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Grace Barrett
Grace Barrett went two-for-three with two runs scored.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Softball Splits Doubleheader at Wolfpack Classic

It was a great day at the plate for the App State Mountaineers, tallying 20 total hits and 10 runs, which led to a doubleheader split in the Wolfpack Classic finale on Sunday. The Mountaineers defeated Cleveland State 8-1 to begin the day before falling to the host NC State 6-2 in the finale.

App State (7-5) played a complete game on both offense and defense in the day’s first game against Cleveland State (3-5) as the Mountaineers jumped in front in the third inning and never looked back. A three-spot in the third inning courtesy of an RBI single by Peyton Darnell and a two-RBI triple by Killian Roberts gave App State a lead it never looked back from in game 1.

Roberts recorded her best game of her young Mountaineer career against Cleveland State, scorching three hits and driving in a season-high four runs. She accounted for half of App State’s runs in the first game. Darnell continued her strong showing at the Wolfpack Classic with three hits and two more RBIs. She’s driven in 14 runs through the first 12 games in her Mountaineer career.

Overall, 10 Mountaineers recorded at least one hit against the Vikings, including Ambry Lucas’ first hit of the season. Three different players tallied multi-hit games.

It was another strong outing for left-handed pitcher Kaylie Northrop as she quieted the Viking bats all game, tallying five scoreless innings and striking out six. Jenna Samuel came in for her second appearance in the Black and Gold and closed things out to secure App State’s third win of the weekend.

In game 2, it was Darnell who started the Mountaineers in front with an RBI single to give App State a lead against ACC opponent NC State (12-3). The Mountaineers led at the end of the first three innings, but a four-run sixth for the Wolfpack offense pushed them ahead to the win.

Sejal Neas provided the Mountaineers with another great start as she pitched 5.1 strong innings before being lifted in the sixth inning. She struck out two in her outing and kept the Wolfpack to just four hits with runners on base.

For the weekend, the Mountaineer staff was excellent as they allowed just eight runs across the four games.

Game 1: App State 8, Cleveland State 1
The Mountaineers saw a runner reach base in every inning as they tallied 15 hits in the game. On the defensive side, Kaylie Northrop continued her brilliant stretch in the circle as she extended her scoreless inning streak to 20, picking up her fourth win of the year.

App State immediately got its day started courtesy of a lead-off single from Kayt Houston, marking her fifth hit of the weekend. Nothing came after that for App State in the first, but a clean inning from Northrop in the bottom of the inning kept the Vikings at bay and held the game scoreless after an inning.

The second inning saw the Vikings see their first baserunner of the game reach, but two straight punchouts from Northrop stranded the runner at second as she recorded her first two strikeouts of her outing.

Northrop’s clean inning brought life into the App State dugout as they immediately took the lead in the third inning thanks to four hits and three runs. First, it was Abby Cunningham who singled through the left side to tally her first hit of the game. Then Grace Barrett reached via a bunt single, and Darnell promptly scored Cunningham on the first pitch she saw in her at-bat. It was Darnell’s fourth straight game with an RBI.

A fielder’s choice advanced both runners into scoring position, allowing Killian Roberts a chance to drive in a pair of runs. She did just that, smoking a ball into right-center field that scored Barrett and Darnell, giving App State a three-run lead.

The defense stepped up with a lead in the bottom of the third, keeping the Vikings off the board. The Mountaineers fed off their defense again, scoring four more runs in the fourth inning to take a commanding lead.

Hits from Taylor Chumbley and Addie Wray got things started in the fourth and both were advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Cunningham. Chumbley scored from third on a fielder’s choice to plate App State’s fourth run and then two more hits from Barrett and Darnell doubled the Mountaineers’ run total as both players tallied RBI hits.

Capping off the inning, Roberts scorched another RBI single into right and scored the seventh run, making it back-to-back multi-run innings for App State.

Northrop finished her stellar outing with three more strikeouts over the next two innings, keeping the Vikings off the board and extending her scoreless inning to streak to 20 before Samuel relieved her. Northrop tallied 16 strikeouts across two games on Saturday and Sunday.

The Mountaineers scored again in the sixth courtesy of Roberts’ fourth RBI of the game. Sunday marked her second multi-RBI game of her Mountaineer career.

The Vikings recorded their lone run in the sixth inning, but Samuel tallied a clean seventh inning to finish off the Vikings in game 1.

Game 2: NC State 6, App State 2
App State led for five of the seven innings in game 2 against NC State, but a four-run sixth inning from the Wolfpack propelled them ahead to the win.

The Mountaineers started strong in the game, taking an early lead courtesy of Darnell’s fifth straight game with an RBI. She recorded a hit in every game this weekend and raised her season batting average to .500.

Sejal Neas took the ball first for head coach Shelly Hoerner and worked around a lead-off single to keep the Wolfpack off the board. A slick double-play turned by Grace Barrett cut off the runner at second and a strong throw from Roberts nabbed the runner at first.

Neas pitched well with runners on base in game 2 as she allowed just four hits with runners on base in the game. Her ability to work around traffic paid off in a big way in the second inning as she stranded two runners in scoring position with her first two punchouts of the game.

Neither team scored through the next 1.5 innings as both pitchers continued to work solid games. The Wolfpack tied the game in the fifth inning, however, scoring on a fielder’s choice for their first run of the game.

App State immediately answered in the fifth inning and took the lead right back with another two-out RBI from Kayt Houston. Addie Wray slapped a single that stayed fair down the left-field line and was advanced to third base after two straight productive outs. After a pitching change, Houston put a ball in play to shortstop and legged out an infield hit to score Wray and give the Mountaineers a 2-1 lead after 4.5.

NC State tied the game back up at two in their half of the fifth inning with a solo homer off the bat of Hasler. The Wolfpack kept App State off the board in the sixth and scored four more runs to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. App State fought hard in the game and showed its resilience after a long weekend full of delays and time changes, but the gas ran out as the Mountaineers fell 6-2 in the weekend finale.

Overall, it was a solid weekend for the squad as they finished 3-1 and moved their record to 7-5. The pitching staff allowed just eight runs all weekend.

In a quick turnaround, the Mountaineers hit the field again on Tuesday, traveling to Johnson City, Tenn. to face the ETSU Buccaneers in a doubleheader at Betty Basler Field. First pitch from game 1 is set for 4 p.m.