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Mountaineers struggle at Purple-Gold Invitational

Courtesy of Kristin Shaffer, App State Athletics
Freshman Grace Barrett prepares for a pitch against Kent State Feb. 9.

App State softball traveled to Greenville over the weekend for the Purple-Gold Invitational. They faced East Carolina, Saint Joseph’s and Youngstown State. 

The Mountaineers opened the invitational Friday with the first of two matchups against Saint Joseph’s. 

An RBI in the second inning from utility freshman Grace Barrett opened up the scoring for the Black and Gold. Graduate student catcher Peyton Darnell followed with a home run to extend the lead to 4-0. Darnell has had an RBI in six of the last seven games. 

Junior pitcher Sejal Neas made quick work of the Hawks in the third inning. The Black and Gold offense answered with an RBI from senior outfielder Abby Cunningham and marked Darnell’s fourth of the game. 

The Mountaineers led 6-0 at the end of the third inning. 

Defense shined in the fourth inning as neither side was able to find home plate. Graduate student catcher Taylor Thorp stepped up in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and recorded a two-run RBI single, increasing the lead to 8-0. Junior infielder Olivia Cook recorded the final RBI of the game.  

Neas closed out the game and did not allow a run in the last 12 innings of play. The Mountaineers defeated the Hawks 9-0 in five innings via run rule. 

The second game on Friday was a matchup versus East Carolina. 

The Mountaineers were unable to capitalize until the fifth and final inning. Thorp and junior infielder Killian Roberts recorded RBIs to give the Mountaineers two runs on the day. App State fell to the Pirates 10-2 by run rule. 

The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader was against Youngstown State. 

Thorp opened the game with an RBI in the first inning to give the Black and Gold an early 1-0 lead. The Penguins answered with two runs as App State trailed 2-1 after the first inning. App State was able to score after a series of walks in the second. 

Neas held off the Penguins attack, keeping them scoreless through the second and third inning, butYoungstown State scored three runs in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 5-2. 

In the seventh inning, senior outfielder Kayt Houston recorded her 200th career hit as App State fell to Youngstown State 5-2. 

The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was a rematch against Saint Joseph’s. 

The Mountaineers struck first with an RBI from Cook, taking an early 1-0 lead after the first inning. The Hawks responded with two runs in the second and one run in the third inning, going up 3-1. 

Houston recorded an RBI in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to one. 

Defense highlighted the remainder of the game with senior pitcher Kaylie Northrop keeping the Hawks scoreless for the remainder of the game. However, Saint Joseph’s did the same as the Mountaineers lost 2-3. 

App State’s final game of the weekend was a rematch against East Carolina. 

Both sides were scoreless in the first until the Pirates struck first, taking a 1-0 lead into the third inning. 

The Mountaineers responded with two runs in the third as Darnell and sophomore infielder Hannah Forbes each recorded an RBI. Forbes picked up another RBI in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. The Pirates scored one run in the fifth and two in the sixth, giving East Carolina a 4-3 lead. The Mountaineers were unable to respond and lost to the Pirates 4-3. 

App State finished the Purple-Gold Invitational 1-4 and are now 9-10 overall. 

The Mountaineers return to action Wednesday with a rematch against NC State in Raleigh. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. 

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About the Contributor
Max Schwanz
Max Schwanz, Reporter
Max Schwanz (he/him) is a freshman journalism major, business minor, from Cornelius, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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