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Addie Wray
Bunker Hill grad Addie Wray had one of the three hits for the Mountaineers.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Softball Splits Pair of Games in Greenville

App State Softball split a pair of games Friday to open the Purple-Gold Invitational, starting the event with a 9-0 victory against Saint Joseph’s in five innings.

The Mountaineers dropped Game 2, losing 10-2 to host East Carolina, which improved to 18-2 this season.

App State’s offense powered the victory in Game 1, led by Peyton Darnell drilling a three-run home run in the second inning and reaching base four times. Taylor Thorp (two RBIs), Abby Cunningham (one RBI) and Addie Wray each tallied multi-hit games,

Neas went all five innings on the mound, allowing six baserunners and striking out six on her way to a second straight shutout.

In Game 2, the Mountaineers (9-7) put 10 runners on base, but eight were stranded as ECU was able to get out of damage multiple times. Thorp and Olivia Cook both provided multi-hit games, and Thorp had one of the two RBIs for App State.

Ava Beamesderfer did a solid job out of the bullpen, picking up two strikeouts in two-thirds of an inning and stranding the bases loaded in the fourth inning.

Game 1: App State 9, Saint Joseph’s 0
The Mountaineers tallied nine runs on 11 hits while loading the bases in four of the five innings. App State’s run-rule victory was fueled by Darnell’s huge game at the plate, as she tallied her fifth home run of the season and recorded four RBIs.

Fresh off her complete-game gem on Tuesday against ETSU, Sejal Neas dazzled again, lowering her season ERA to 2.88 with another shutout. Her day began with a scoreless inning after she worked around a two-out hit.

The Mountaineers’ offense scored four runs on six hits in the second inning. Three straight hits from Wray, Ambry Lucas and Cunningham loaded the bases, and a fielder’s choice from Grace Barrett brought home the game’s first run.

With two on and two outs, Darnell scorched a ball over the fence in left for a 4-0 lead. Darnell has recorded at least one RBI in six of her last seven games and is up to 21 for the season.

Neas sat down the Hawks in order in the second, and the offense scored another two runs in the third. After a one-out hit from Wray, Cunningham promptly scored her from second to make it 5-0. Cunningham’s third-inning hit was her fifth hit in the last three games.

A single by Kayt Houston and an error loaded the bases again for Darnell. Her patience at the plate notched her fourth RBI of the game, as a bases-loaded walk brought in run No. 6.

Saint Joseph’s loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, giving Neas her first real trouble of the game, but she struck out a pair to escape the threat.

After a lead-off double and walk put two runners on for St. Joe’s in the fourth, Neas ended that threat with three straight punchouts.

The Mountaineers loaded the bases on three walks in the fifth inning, and Thorp joined the hit parade as she singled into right-center to plate two more for an 8-0 lead. A productive out off the bat of Killian Roberts advanced another runner into scoring position, giving Olivia Cook an RBI opportunity, and she delivered a sac fly down the left-field line that was deep enough to score Hailey Webb from third.

Neas sealed the weekend-opening win and has not allowed a run in her last 12 innings of work.

Game 2: ECU 10, App State 2
App State’s offense was able to have runners on base in four out of five innings but struggled to capitalize until late in the later innings.

Kaylie Northrop got the start for App State and racked up two strikeouts in the first, sitting the Pirates down in order. In the second inning, an RBI double and unearned run gave ECU a 2-0 lead.

In the third, a hit by pitch and two-RBI single by ECU put the Mountaineers in a 5-0 deficit before another run scored after a pitching change.

The Mountaineers looked to threaten with two outs in the fourth, as Cook singled to right field and Wray followed with a single down the left-field line. Both runners would end up stranded, however, after Brooke Kennerly hit a hard line drive right to the shortstop.

ECU continued its offensive attack in the bottom of the fourth, adding four more runs.

Cunningham got the top of the fifth inning started with a single, and Darnell kept the contest going by drawing a two-out walk. Thorp followed with an RBI single to right-center, and Roberts hit an RBI single of her own.