JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – Appalachian State University softball dropped a 5-3 nail-biter to Jacksonville University in extra innings on Friday night at the Debbie & Fred Pruitt Softball Complex. App State held the lead at the bottom of the ninth until the Dolphins hit a walk-off homer to take the win.
Two Mountaineer freshmen showed out on opening day in Florida. In the fourth, Alisha Josey sent out a bomb that landed over the centerfield fence to tie up the score at one a piece and sparked a fire in the Mountaineer dugout. A. Josey would see home plate again after grabbing a run off of a wild pitch that gave App the lead at the top of the ninth. In addition to A. Josey, freshman shortstop Sidney Russell had a great opening day going two-for-three and grabbing three putouts including a diving save.
On offense, Heather Josey (Statesville, N.C./North Iredell), A. Josey, Haley Stewart and Russell all cranked out a combined five hits with the Josey duo seizing one RBI a piece. Freshman Gabby Buruato and A. Josey scored App’s three runs, and none of App State’s hitters struck out.
In the circle, Vanessa Ciocatto was the starter for the season opener with freshman Kenzie Longanecker rounding out the second half of the game. Ciocatto pitched 4.0 innings and struck out two hitters, and Longanecker threw for 4.2 and dished out three strikeouts.
In the first inning, the Dolphins took the early 1-0 lead until A. Josey smashed out the homerun in the fourth to tie up the game. For the next three innings, neither team could strike up the right play to earn a run, so the score remained tied at the end of regulation, which made way for two extra innings.
Due to the International Tie Breaker rule, in extra innings, a runner starts at second base, which opened up an opportunity for App at the top of the eighth. H. Josey stepped up to bat and hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Buruato to sprint home for the score and give App their first lead of the night at 2-1. Appalachian’s lead did not last long due to a JU run in the bottom of the eighth to make it all even.
With the score tied at two a piece at the top of the ninth, both squads were eager to make the winning play to take home the victory. Stewart went up to bat and had A. Josey ready to jet at third. After a wild pitch, A. Josey hustled to home plate and gave App the lead for the second time.
After JU had grabbed the third out down by one run, it was the Mountaineers’ time to put the game away in the ninth. Longanecker fired out her third strike of the day to give the Apps two outs with one hitter to go and two runners on base. With the game on the line, both teams knew the next play would determine the victory.
Longanecker wound up the pitch, and JU hit a walk-off homer over the centerfield fence to win the game.
The Black and Gold will return to the field tomorrow, February 11 to play College of Charleston at noon and Jacksonville University again at 5 p.m. at the Debbie & Fred Pruitt Softball Complex.
— appstatesports.com —