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Junior Vanessa Ciocatto (La Habra, Calif./Delaware State/La Habra) pitched her second complete game of the season to lead Appalachian State University softball past Marshall for the first time in program history (0-5 prior) Friday afternoon, downing the Thundering Herd, 4-3.

“This was a great way to start off our weekend,” said head coach Janice Savage. “Vanessa threw a great game and we scraped together the runs we needed to come from behind.”

The Mountaineers improved to 3-13 overall while Marshall dropped their sixth-straight contest, falling to 6-7 on the season. Ciocatto (2-6) went the distance and gave up three runs, only one earned, on one hit with four walks and three strikeouts. The junior hurler’s no-hitter was broken up with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Ciocatto’s ERA is now down to 4.37, the lowest it’s been since after the first game of the season.

Savage continued, “That’s the best seven innings I’ve seen Vanessa throw in her college career and it was a great step for her. All the pitchers were pushed hard in workouts earlier this week and it’s good to see that hard work pay off for her today against a strong Marshall team. Now we just have to continue this momentum tomorrow.”

Marshall opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the second, but both crossed the plate thanks to three App State errors and with two outs already recorded. The Thundering Herd’s Lucas reached on a fielding error by Megan Walker (Raleigh, N.C./Middle Creek) before Meyer reached on an error by Natalie Orcutt (Senoia, Ga./Starr’s Mill) to score Lucas. Later, there were runners on second and third for the batter, Marshall, who reached on an error by Tiffany Taynor (New Smyrna Beach, Fla./New Smyrna Beach) and pinch-runner Colliflower scored, but Escareno was thrown out at home by Cara Parker (Lake Park, Ga./Lowndes) to end the threat.\

The Black and Gold scored all four of their runs in the top of the fifth to go up 4-2. Walker and Orcutt opened things up with back-to-back singles. Taynor then singled as well and during the play, both Walker and Orcutt came in to score on a pair of errors by the first baseman. Those two errors moved Taynor to third before Heather Josey (Statesville, N.C./North Iredell) walked and Jenny Dodd (Mocksville, N.C./West Forsyth) brought them both in with a double.

Marshall got one back in the home half with a solo home run to left center off the bat of Escareno and that was the first hit Ciocatto had given up all game. In the bottom of the seventh, the Thundering Herd put runners on first and second with two outs, but Ciocatto struck out the pinch hitter, Woodrum, for the all-important 21st out.

Appalachian State continues play in the Camel Stampede with a doubleheader on Saturday against Loyola-Chicago (10 a.m.) and homestanding Campbell (12:30 p.m.).

Catawba Valley Community College traveled to Pinehurst to take on Patrick Henry Community College in the semifinals of the Region X conference tournament. The Red Hawks beat the Patriots 76-72.

The leading scorers for the Red Hawks were JaQueaz Jackson and Matt Powell with 18 points apiece.

The Red Hawks move to 23-8 on the season.

The win sends the Red Hawks to the championship game to take on the Louisburg College Hurricanes.

Appalachian State University women’s tennis improved to 3-2 at home, winning 4-0 over USC Upstate at Yonahlossee Racquet Club on Friday.

“We looked really good today, both in doubles and in singles play,” head coach Colin Crothers said. “With our last match before a lengthy time away, I was really impressed with the attitude everyone brought to the match. Everyone played really well and hopefully we can take this momentum into the next week.”

The Mountaineers (3-5) snapped a two-match losing streak by finding a rhythm early and continuing to pressure throughout, keeping the Spartans’ (0-10) winless on the season.

In doubles play, doubles duo Megan Mullen (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) and Taylor Bygrave (Monto, Australian/Miami Gold Coast) set the paces, never trailing in at the No. 2 and taking the match 6-3. At the No. 3, Melissa Machado (Miami, Fla./Felix Varela) and McKayla Zupan (Wilmington, N.C./Hoggard) fell behind 1-2 early, but stormed back on a red-hot 5-1 run, winning 6-3.

With the match point secured, and Appalachian State up 1-0 over the Spartans, the Clare Cox (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley) and Heidi Swope (Weddington, N.C./Weddington HS) match at the No. 1 went unfinished.

In singles play, the Mountaineers continued to bring the hot rackets. Machado’s first set at the No. 2 was hard-fought, but she was able to take it 6-4, before finishing off Filippa Ericson 6-3 in the second. Gabrielle Wreder (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) went to a tiebreaker in the first set of the No. 3 singles, after allowing Carol Sigaki back into the match. Once in the tiebreaker, however, Wreder regained momentum and won 7-3, taking the first set 7-6. Carrying over from the tiebreaker, she took the match, 6-2.

The toughest match of the day for Appalachian came at the No. 1 singles as Cox took on Anna Zoske. The first set went all the way to be tied at 5-5 before Cox created a lead, and won the set 7-5. The second set went far as well, going to 6-6 tiebreaker, where Cox fell to Zoske, 6-2. After splitting the first sets, the final and deciding set was all Appalachian. Cox found her stride and took the set 6-2, winning the match and securing the sweep for the Mountaineers.

With the match clinched, Swope’s No. 4 and Brianna Armellino’s (West Palm, Fla./Home School) No. 5 singles matches went unfinished. Swope was in a 6-6 tiebreaker, while Armellino led 6-1.

The Mountaineers now go on an eight-match road trip, not playing at home until March 30. Their first road match of the trip is Saturday as they travel to Winston-Salem to take on No. 27 Wake Forest. First serve is at 4 p.m.

True freshman Bobby Hampton (Pikeville, N.C./C.B. Aycock) allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings to lead Appalachian State University baseball to a 4-0 win over Stony Brook on Friday afternoon in the first game of the Elon Tournament at Latham Park.

Making the third start of his career, Hampton (1-1) surrendered only a bloop double in the first inning and an infield single in the third. The southpaw struck out four, walked two and needed only 93 pitches to cruise through seven innings. The southpaw retired 15 of the last 17 hitters that he faced, only allowing a pair of walks over his final four innings of work.

Tyler Stroup (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) provided all the scoring Appalachian State (2-8) would need when he hit an opposite-field solo home run over the left-field wall in the second inning. The Mountaineers tacked on three more runs on an RBI single by Brian Bauk (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) and a two-out, two-run single by Colin Schmid (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) in the fifth.

When Hampton left the game after seven sterling innings, freshman Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and Bauk each worked a scoreless frame to seal the Mountaineers’ first shutout victory since they blanked UL Monroe, 7-0, on March 20 of last season.

Schmid went 2-for-4 to pace Appalachian’s seven-hit attack.

Stony Brook (2-6) was shut out for the first time this season and its three hits were a season low.

Appalachian State returns to action on Saturday when it faces Bowling Green in Day 2 of the Elon Tournament. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m. at Latham Park.

Non-conference:
Bunker Hill: 14
Fred T. Foard: 1

Hibriten: 3
Wilkes Central: 1

Shelby: 8
Bandys: 7

Non-conference:
Hibriten: 13
Bunker Hill: 7

Maiden: 12
St. Stephens: 11

Non-conference:
Fred T. Foard: 5
Maiden: 0

Freedom: 3
Crest: 1

South Caldwell: 3
West Caldwell: 0

Behind 22 points from freshman Ronshad Shabazz (Raleigh, N.C./Huntington Prep (W.V.)), Appalachian State University men’s basketball recorded one of its biggest wins in recent history, a 69-63 triumph over first-place Little Rock on Thursday evening at the Holmes Center.

With the victory over Little Rock (27-4, 17-3 Sun Belt, No. 35 RPI), Appalachian State kept its hopes for a berth in next week’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament alive. The Mountaineers (8-22, 6-13 Sun Belt) will earn a spot in the eight-team Sun Belt Tourney field with a win over Arkansas State (11-19, 7-12 Sun Belt) on Saturday at the Holmes Center and a loss by Texas State on Thursday night at Troy or Saturday at South Alabama.

In a game that featured five ties, seven lead changes and neither team ever holding more than a seven-point advantage, Appalachian State took the lead for good on a free throw by Jake Babic (Oakville, Ontario/The Kiski School) with 4:22 left in the ballgame.

However, it was senior Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page) that made perhaps the biggest play of the season for the Mountaineers when he converted an old-fashioned three-point play that gave Appalachian a 64-60 lead with 1:06 to go.

From there, Shabazz capped his 22-point night with layup with 44 seconds left and the Mountaineers made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to finish off the upset victory. Babic finished with a season-high 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting, all three pointers.

App State held a 27-21 lead in the first half, but a 7-0 run from the Trojans led to both teams being tied heading into the locker room at 30-30.

In the second half, App State held a three point lead at 46-43 but another 7-0 run from the Trojans gave Little Rock a 50-46 lead with 6:53 left to play. The Black and Gold countered with 10-3 run to take a 56-53 lead. With a 50-49 lead for Little Rock, Bennett Holley (Roanoke, Va./North Cross) hit a baseline jumper over the backboard right before the shot clock expired to give the Mountaineers a 51-50 lead and huge momentum.

With just a one point advantage at 61-60, Eaves hit a tough bankshot to finish an and-one and give the Mountaineers a 64-60 lead. App State would push the lead to five at 67-62 and sealed the win with two free throws from Emarius Logan (Columbia, S.C./White Knoll).

The Mountaineers will finish the regular season on Saturday against Arkansas State with an opportunity to go to New Orleans for the Sun Belt tournament. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m.

Appalachian State University women’s basketball (10-18, 7-12 SBC) played a tremendous second half against the top defense in the Sun Belt, but it wasn’t enough in a 72-67 setback to Little Rock (18-11, 16-4 SBC) Thursday evening in the Holmes Center.

Four different student-athletes scored in double figures for the Mountaineers, with Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) pacing the team with 14 points and dishing out three assists. Joi Jones (Duluth, Ga./Duluth) and Kaila Craven (Asheboro, N.C./Southwest Randolph) both notched 12 points apiece and KeKe Cooper (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) rounded out the leading scorers with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting.

Bria Carter (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) battled on the boards with a team-high eight off the glass while scoring eight points. Ashley Bassett-Smith (Pickerington, Ohio/UT Martin) came off the bench to hit some big shots with nine points on four buckets.

If it wasn’t for a sluggish first quarter, the Mountaineers could have been talking about snapping the Trojans’ league-long 12-game win streak. LR came out of the gate the aggressors and delivered the first punch outscoring App State, 20-6. Little Rock started 7-of-11 from the field while holding the Black and Gold to 3-for-12 in the opening period, showing why the Trojans allowed the fewest points per game in the Sun Belt at 54.6.

Appalachian started to hits its stride offensively midway through the second quarter with a 10-2 run over a 4:14 span while trailing 29-12 and sliced the game to single digits, 31-22. Story, Jones, Cooper and Craven led the charge while Craven capped off the run with a pair of free throws. The Trojans scored the final four points of the period to take a 35-22 lead into halftime.

Little Rock shot 58.3 percent in the first half while limiting Appalachian to just 7-of-23 from the field. Appalachian converted its opportunities at the free throw line going a perfect 8-for-8 to help make up for the cold-shooting performance.

The Appalachian offense came alive in the third quarter shooting an impressive 69.2 percent from the field, including a 7-for-10 start to the second half. However, the visitors were just as effective from the floor shooting 8-of-12 and stayed on top by double digits against the Apps. Carter’s layup to start the frame closed the gap to 11, 35-24, but the Trojans wouldn’t let App within 13 points en route to going into the final period with a 57-44 advantage.

Just when it looked like LR would run away with the contest to ensure its 13-straight win, the Apps went on a 12-1 run in the first 4:53 of the period that dwindled the Trojan lead to just two, 58-56. Cooper and Bassett-Smith started the fourth frame with quick layups followed by pair of free throws from Story. With 7:31 left in the game, Bassett-Smith hit yet another jumper before Jones hit a field goal that sliced the lead to four. For the sixth possession in a row, the Mountaineers came away with points as Jasmine Ogunjimi (Chicago, Ill./Hutchinson CC) hit a pair at the line to cap off the run.

Appalachian held Little Rock to a 3:37 scoring drought while forcing the visitors to miss their first eight shots in the fourth quarter, giving the Mountaineers the momentum in the final few minutes of the contest. LR did score six of the next eight points to extend the lead to six, 66-60, with 1:45 left in the game.

But App State wasn’t done yet, as Craven hit a stepback 3-pointer with 1:14 left in the game to bring the deficit to one possession, 66-63. LR would miss a pair at the free throw line on the next possession before Carter’s layup succeeding two big offensive rebounds from Bassett-Smith put the lead to just one, 66-65.

Coming down the other end, Story came up with the steal that led to a three-on-one fastbreak and getting a shot off with 22 seconds left to take the lead but couldn’t convert. Appalachian had another chance to tie the game up after LR sank two at the line to take a 68-65 lead with 18 seconds left, but the Black and Gold committed an offensive foul that gave the Trojans the ball.

Alexius Dawn hit her next four free throws to seal the win for the Trojans, a stretch where she went 6-for-6 in the final 18 seconds of the contest.

App State outscored the Trojans over the final three quarters, 61-52, while shooting 22-for-41 (53.7 percent) and a 60 percent shooting performance in the second half. Appalachian did a better job of taking care of the ball in the second half, committing just four turnovers (eight in the first half). The Mountaineers also shot a perfect 15-for-15 from the line, playing a big part in the Apps’ ability to stay within striking distance of LR.

Dawn led four LR student-athletes with 24 points on 6-for-9 shooting while Keanna Keys came off the bench to score 12 points on a 5-for-5 performance from the floor. Sharde' Collins scored 11 points while Shanity James needed 13 shots to score 10 points. The post defense for App State contained James after the forward dropped 25 points and 14 boards on Arkansas State.

The Mountaineers also held a 36-24 advantage in points in the paint and the bench would outscore LR’s reserves, 23-18. App State’s 67 points is also tied for the third-most points given up by Little Rock in conference play.

Appalachian concludes the regular season against the top team in the conference in Arkansas State, who is coming off its first defeat in conference play this season to LR on Tuesday. It will also be the final home game for seniors Farrahn Wood (Kernersville, N.C./Forsyth Country Day) and Cooper, who will be honored for their dedication and commitment to the program.

Lenoir-Rhyne guard Keenan Palmore was voted the 2015-16 South Atlantic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year, while Anderson's Randall Shaw was voted the Conference's Freshman of the Year. In addition, Lincoln Memorial mentor Josh Schertz was tabbed the Coach of the Year, the League announced today.

Palmore, a senior from Stone Mountain, Ga., finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the South Atlantic Conference with 22.1 points, 6.8 assists and 9.4 rebounds per game. He posted four 30-point games during the regular season, including 14 games with 20 or more points. Palmore is currently ranked No. 8 in Division II with 189 assists and leads the nation with four triple-doubles this season. He connected on a League-best 239 field goals on the year to go along with a Conference-best 262 total rebounds. Palmore notched back-to-back 30-point games against Lincoln Memorial and Catawba. Palmore earned National Player of the Week honors for his play during the final week of the regular season. He received five first-place votes and finished with 34 points from the panel.

Shaw, a guard from Greenville, S.C., led his team in scoring with 19.8 points per game during the 2015-16 campaign. A hot shooter from downtown, he finished his season ranked No. 6 in the League with 68 three-pointers made. Shaw got his collegiate career started with 31 points in an Anderson win over Armstrong State on Nov. 14. He posted 15 20-point games this season and was in double-digits in scoring in 22 contests this season. Shaw notched 10 first-place votes from the coaches to finish with 54 points in the voting.

Schertz became the first-ever South Atlantic Conference men's basketball coach to lead his team to four-straight South Atlantic Conference Championships after claiming the 2015-16 South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Title. His Railsplitters are the only team in the rich South Atlantic Conference history to finish the season undefeated in League play as Lincoln Memorial went 22-0 on the year. Lincoln Memorial is the hottest three-point shooing team in the nation as they are No. 1 with a 44 percent stroke from long range. The Railsplitters are averaging 96 points per game to rank No. 2 in Division II and are out-scoring opponents by an average margin of 19.5 points per game to rank second in the nation. Lincoln Memorial is No. 2 in the country with 17.2 assists per game and are No. 3 in Division II with a 51.4 field goal percentage. The Railsplitters went for over 100 points in 13 contests this season and are currently ranked No. 2 by the National Basketball Coaches Association. Shertz picked up nine first-place votes by his peers and finished with 48 points in the voting.

Lincoln Memorial and Queens put a pair of student-athletes on the first team. Gerel Simmons and Luquon Choice represented the Railsplitters, while Sean Morgan and Rob Lewis earned the honor for the Royals. Charles Clark of Carson-Newman joined Palmore on the first team to round out the list of first-team honorees.


2015-16 South Atlantic Conference Men's Basketball All-Conference Agate

First Team
Keenan Palmore, Lenoir-Rhyne
Gerel Simmons, Lincoln Memorial
Luquon Choice, Lincoln Memorial
Rob Lewis, Queens
Charles Clark, Carson-Newman
Sean Morgan, Queens

Second Team
Jalen Steele, Lincoln Memorial
Will Perry, Lenoir-Rhyne
Isiah Cureton, Wingate
Sawyer Williams, Carson-Newman
Darius Carter, Tusculum
Jameel Taylor, Catawba

Honorable Mention
Demarcus Threatt, Brevard
Marquis Rankin, Queens
Gerald Evans, Newberry
Dorian Pinson, Lincoln Memorial
Randall Shaw, Anderson
Donte Samuels, Coker

All-Freshman
Randall Shaw, Anderson
Mike Baez, Wingate
Zack Pangallo, Carson-Newman
D.J. Copeland, Newberry
Jeremy Bouton, Anderson

Player of the Year
Keenan Palmore, Lenoir-Rhyne

Freshman of the Year
Randall Shaw, Anderson
Coach of the Year
Josh Schertz, Lincoln Memorial

Statistical Champions
Points Per Game – Keenan Palmore, Lenoir-Rhyne, 22.0
Three Pointers Per Game – Luquon Choice, Lincoln Memorial, 3.61
Rebounds Per Game – Keenan Palmore, Lenoir-Rhyne, 9.6
Blocked Shots Per Game – Emmanuel Terry, Lincoln memorial, 1.88
Field Goal Percentage - Sean Morgan, Queens, 69.7
Assists Per Game – Keenan Palmore, Lenoir-Rhyne, 6.9
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio – Kendall Patterson, Tusculum, 2.21
Steals Per Game – Gerald Evans, Newberry, 2.12
Three Point Field Goal Percentage - Luquon Choice, Lincoln Memorial, 49.0
Free Throw Percentage – Will Perry, Lenoir-Rhyne, 89.8
Team Scoring Offense – Lincoln Memorial, 96.0
Team Steals - Newberry, 291
Team Field Goal Percentage –Carson-Newman, 52.5
Team FG Percentage Defense - Lincoln Memorial, 40.9
Team Assists – Lincoln Memorial, 481
Team Rebounding - Lincoln Memorial, 1,191
Team Blocked Shots – Wingate, 143
Team Three Point FG Percentage - Lincoln Memorial, 44.0
Team Scoring Defense – Wingate, 71.8
Team Free Throw Percentage – Lenoir-Rhyne, 73.4
Team Assist-to-Turnover Ratio - Lincoln Memorial, 1.45