By Bobby Neal for App State Sports. MURFREESBORO, TN – App State softball finished 4-1 at the MTSU Invitational after a pair of March 12 wins against Green Bay, 11-6, and Western Illinois, 3-0.
The Mountaineers have earned a run in the first inning in nine of their last 14 contests, going 9-0 this season when they score in the opening frame. The squad achieved this in both of its victories on Sunday.
Game 1 Recap (App State 11, Green Bay 6)
All nine starters posted a hit in the Mountaineers’ first win of the day, totaling 12 in the team’s second straight double-digit game in the runs column.
App State scored a combined 21 runs in its two games against Green Bay, marking the most over a two-game stretch since April 12, 2022, when the squad overtook N.C. Central in both games of a doubleheader.
The Mountaineers started the contest by going up 5-0 in the first two innings. Taylor Thorp started the powerful offensive output by bringing in Kayt Houston with an RBI single for the second consecutive game as the team’s first run.
Houston singled to bring in Abby Cunningham and Ambry Lucas to open the top of the second, and ran home herself moments later along with Mary Pierce Barnes, thanks to a sac fly from Sidney Martin.
The Phoenix made a statement in the bottom of the fourth when Samantha Saloun hit a grand slam to cut the lead to one.
At the top of the fifth, McKenzie McCullen inched her team ahead with an RBI single that brought in Thorp, who had just doubled. App State led, 6-4, at the end of the fifth.
In the sixth inning, the Mountaineers struck gold at the plate, bringing in five runs to stamp the lead at seven. Barnes doubled down the left-field line after a single by Cunningham to get things started. Moments later, Martin punched a two-run double, and was brought in herself by way of a Thorp single on the next at-bat. LaRousa finished the strong inning with an RBI single as Thorp ran home.
Green Bay picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough as App State improved its record to 3-1 for the weekend.
Sejal Neas earned her fifth win of the year after relieving Delani Buckner in the fourth inning. Neas saw 18 batters and allowed only one earned run.
Game 2 Recap (App State 3, Western Illinois 0)
LaRousa batted in all three runs as the Mountaineers picked up their fifth shutout of the season. Kaylie Northrop pitched all seven and struck out six batters.
App State did not allow a hit by the Leathernecks in the last five innings to hold its three-run lead that was gained in the top of the third.
LaRousa singled to the left side to bring in Thorp and Martin in the top of the first. She followed that with a double to right-field in the third to bring in McCullen in what would be the only runs scored by either team.
Northrop pitched her second shutout of the season as her team won its third straight game.
App State will host six consecutive home games, starting with a ranked matchup against No. 11 Virginia Tech on March 15 at 5 p.m.