App State softball tallied two wins in tight games on Saturday, defeating UNCW 3-2 and 5-4, respectively. The Mountaineers sit at 5-3 on the season, while the Seahawks fall to 1-3.
The Seahawks took the lead early, plating two runs in the bottom of the first inning off of two hits and a Mountaineer throwing error in center field.
The Mountaineers answered in the third, with their rally starting as Gabby Buruato reached safely off an error by the pitcher. Emma Jones singled to put runners on first and second and Baylee Morton was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two outs, Taylor Thorp drew the walk to give App State its first run. Mary Pierce Barnes followed that up with a single to the shortstop to tie the game heading to the bottom of the third.
Morton stepped up to the plate in the top of the fifth and gave the Mountaineers their first lead of the game and the game-winning run with one swing of the bat. The reigning Sun Belt Player of the Week hit her sixth home run of the season, already topping the five home runs she hit last season.
Kenzie Longanecker (2-0) was lights out in the circle after the first inning, throwing the complete game win with a season-high eight strikeouts on the day. The senior gave up two runs off of seven hits and one walk.
Four Mountaineers ended the game one with two hits, including Keri White, Jones, Morton and Barnes. Kayt Houston also added a hit. Morton, Thorp and Barnes each tallied an RBI to lead the Mountaineers to victory.
Taylor Vitola led the Seahawks with three hits. Rylee Pate (0-2) received the loss in the circle, going four and a third and giving up three runs off of seven hits and two walks. Janel Gamache came on in relief and gave up two hits, striking out four.
The Mountaineers picked up where they left off, taking the lead in the first inning of game two. White led off with a bunt single and then stole second and third. Jones scored her off a ground out to second base.
App State pushed across another in the second, once again aided by stolen bases. Caylie Kifer hit a single to the shortstop and then stole second to put a runner in scoring position for Sidney Russell. Russell knocked a double to left center to give the Mountaineers the 2-0 advantage heading into the bottom of the second.
The Seahawks answered in a big way in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs off of five hits, including a two-RBI double from Logan Bjorson to take the 4-2 lead. UNCW’s lead did not last as the Mountaineers scored two in the top of the fourth to tie it back up. Barnes started the rally with a single and Thorp moved her to third with a double to right center. Russell tallied another RBI with a sacrifice to right field. Thorp scored the fourth run off a wild pitch.
The game-winning run for the Mountaineers came in the top of the sixth off another Seahawk miscue. Kifer got things going with a single and was moved to second off a sacrifice bunt from Russell. Buruato singled to third base, moving runners to first and third. As Buruato stole second, Kifer was able to score the game-winner on a throwing error by the catcher.
Taylor Nichols was great in her first appearance for the Mountaineers, coming on in relief in the fourth inning for starter Sydney Holland and earning the win. Nichols gave up only one hit and struck out three in her four-shutout innings. Holland went three innings, giving up four runs off of seven hits.
Russell ended the game two with two RBIs, followed by Jones with one. Kifer was the team leader in hits with two and runs scored, also with two.
Vitola once again led the Seahawks with two hits, as well as Skylar Stockton with two. Gamache received the loss in the circle, pitching three innings and giving up one run off three hits.
The Mountaineers and Seahawks finish up the four-game series tomorrow, playing a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.