FT. MYERS, Fla. - The Wichita State softball team defeated Appalachian State for the second consecutive day Sunday, 2-1 in eight innings, to close out play in the La Quinta Inn and Suites Tournament in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Wichita State (3-6) started fast on a leadoff double from Ali Vandever in the top of the first inning that Appalachian State left fielder Allie Cashion lost in the sun. Vandever advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Hayley Temple and then home on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Laura Vickers to give Wichita State the
Appalachian State (1-4) nearly came back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth when Sarah Warnock hit a two-out single to right field that hopped over the glove of right fielder Kaitlyn Carey and rolled all the way to the fence advancing Warnock to third base. Allie Cashion then grounded a ball up the middle that second baseman Temple snared on a full extension dive and threw out the streaking base runner by a half step to preserve the Wichita State lead.
The Mountaineers threatened the Shocker lead again in the bottom of the seventh and tied the game on Cynthia Gomez's two-out RBI single to left field. The Mountaineers appeared poised to overtake the Shockers with runners on first and second but catcher Melanie Jaegers snap throw down to first base picked off Gomez to send the game to extra innings.
It appeared to be déjà vu for the Shockers who let a seventh inning lead slip away against Georgia Southern in the opening game of the tournament losing 4-3 in eight innings.
Sunday afternoon was a different story as Wichita State regrouped and turned the games momentum around right away in the top of the eighth. Once again using the international tiebreaker that places the last out of the previous inning at second base to begin the inning, junior Ali Vandever laid down a successful sacrifice bunt moving Kaitlyn Carey to third base with only one out. Temple came to the plate in position to put an exclamation point on her fine final innings. The senior from Mesa, Ariz. quickly fell behind 0-2 and looked to be on her way to becoming strikeout victim number 12 for Mountaineer starter Alissa Schoelkopf who matched Anderson inning for inning in Sunday's pitchers duel. Temple showed her resolve by extending the at-bat another six pitches including five foul balls before lifting pitch number eight deep into left field for a sacrifice fly to score Carey from third and give Wichita State a 2-1 advantage.
Appalachian State made another run at a comeback in the bottom of the eighth putting runners on second and third with two outs. Wichita State head coach Kristi Bredbenner then elected to intentionally walk Allie Cashion to load the bases and bring cleanup hitter Meghan Smith to the plate. Anderson quickly got ahead with a first-pitch strike and got the dangerous Smith to fly out to left fielder Brittany Fortner on the next pitch to end the game.
Anderson pitched a career-high eight innings in the victory and improved to 2-2 on the season finishing with four strikeouts and no walks.
Wichita State will now travel to the Blues City Classic in Southaven, Miss to play four games beginning with an 11:00 a.m. game against Wright State Fri., Feb. 22.