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App State Softball Splits Doubleheader With Louisiana
App State softball ended its weekend series at No. 23 Louisiana with its first-ranked win in program history, defeating the Ragin’ Cajuns, 5-3, after dropping the first game of the doubleheader, 4-0.
The Mountaineers (16-10, 1-3 SBC) are the second unranked team to defeat Louisiana (23-10, 5-1 SBC) this season. All of Louisiana’s losses before Saturday came against teams who were in the top 22 of the RPI rankings.
Taylor Thorp hit a three-run homer in the top of the first, and Mary Pierce Barnes hit a go-ahead two-run single in the top of the seventh in the historic win, as Sejal Neas improved her record in the circle to 6-2 and Delani Buckner earned a save in the final inning.
Barnes’ big hit down the stretch was the 150th of her career.
“We never give up; that’s what I love about this team,” head coach Shelly Hoerner said.
Game 1 Recap (App State 0, #23 Louisiana 4)
In the first game of the day, Barnes punched two hits to lead her team offensively, but the Mountaineers could not bring in any runs.
App State held Louisiana scoreless through the first three innings before the Ragin’ Cajuns scored pairs of runs in the fourth and sixth frames. Kaylie Northrop tallied four strikeouts and pitched the complete game, while Addie Wray dove for a couple of show-stopping catches from the shortstop slot.
Game 2 Recap (App State 5, #23 Louisiana 3)
After a walk for Kayt Houston and a single by Sidney Martin, Thorp slammed the first home run of her season past left field to give the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. The Black and Gold are now 10-0 this season when they score a run in the first inning.
App State’s defense held the three-run lead through the first two innings with Neas in the circle. Neas retired four consecutive batters between the first two innings before the Ragin’ Cajuns snagged a pair of runs in the third to cut the lead to one.
After those runs, Neas retired seven straight batters as the score remained, 3-2, until the bottom of the sixth when Louisiana brought in a tying run.
In the top of the seventh, Houston and Martin were batted in by the same hit a second time as Barnes singled to give her team a 5-3 lead.
Delani Buckner came in to pitch the final inning and retired all three batters. Abby Cunningham made two out of the final three outs from left field.
Neas pitched the first six and allowed only two earned runs, improving her record to 6-2, while Buckner earned her first save of the season.
Hannah Forbes made her first career start in the historic win.
App State will return to action on Wednesday with a doubleheader at N.C. Central. Next weekend, the Mountaineers will host Texas State in a three-game series.