App State softball (3-3) secured the series win with a 7-5 win in the first game of the doubleheader on Sunday against the UNC-Greensboro Spartans (1-4). The Spartans bounced back in game two, notching their first win of the season with a 9-5 victory over the Mountaineers.
Both teams were held scoreless until the fourth inning as the Spartans struck first in the bottom half. Three hits and a throwing error from Caylie Kifer gave UNCG the lead heading into the fifth.
The Mountaineer bats came alive in the top of the fifth, as Taylor Thorp started the rally, making it to second on an error by the shortstop. Sidney Russell singled to center field, advancing pinch runner Kati Waalk to third. Gabby Buruato then stepped up to the plate and knocked a two-run double to score Thorp and Russell.
Keri White moved Buruato to third on a grounder to the pitcher, followed by a walk to Emma Jones. Buruato was able to score on a throwing error by the catcher as Jones stole second base. Baylee Morton gave the Mountaineers the lead with a single to right field, scoring Jones.
App State added another in the sixth as Thorp once again got the rally going with a double to right field. She reached third after Russell grounded out to second. Buruato came through yet again, hitting her second double of the day to bring in Thorp for the 5-3 advantage.
Two more insurance runs came in the top of the seventh with freshman Allie Sewell earning her first career RBI off a single to left field. Thorp also added a run with a sacrifice fly to left field. Those runs were ultimately needed as the Spartans put up two in the bottom half of the inning off a two-run shot from Jordan Gontram.
Buruato and Kayt Houston ended the first game with two hits apiece. Buruato also had three RBIs, with Morton, Sewell and Thorp each adding one.
Sydney Holland was solid in the circle for the Mountaineers and earns her second win of the season. She threw the complete game win, giving up six hits and four earned runs. Holland ended the day with eight strikeouts.
Morgan Scott (0-2) received the loss for UNCG, throwing 5.2 innings, giving up seven hits and three earned runs.
The Mountaineers struck first in game two, scoring two runs in the second inning with two outs. Russell began the two-out rally, beating out a single to the shortstop. Kifer singled to center field to put runners on first and second. Buruato picked up right where she left off in game one, doubling to left field to bring in the two runners to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom half of the inning.
UNCG took the lead in the bottom of the third, stringing together three hits to put up three runs, including a two-run home run from Delaney Cumbie. The Spartans would not hold the lead for long, as Houston smashed a solo home run over the right field fence to tie it up 3-3 heading into the bottom half of the fourth.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the bottom half of the fourth as UNCG took the lead again. The Spartans put together a three-run inning off of two hits and two Mountaineer errors to take the 6-3 lead heading into the fifth.
Following the Spartans’ big inning, Morton cut into the lead after she hit her fifth home run of the season, already matching the total she had last season, to make the score 6-4 in favor of the Spartans. The final three runs for the Spartans were scored in the bottom of the sixth off of three hits to give them the 9-4 edge.
The Mountaineers did not go quietly, plating one more run in the bottom of the seventh. White opened the inning with a double to center field, followed by a single by Jones to bring in White. App State could not finish the comeback as UNCG shut down the next three batters.
Freshman Delani Buckner made the start in the circle for the Mountaineers. She threw three innings and gave up three runs before Camryn Brazile came on in relief. Brazile receives the loss on the day, going two and a third, giving up three hits and four runs. Kenzie Longanecker came on in relief with one out in the sixth, giving up two hits and two runs.
The Spartans were led offensively by Makenna Matthijs with three hits and one RBI. Cumbie and Blayke Batten each added two RBIs. Alina Varga received the win in the circle, going the distance and striking out six.
The Mountaineers return to the field next weekend, making the trip to Wilmington, N.C. to take on UNCW in a three-game series.