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Killian Roberts
Killian Roberts went three-for-three batting with two runs scored.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Softball Drops Opener to 23rd Ranked Louisiana

The App State Mountaineer offense shined in the series opener against the No. 23 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, scoring six runs and bashing 12 hits, but No. 23 Louisiana’s timely hits with runners on helped them secure a 12-6 win on Thursday.

The Mountaineers (15-14, 3-4 SBC) saw eight different players record a hit in the game, which included a three-hit day from Killian Roberts. Making her third straight start, Brooke Kennerly posted a career day with two hits and three RBIs. The freshman tied the game at two apiece in the second inning with a single before driving in another run in the sixth.

App State got to Louisiana (22-13, 7-0 SBC) starting pitcher Sam Landry early, striking for two runs in the second on three hits after the Ragin’ Cajuns scored first. App State’s six runs in the game was the most Louisiana has allowed since March 2.

A seventh-inning rally fueled by five straight hits helped the Mountaineers spark some momentum heading into Friday’s contest. Taylor Thorp drove her 99th career hit through the hole at shortstop to bring home a run and the rally kept going as Roberts, Olivia Cook and Addie Wray each tallied hits in the final inning. App State’s 12 hits was the third time in conference play that the Mountaineers have slugged at least 10 hits in a game.

For the first time in Sun Belt play, the Mountaineers took the field first and came out firing on defense, retiring the Ragin’ Cajuns in order. Sejal Neas, who made her 15th start of the year, struck out the first batter she saw and forced weak contact to end the inning.

Landry matched Neas with a zero in the bottom of the first, which brought Louisiana back into the dugout to hit. The Ragin’ Cajuns struck for two in the second, using a two-run home run to left field to take the lead. But the Mountaineers seized momentum right back in the bottom of the second, tying the game at two after Kennerly singled through the right side.

Two straight hard-hit singles from Cook and Roberts helped start the second-inning rally and they were both advanced on Wray’s groundout to third. With two runners in scoring position, Kennerly stepped to the plate and delivered a hit into right field that plated two as Cook slid home safely behind Roberts. It was Kennerly’s first career multi-RBI game.

Neas answered the Mountaineer offensive attack with a clean third inning, striking out her second and third hitters. Back at the plate again, Kayt Houston swatted a single past the third-baseman to lead off the third, but the Ragin’ Cajuns rolled a double play to keep it tied.

The Ragin’ Cajuns struck for three in the top of the fourth courtesy of their second homer of the game. Kaylie Northrop entered the circle in relief of Neas and did well to keep the deficit at three as she sat down the first three hitters she saw to end the frame.

Another home run in the fifth helped extend the Louisiana lead to five. Despite the deficit, App State fired back and loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but the Cajuns rolled a double play to keep their five-run lead through five.

App State answered back at the Ragin’ Cajuns in the sixth inning with their third run of the game after two runners reached in front of Kennerly. Roberts scorched a single to first base and pinch-hitter Ambry Lucas reached on a throwing error to put two runners on with two outs. Then, Kennerly looped a single into shallow center that scored Roberts as the freshman pumped her fist at first base.

Louisiana tacked on three more runs in the seventh inning, but a strong seventh inning helped give the Mountaineers momentum heading into Friday as they scored three runs on five hits. Houston led off the inning with a walk and Peyton Darnell’s screaming liner into right field put two aboard for Thorp.

Thorp promptly plated Barrett from second for the fourth Mountaineer run and Roberts followed with her third hit of the game to score Darnell. With the bases loaded, Cook got involved, shooting a single into center to plate Thorp as the Mountaineers kept going.

Wray reached on an infield hit to plate the sixth run, marking the Mountaineers’ fifth consecutive seventh-inning hit, but a double play started by the pitcher helped seal the series-opening win for Louisiana.

The Mountaineers continue their three-game set with the No. 23 Ragin’s Cajuns on Friday. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+. Admission to Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium is free.