App State softball (13-10) completed the doubleheader sweep of Western Carolina (5-15) on Tuesday afternoon, coming from behind to win the first game 5-1 and winning a 10-inning second game 4-3.
The Mountaineer bats came alive in the top of the seventh to take the win, scoring five runs off of five hits. Emily Parrott started the rally with a single to the shortstop and Keri White moved her to second with a sacrifice bunt.
Caylie Kifer tallied the first RBI of the inning, doubling to center field to bring in Parrott. Baylee Morton and Kayt Houston then pushed the lead to 4-1 with back-to-back home runs. Morton hit in Kifer and Houston’s was a solo home run.
With two outs, Mary Pierce Barnes added another insurance run for the Mountaineers, hitting the third home run of her career to put App State up 5-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning. From there, starting pitcher Kenzie Longanecker and the Mountaineer defense took over and closed out the game.
The Catamounts had the Mountaineers on their toes early, with Bailey Huneycutt hitting a solo home run in the top of the first to take the lead. App State had runners on base in the top of the fourth and fifth inning, but did not score until the rally in the seventh. WCU also had runners on the corners in the bottom of the fourth, but App State was able to work out of it with a ground out to first base.
White, Barnes and Gabby Buruato each had two hits in the win, with Morton leading the way with two RBIs. Kifer, Houston and Barnes also added an RBI. Longanecker (7-3) shut down Western Carolina following the first inning, giving up four hits in her complete game win.
Huneycutt tallied two hits in the loss for the Catamounts, with Myra Twitty and Amber Parker adding the other two. Jayme Eilers (3-8) received the loss in the circle, giving up five runs off 11 hits, striking out six.
The momentum continued into the second game for the Mountaineers, as White hit the sixth home run of her career and second this season in the top of the third to give App State a 1-0 lead.
From the third, the game was a rubber match as neither pitcher surrendered a run until the seventh inning. Starter Sydney Holland went 6.1 innings for the Mountaineers, giving up four hits. With bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Delani Buckner came on in relief and closed out the game. Western Carolina was able to plate one in the bottom off an error to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
Both teams were scoreless in the eighth with the International Tie Breaker rule in effect. The Mountaineers scored one in the top of the ninth as Sidney Russell moved pinch runner Sidney Martin to third on a bunt. Buruato brought her in on a ground out to second base.
The Catamounts matched App State’s run in the bottom, with a bunt moving the placed runner to third and an error bringing her in, pushing the game to the 10th inning.
The 10th was the deciding inning, as the Mountaineers put two runs up in the top to take the win and sweep. With Parrott on second, White moved her to third on a sacrifice bunt and Morton scored her on a ground out to the pitcher. Houston then doubled to bring in Kifer, who reached base on a walk and was the game-winning run.
Western Carolina put up one run in the bottom of the 10th but its rally came short as the Mountaineer defense recorded three straight outs after the Catamounts loaded the bases.
Buckner (2-2) closed out the game to earn the win, giving up two runs on two hits, striking out one. Savannah Rice (2-7) threw all 10 innings for WCU, allowing four runs on four hits, striking out four.
White, Kifer, Houston and Buruato had the Mountaineers’ four hits, as White, Houston and Buruato each tallied an RBI, including Houston with the game-winner. Kailey McNeil led WCU with two hits, while three different Catamounts tallied an RBI.
The Mountaineers return home on Friday, taking on Sun Belt opponent Georgia State in a three-game series beginning Friday at 7pm. Game two will take place Saturday at 3pm and the final game will be played Sunday at 1pm.