Following the conclusion of the regular season last weekend, the App State softball team (29-25) opened play in the 2022 Sun Belt Softball Championship on Wednesday evening. The Mountaineers fell in their first-round contest to Texas State (37-17) by a final score of 2-0 after the Bobcats scored on a sac fly and a bases-loaded walk.
App State got off to a promising start in the opening frame after Kayt Houston picked up the Mountaineers’ first hit of the day. The sophomore singled through the right side but failed to make it home. Delani Buckner got the start, also starting off well in the first as she retired the side in order in the bottom half.
The Mountaineers pushed for the game’s opening run in the second as McKenzie McCullen and Taylor Thorp both got on base. Again, App State failed to plate a run as the duo was left stranded in scoring position. Texas State got on the board first, scoring in the bottom of the second after a sacrifice fly from Claire Ginder brought in Anna Jones.
After a pair of scoreless innings, both teams began to threaten at the plate. Back-to-back, two-out singles from Texas State in the bottom of the fifth had the Bobcats close before Emma Jones snagged a hard line shot in the six hole to end the inning. The Mountaineers then looked to manufacture the tying run in the top half of the sixth but failed to bring Jones in from third base.
Texas State doubled its advantage in the bottom of the sixth. A bases-loaded walk brought in Caitlyn Rogers to cement the score line at 2-0.
The Mountaineers were led by Houston and McCullen on the offensive end as they both recorded one hit on the day. Houston’s first-inning single was the bright spot at the plate as she tallied her league-leading 67th hit of the season.
Buckner stayed in the circle for the entire game, giving up just two runs. The sophomore struck out four Bobcats across six innings of work.
Wednesday’s loss means that App State will play Coastal Carolina in an elimination game Thursday. These two teams met last weekend and the Chanticleers took all three games of series. First pitch for Thursday’s contest is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted on ESPN+.