The App State softball team (23-15) reeled off a pair of victories against NC Central (9-25) on Tuesday night. The Mountaineers picked up a dominant 18-1 win in Game 1 before rallying in Game 2 for the 11-9, come-from-behind victory.
App State tallied six home runs on the night, highlighted by a grand slam from McKenzie McCullen in the opening contest. The Mountaineers had success all night on the offensive end, scoring 29 runs in just 10 innings at the plate.
In game one, App State wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Kayt Houston’s double down the left field line brought home Emma Jones for the night’s opening run. A few pitches later, McCullen smashed a grand slam over the center field wall to put the Mountaineers up five.
A three-run bomb in the bottom of the second capped off an eight-run inning for the Mountaineers as Jones went yard to plate Kennedy Upshire and Kylie LaRousa. Then in the bottom of the third, Katelynn Crowe stepped in as a pinch hitter and delivered with another three-RBI homer that scored Abby Cunningham and Addison Jones.
After adding two runs in the bottom of the fourth, the Mountaineers led by as much as 18. The Eagles plated the final run of the first game after a sacrifice fly from Jaden Davis brought in Jaidyn Hamby.
In game two, NC Central struck first in the top of the opening inning, going up 2-0 after a home run from Hailey Batista that also scored Davis. App State responded in the bottom half of the inning when Houston drove in Jones to put the Mountaineers on the board. Mary Pierce Barnes then recorded an RBI-single that drove in Emily Parrott. A two-run shot from Baylee Morton then put the Mountaineers up 4-2 after the first inning of play.
After a couple scoreless innings, the Eagles registered six runs in the top of the fourth. Highlighted by Batista’s second home run of the game, NC Central went up 8-4 before another response from the Mountaineers. Upshire cut the deficit to three after a solo home run down the line. App State then took advantage of a few mistakes from the Eagles. A fielding error kept the inning alive and a pair of bases-loaded walks dealt to McCullen and Addie Wray brought in two runs that tied the game at eight.
The Eagles fired back in the top of the fifth when Maegan Garrison’s single drove in Kia Borum, putting NC Central back on top by one. The final blow was dealt by the Mountaineers, however, when Barnes’ solo home run sparked a three-run sixth inning for App State. The solo shot from Barnes tied the game at nine before Upshire’s two-RBI double off the center field wall sealed the nightcap’s score at 11-9.
Six Mountaineers went yard on the night. McCullen unloaded the bases with her grand slam, part of a three-hit night with a team-high five runs batted in. Jones also drove in five runs, pacing the team with four hits over both games. Upshire and Parrott also contributed with three hits while they both scored twice as well.
Sejal Neas picked up the complete game victory in Game 1, giving up just one unearned run and six hits across five innings pitched. Delani Buckner earned the win in the finale, stepping in with one out in the fifth inning before eventually striking out seven of the eight batters she faced.
App State returns to action on Thursday in Troy, Ala. when they begin a three-game series Sun Belt series against the Trojans. First pitch for Game 1 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET) and all three games of the series will be streamed on ESPN+.