 23, 2021, the Mountaineers got revenge in a 4-3 win over Belmont, who had shut out the Black and Gold on Saturday, 5-0. Back in 2021, App State’s last game that lasted as long ended with the same score when the squad defeated Western Carolina, 4-3 after 10 rounds.

After two scoreless innings to start the game, Houston and Thorp reached base before McCullen stepped to the plate. The senior singled to center-field to bring in App State’s first run of the game.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Bruins broke their offensive cold spell and tied the game at 1-1. The Mountaineers responded in the top of the fifth thanks to another RBI single from McCullen that brought in Sidney Martin, who had advanced to third on a single by Thorp.

App State led, 2-1, until the bottom of the sixth when the Bruins snagged a pair of runs that shifted the pressure onto the Mountaineers.

Kaley Coltrain remained cool and hit a home run in the top of the seventh to force extra innings. It was her fourth homer as a Mountaineer.

After six innings of pitching, Sejal Neas was relieved by Delani Buckner, who pitched until Northrop came on during the last two. Buckner and Northrop allowed no runs, giving their team chances on offense to secure the final go-ahead run that would finally take place in the top of the 10th.

Kylie LaRousa opened the 10th inning with a single toward center-field. Abby Cunningham and Addie Wray hit back-to-back sacrificial bunts to send LaRousa to third base with two outs and preseason All-Sun Belt selection Houston at the plate. The junior hit an RBI single to shortstop, allowing LaRousa to score the game-winning run.

App State will play its home opener this Wednesday against North Carolina at 6 p.m. The contest will be streamed live on ESPN+ from Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium. Admission is free.