Spartans fall to No. 5 seed App State in SoCon first round
BOONE, N.C. – Fifth-seeded Appalachian State took advantage of four UNCG errors to score four unearned runs in a 6-2 win over the No. 4 seed Spartans at the Southern Conference Softball Championship at Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium on Thursday.
The teams were tied at 2 until the fifth inning, when UNCG (21-33) committed three errors, allowing the Mountaineers (22-23) to plate four runs.
Meghan Smith reached second on a double error to lead off the inning and Allie Cashion followed with a double down the left field line to bring in Smith with the go-ahead run. After another double from Riley Carter knocked UNCG starter Cory Mattson from the game, Caroline Rogers singled up the middle to score two more runs.
A walk and a sacrifice followed before reliever Erica Navarette got a strikeout for the second out of the inning. Navarette induced a grounder that should have ended the inning, but the Spartans' third error of the stanza allowed another run to score to make it a four-run spread. Aisha Figueroa nailed pinch-runner Racquel Cooke at the plate trying to score on the play to end the inning.
UNCG had jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Heather Robb's solo home run in the bottom of the second. The blast was her career-high 10th of the season and gave UNCG three players with at least 10 homers for the first time in school history. Katelyn Bedwell has a team-best 11 and Eileen Horsmon has 10.
App State claimed its first lead of the day with two unearned runs in the top of the third. Smith drew a leadoff walk and Cashion followed with a sharp single off Figueroa's glove at third. A throwing error on the play allowed Smith to score from first and Cashion to reach third. Carter then lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Cashion with the go-ahead run.
The Spartans pulled even the following inning, as Tatiana Alcala reached on a bunt single to lead off the frame and went to second on Figueroa's groundout. Aubrey Baldwin then smoked a single to left to score Alcala with the tying run, knocking App starter Caitlin Wainright from the contest. Carter got the next two outs to limit the damage.
Carter (4-4) was magnificent in relief, throwing 4 2/3 innings of no-hit ball. She allowed just two base-runners, hitting Bedwell with a pitch in the fourth inning and seeing Horsmon reach on an error in the sixth.
Wainright took the no-decision, allowing two runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings.
The Spartans lived dangerously most of the game, working out of a bases-loaded jam to end the top of the second. After allowing a hit and hitting a batter with two outs, Mattson made a nice play to snag SoCon Freshman of the Year Sarah Warnock's grounder back up the middle for the third out, keeping the game scoreless at the time.
The Apps also stranded a pair of runners in the fourth inning as Mattson again helped her cause by fielding a grounder up the middle to end the frame.
Mattson (13-17) took the loss, allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks in four-plus innings. Navarette was charged with an unearned run on two hits and walk in three innings of relief.
Cashion and Rogers had two hits each to pace the Mountaineers at the plate.
Robb, Baldwin, Alcala and Alex Emeterio accounted for UNCG's four hits.
Emeterio's single up the middle in the bottom of the first was the 227th hit of her career, moving her into a tie for first place on UNCG's career hits list with Karyn Thompson and Jennifer Bonilla.
The loss was UNCG's first in its opening game at the tournament since falling to App State in its first game at the 2009 tournament. The Spartans fell to 0-3 against the Mountaineers in the tournament all-time.
The Spartans will face ninth-seeded Samford in an elimination game at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Appalachian State 6, UNCG 2 (May 10, 2012 at Boone, N.C.)
Appalachian State... 002 040 0 - 6 7 1 (22-23)
UNCG................ 011 000 0 - 2 4 4 (21-33)
Pitchers: Appalachian State - Caitlin Wainright; Riley Carter(3) and Michelle Lighton. UNCG -
Cory Mattson; Erica Navarette(5) and Katelyn Bedwell.
Win-Riley Carter(4-4) Loss-Cory Mattson(13-17) T-1:56 A-0
HR UNCG - Heather Robb (10).
Weather: 46 degrees, mostly cloudy
Mattson faced 3 batters in the 5th.
- UNCG -