The App State softball team defeated Coastal Carolina in game one of the three-game series, 7-5. With the win, App State clinches at least the sixth seed in the Sun Belt Tournament, avoiding the single elimination play-in game. The Mountaineers are now 26-15 and 8-10 in conference play.
The Chanticleers (19-23, 7-15 SBC) battled until the end, coming back from a six-run deficit to cut the Mountaineer lead to two in the top of the seventh inning. Coastal Carolina had the tying run on base, but a ground out to second base ended the game for an App State victory.
Delani Buckner came in to pitch for starter Kenzie Longanecker with two runners on and no outs in the top of the seventh. The freshman forced a pop out and two ground outs to earn her second save of the season and preserve the 7-5 win. Longanecker (14-6) finished with the win, giving up five runs on 12 hits, striking out three.
The Mountaineers opened the game with fire power at the plate, scoring in the first inning off an RBI fielder’s choice from Mary Pierce Barnes. Baylee Morton came around to score the first run after she reached safely on a walk.
App State exploded in the bottom of the second inning, scoring six runs off of three hits and two Chanticleer errors. Two walks started the rally and then Keri White reached safely on a fielding error by the second baseman. A single from Morton scored White and Emily Parrott.
After another walk loaded the bases, Barnes singled to bring in a run and a fielding error scored Morton. Taylor Thorp then singled to left field to push the score to 7-0.
Coastal Carolina began chipping away in the third as Makiya Thomas hit a solo shot to cut the lead to 7-1. Kayla Rosado followed it up with a home run to center field in the top of the fifth, bringing in Abbey Montoya who reached on an error. Coastal’s third home run was hit in the top of the sixth by Courtney Dean to cut the lead to 7-4. The Chanticleers scored one more in the top of the seventh but the comeback came up short as Buckner shut the door.
Iyanla De Jesus (5-8) started in the circle for Coastal, giving up seven runs on four hits and five walks. Raelee Brabham came in with two outs in the bottom of the second, finishing the game and giving up only two hits.
The Mountaineers and Chanticleers finish up the series Friday, playing a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. in Boone.