“Hat Trick Houston” leads App State past rival ULM on the road


Travis Holshouser

No. 5 Addie Wray high fives teammate Kayt Houston during App State’s 3-0 victory over Western Carolina Feb. 25, 2022.

Noah Cornelius, Reporter

App State softball traveled down south over the weekend to take on conference rival University of Louisiana at Monroe in a three-game weekend series. 

Out of the three games played, the Mountaineers won two before dropping a game to the Warhawks. App State improved its record to 17-12, placing it fourth in the Sun Belt Conference.

The Mountaineers played the first game of the series Friday, winning 6-3. In the first two innings, they scored four runs and held the Warhawks to zero runs. Sophomore outfielder Kayt Houston scored a two-run homer, helping App State get out front early in the game. 

Sophomore starting pitcher Delani Buckner shut out the Warhawks in five straight innings. Then, Houston crushed two more home runs in the fourth and sixth innings, helping to increase the lead to six for the Mountaineers. With this feat, Houston tied the record for most home runs scored in a single game by a Mountaineer. Meanwhile, freshman relief pitcher Sejal Neas put the game away by recording the final four outs, downing the Warhawks.

 “I was seeing the ball really well and stuck to my approach, and I was just doing it for my team,” Houston said in an interview following the game.

In the second game of the series, App State beat the Warhawks 7-6 in a huge comeback. The Mountaineers started the game with the lead by scoring a run in the first inning. However, the Warhawks answered back with lightning speed, scoring five straight runs in the second inning, tacking on an extra run in the third. With App State down 6-1, Neas retired 15 out of the 16 batters she pitched against, keeping the Warhawks from scoring anymore. 

On the offensive end, freshman Kam Caldwell hit a two-run double to trim the deficit to 6-3, while junior outfielder Emily Parrott scored a grand slam, giving the Mountaineers the lead. Overall, App State scored six straight runs in the sixth inning and stopped the Warhawks from getting the win. The Mountaineers won Saturday’s matchup 7-6.

With the series clinched by winning the first two games, App State headed into the final game of the weekend series with unrivaled energy. Unfortunately, the Mountaineers would fall to the Warhawks 2-1. The lone score for App State came from McKenzie McCullen, who scored a run after Parrott rocked a ball down center field. Buckner also notched two strikeouts.

However, the Warhawks scored two quick runs in the fifth inning, giving them a 2-1 lead, which they held until the end of the game in the seventh inning. Nevertheless, the Mountaineers departed Louisiana with a key conference series win, knocking ULM down to sixth and bringing App State up to fourth in the Sun Belt Conference.

The Mountaineers will play the North Carolina Tar Heels in a non-conference matchup  Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Chapel Hill.