The Appalachian State softball team split an exhibition double-header with a win and a loss against Milligan College Sunday afternoon at Sywassink/ Lloyd Family Stadium.
Appalachian State rallied behind some timely hitting to defeat Milligan College 7-5 in the first game of the doubleheader.
Junior utility/infielder Cara Parker led the offensive charge with a two-run home run, while freshman catcher Jenny Dodd and sophomore first baseman Heather Josey each had RBI doubles.
After jumping to an early 1-0 lead, the Buffaloes plated four runs on five hits off the Mountaineer’s freshman pitcher Annaleise Kennedy in the top of the third.
The Mountaineers would respond in the bottom of the fourth when Parker smacked a two-run home run over the scoreboard in center field.
“I was just doing what I could to help the team and at that point we just needed someone to step up,” Parker said about her home run.
App State would continue to chip away at Milligan’s lead, adding a run in the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of a Dodd double.
After trailing for the majority of the game, the Mountaineers made their comeback in the bottom of the sixth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for App State who then drew another base on a walk and brought in a run. Josey provided the nail in the coffin on the next at bat, drilling a ball into the right center gap for a two-RBI double.
With a 7-5 lead secured, junior pitcher Vanessa Ciocatto closed the door on a game one victory, retiring the Buffaloes in the top of the seventh.
“We were down early and came back and won that ball game which is not something our program has been good at in the past, so we were really excited about that,” head coach Janice Savage said.
The Mountaineers dropped the second contest of the day 7-4.
Despite the loss, Dodd added a solid contribution going 2-3 with a double and a solo home run.
“We’ve all been working really, really hard and I know that hard work is paying off,” Dodd said. “It’s a good feeling to know what you do day in and day out is coming through.”
In similar fashion to the first game, the Buffaloes jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first.
Senior Jessica Wheelock laced an RBI double into the gap to give Milligan an early 1-0 lead.
After an App State error – one of three in the day – senior outfielder Natalie Sheffey knocked in another run with an RBI single. A fielder’s choice would plate one more, giving the Buffaloes a 3-0 cushion after one inning of play. Milligan would add three more runs in the top halves of the fourth and fifth innings.
After picking up a run in the bottom of the third, App State would try to regain their comeback magic from game one in the bottom of the fifth.
Dodd doubled into the gap to begin the frame, and a walk two batters later left runners on first and second with two outs. On the next at bat a Mountaineer bunt attempt was fielded by Wheelock and errantly thrown past the third baseman, plating two for App State.
Wheelock, however, would atone for her mistake in the top half of the inning with an RBI double to push the Buffaloes advantage to 7-3.
App State began the bottom of the seventh with momentum thanks to a lead off home run from Dodd.
The next three batters would be retired in order, however, handing the Mountaineers a loss in game two.
Although she acknowledged the growing pains associated with youthful teams, Savage wouldn’t let her team completely off the hook.
“This is our first game at home and our first two games in a row so there’s a lot of new things that are still happening,” Savage said. “I don’t like to make excuses because we still should have showed up and played a lot better than we did.”
Story by: Ben Cogsdale, Sports Reporter