On the second day of the Elon Softball Classic, the App State Mountaineers shared a pair of contests with the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Hunt Softball Park.
The Highlanders (0-3) started the day strong, scoring the first two runs in the fourth inning of the first and taking their first lead of the season. Taylor Thorp led off the game with a double and three straight hits by Killian Roberts, Olivia Cook and Sidney Martin brought home a pair of runs. Cook’s fourth touchdown marked her first in a Mountaineer uniform.
The first game saw Sejal Neas make her first start of the season for the Mountaineers, walking six. Neas pitched well, shutting out the RedHawks over the first four innings while striking out three. But a grand slam off the bat of Sami Bewick capped a five-run inning to give the RedHawks the lead for good.
App State racked up seven hits against Miami (4-0) starting pitcher Addy Jarvis and did well to battle against good pitchers. Jarvis scored five in the game.
The Mountaineer offense struggled in the second game, tallying just three hits and one run. Saturday night’s game against the RedHawks was highlighted by Peyton Darnell’s third-inning solo shot to left field, her second home run in as many days. The graduate transfer was the only Mountaineer to post a multi-hit outing in the second game.
Alannah Hopkins started the second game for App State, making her first start of the season. The RedHawks scored 10 runs in the first two innings to take control early and never looked back.
Game 1: Miami (Ohio) 5, App State 2
Nea’s night started strongly in the first game as she scored the first goal she saw. Neas walked with an attacker in line, but she was able to keep them blocked.
Killian Roberts slapped in App State’s first doubleheader and scored the first home run for the Black and Gold. Roberts would reach second base in the inning, but a flyout by Macy Hamby ended the threat.
The RedHawks found some offensive action in the third as Reagan Bartholomew and Chloe Parks each reached via singles. But Neas settled back in, hauling in the next two scorers to end the innings. Nea’s two hits were key in eliminating RedHawk threats in the first two games.
After Neas retired the RedHawks in the third, App State found its offense in their half of the fourth, tallying four hits and scoring two runs. The game started with Thorp hitting a ball down the left field line as she lined out to second for a double. Hits by Cook and Roberts helped spark App State’s first run and a fourth-down strike by Martin in the second. Every run scored in the innings was scored with none out.
Martin stole second base to put another runner in scoring position, but Jarvis settled back in and retired the next three batters to end the frame. Despite this, the Highlanders led 2-0 after four.
Now with the lead, Neas continued its great start, recording two quick outs in the bottom of the fourth. The RedHawks got two runners on courtesy of a walk and a single, but Mountaineer starter Shelby Kunkel struck out two more.
Miami’s offense clicked in the fifth as it scored all five of its runs in the frame. Miami’s first run came courtesy of Jenna Golembiewski, who hit an RBI double to left to cut the deficit to one. After a walk to Karli Spaid, Sami Bewick brought home four runs with a grand slam to take a 5-2 lead. Neas did well to cut the deficit to three as she retired the next three batters in order, picking off another Chloe Parks strikeout to end the inning.
Neas ended up finishing what he started, but the App State offense couldn’t hit Jarvis to end the game as it fell 5-2.
Game 2: Miami (Ohio) 12, App State 1
Despite a solo shot to left field by Peyton Darnell, the Highlanders fell in the second game 12-1. The RedHawks scored 10 runs in the first two innings to take a commanding lead. Darnell tallied two of App State’s three touchdowns in the game, but the rest of the offense couldn’t follow suit in the loss.
Golembiewski started the second inning with a bang as he hit a two-run home run down the left field line. The RedHawks scored twice more to extend their lead to four by the end of the frame.
The Highlanders answered with two outs in the bottom of the first courtesy of Martin and Darnell, but a fielder’s choice and a ground out ended the threat.
Miami scored six more times in the top of the second, using six hits to get there.
The RedHawks plated two more runs in the third, but in the bottom of the inning, the Mountaineers answered with a two-out solo homer by Darnell. Darnell’s homer marks her 34th career hit and second in as many days.
After the run by the Mountaineers, Miami starter Ashley Hitchcock settled down and closed out the game, recording the win.
The Highlanders wrap up play in the Elon Softball Classic on Sunday, facing host Elon. First pitch from Hunt Softball Park is set for 2:30pm and can be streamed on FloSoftball.