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Addie Wray
Bunker Hill grad Addie Wray went three-for-six with an RBI in the doubleheader.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Softball Blanked in Road Game Against Coastal Carolina

In a scoreless affair through 5.5 innings on Saturday, Sejal Neas and Coastal Carolina starter Nicolette Picone treated the Conway crowd to a tight pitcher’s duel throughout. Fresh off her scoreless outing in relief on Friday, Neas fired five straight scoreless frames in her 18th start of the year, but a two-run sixth by the Chanticleers propelled them ahead as they won 2-0 to even the weekend set.

Offense was hard to come by in the contest as the App State (16-20, 4-10 SBC) bats mustered just three hits for the game. Only nine hits between the two squads were recorded on Saturday. Despite that, both Peyton Darnell and Grace Barrett stayed hot at the plate, tallying a hit apiece to extend their respective hitting streaks. Darnell is 4-7 through two games in Conway.

Neas was electric yet again in her second appearance of the weekend, but the defense behind her helped save several hits to keep it tight. In the second inning, Abby Cunningham tallied her team-leading fifth outfield assist, gunning a runner at second to lead off the inning, and Addie Wray showed her athleticism with a leaping grab against the wall in the fifth. The Mountaineers were errorless for the second straight contest against Coastal Carolina (26-17, 6-8 SBC).

App State saw a baserunner reach in all but one inning in the game as the Mountaineer hitters worked deep counts, forcing Picone to throw several pitches. The Mountaineers had several chances to score, but the timely hits weren’t there.

Dueling perfect innings from both sides started game two as Neas retired the first three hitters she saw to kick off her day. A walk to Taylor Thorp marked the first baserunner of the game and a fielder’s choice advanced a runner to second, but the Chanticleers forced a ground out to end the Mountaineers’ half of the second.

Trekking back on defense, App State found a jolt in the form of Cunningham in left. The Chanticleer cleanup hitter sent a liner that snuck fair down the third-base line, but the runner was cut down at second trying to extend a single into a double. Cunningham’s rocket throw from the corner to Macy Hamby at second marked her fifth outfield assist of the year.

Fired up after the play, Neas recorded her first strikeout of the afternoon and worked around a two-out single to keep the game scoreless after two. Back in the dugout, the Mountaineers saw another leadoff hitter reach via a walk, but three straight outs retired the side.

A dueling zero by Neas in the bottom of the third allowed Darnell a chance to ignite a rally in a scoreless game. She did just that, smoking a double over the right fielder’s head to mark the first App State hit of the contest. It was her fourth hit of the series and extended her team-leading hitting streak to nine games.

Thorp moved the runner to third with a sac bunt and Killian Roberts drew a walk to put runners on the corners with one out. Bearing down, the Chanticleers induced two straight groundouts to leave two stranded.

Leading off the fifth, Neas used another fantastic play from her defense to record an out as Wray made an incredible leaping catch against the wall to take away extra bases. Neas went on to punchout her second batter of the game, leaving another runner stranded as play progressed to the fifth.

The Mountaineers generated another scoring chance in the fifth, capitalizing on a Chanticleer defensive miscue. Cunningham put the ball in play to third with one out and reached safely on a bobble. A wild pitch moved her to second and an infield hit from Barrett sent her to third for Darnell. Facing a Mountaineer threat for the second consecutive inning, Picone settled down and fielded a comebacker to leave two stranded.

Coastal Carolina struck for the game’s only runs in the sixth inning, scoring twice on three hits. A bunt single started the inning and two straight doubles from the Chanticleers’ second and third hitters drove home two.

Trailing for the first time all series, App State sent Macy Hamby to the plate to lead off the seventh and she reached via a fielding error to put another leadoff hitter aboard. Despite the early pressure, Coastal Carolina sat down the next three hitters to win the game and even the series.

App State and Coastal Carolina will conclude the three-game set Sunday in the rubber match. The Mountaineers will look to win their second Sun Belt series of the year. First pitch at St. John Stadium is set for noon and can be streamed on ESPN+.

{Information provided by Appalachian State Athletics}