The App State softball team added four games to the 2021 schedule, head coach Shelly Hoerner announced today. The Mountaineers will travel to Greensboro, N.C. to take on the North Carolina A&T Aggies on Friday in a doubleheader beginning at Noon. App State will then hit the road to Durham to face North Carolina Central on Sunday in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.
The Mountaineers sit at 6-4 on the season after winning their second straight series, taking three games of four against UNCW last weekend. The first two games were low scoring affairs as App State took game one 3-2 and game two 5-4.
The Seahawks were able to take game three, 5-2 but the Mountaineers bounced back, defeating the Seahawks 7-1 in the final game of the series. Two Mountaineers hit over .400 on the weekend, with Mary Pierce Barnes (.429) and Kayt Houston (.417) having solid weekends at the plate. Barnes ended the weekend with six hits and two RBIs. Houston posted five hits, including one double, and two RBIs. Keri White led the team with three RBIs from a three-run homer in game four.
Kenzie Longanecker went 2-0 in the circle against the Seahawks, throwing complete game wins in game one and four. She ended the weekend with a 1.50 ERA with 12 strikeouts. Taylor Nichols came in clutch in her first appearance for the Mountaineers, coming on in relief in game two to receive the win. She gave up only one hit and one walk in her four-inning shutout appearance.
The freshmen bats have been hot this season, with rookies Kayt Houston and Emma Jones leading the charge at the plate. Houston’s batting average currently sits at .382, as she has started every game for the Mountaineers in right field or as the designated player. She has 13 hits on the year, including three doubles and a home run, with five RBIs.
Jones, the starting second baseman, also has 13 hits with a .361 average. The rookie has three doubles and a triple this season, with eight RBIs. She is also a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts.
Baylee Morton continues to lead the Sun Belt in slugging percentage with a 1.034 and her six home runs are also good for conference leader. With 13 RBIs, Morton sits at fourth in the Sun Belt. With four doubles, Gabby Buruato sits at T-8th in the conference and Jones’ four stolen bases are good for T-6th.
On the defensive side, Longanecker and Sydney Holland’s three wins in the circle are tied for fifth, while Longanecker is tied for 7th in batters struck out looking (6) and 7th in total strikeouts (20). She is also 10th in opposing team batting average with a .224.
The North Carolina A&T Aggies, Friday’s opponent, sit at 0-8 on the season, with their last games against UNCG an 8-0 loss in five innings and an 11-2 loss in five innings at UNCG Softball Stadium. The top two offensive players are newcomers. Freshman Alyxx Estrada and sophomore Jai Deese lead the team with a .294 batting average on five hits. Estrada leads with three RBI, and Deese leads with four runs scored. In the circle, freshman S’Nyiah Stinson leads the team with a 7.45 ERA in 9.2 innings pitched.
The North Carolina Central Eagles who App plays on Sunday, are 0-9 and were last swept in a four-game set against Robert Morris on Feb. 25-26. NCCU has allowed 22 unearned runs in its first nine games. Junior catcher Madison Mifsud (.286, 6 hits, 2 2B, 2 RBI), freshman catcher/third baseman Hailey Batista (.278, 5 hits, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 2 2B, 3 R) and senior first baseman Joirea Dumas (.273, 6 hits, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R) have all played in every game for the Eagles and top NCCU’s lineup so far.
A trio of pitchers have seen action in the circle for the maroon and gray, including senior Kiara Hurley (0-6, 3.90 ERA, 24 SO, 37.2 IP), senior Caroline Campbell (0-1, 6.13 ERA, 8.0 IP) and freshman Jaylah Barr (0-2, 15.09 ERA, 5 SO, 10.2 IP).