Noah Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) went 4-for-6 with two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored to lead Appalachian State University baseball in its doubleheader split with Cornell on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. Appalachian State won Saturday’s opener, 9-4, and dropped the nightcap, 15-5.
Holmes hit two home runs and scored three times in the opener to help lead Appalachian (10-6) to a come-from-behind win. The two-homer game was the first of his career and the second by a Mountaineer this week (Dillon Dobson (Boonville, N.C./Starmount) went deep twice in last Sunday’s 10-9 victory at Furman).
Despite Holmes’ second-inning home run, Appalachian trailed 3-1 after four innings in the opener. However, the Mountaineers exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth, two in the sixth and one more in the eighth to turn the two-run deficit into a commanding 9-3 advantage before Cornell scored a single run in the top of the ninth to account for the final margin.
Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian), Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) and Jaylin Davis (McLeansville, N.C./Northeast Guilford) all drove in runs in the decisive fifth inning, the latter coming on Davis’ third home run of the season, a towering solo shot to left center field. Appalachian also benefitted from two costly Cornell errors in the five-run fifth.
Josh Zumbrook (Wilkesboro, N.C./West Wilkes) stretched Appalachian’s lead to 8-3 with a two-run homer in the sixth and Holmes closed out the Mountaineers’ scoring with his second solo shot of the day in the eighth. In addition to Holmes, who finished 2-for-3, Crespo went 3-for-5 and Zumbrook went 2-for-4 to pace the Apps’ 11-hit effort in the opener. Jamie Nunn (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) overcame a shaky start to work eight strong innings on the mound, allowing just three runs on eight hits while striking out eight to move to 4-1 on the campaign.
Appalachian State was not able to repeat the comeback effort in the nightcap, as Cornell (5-5) led 11-0 after four-and-a-half innings and Appalachian never got closer than eight runs the rest of the way. Holmes was one of the Mountaineers’ lone bright spots in the 10-run loss, as he went 2-for-3 again with an RBI and a run scored. Troutman added a two-run double and Zumbrook hit his second home run of the afternoon, a two-run blast, in the losing effort.
Matt Hall went 5-for-6 with two doubles and four RBI to highlight Cornell’s 19-hit outburst in the nightcap. J.D. Whetsel, Tom D’Alessandro and Ryan Plantier chipped in with three hits apiece for the Big Red.
Appalachian State and Cornell play the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Smith Stadium.
NOTES: Appalachian State has homered in five-straight games, matching its longest streak of the season ... in between their two five-game streaks with at least one home run, the Mountaineers were held without a long ball for six-straight games ... with the split, Appalachian State moved to 30-4 at home since the beginning of last season ... Appalachian is 49-10 all-time in non-conference games played at Smith Stadium (which opened during the 2007 campaign), but Saturday’s 10-run loss was its worst in those 59 games ... the 10-run loss in the nightcap also marked the Mountaineers’ largest margin of defeat at home since a 13-1 loss to College of Charleston on May 16, 2010 ... Crespo and Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) extended their hitting streaks to 13 and nine games, respectively, in the opener but both streaks were snapped in the nightcap ... Crespo’s 13-game hitting streak was the longest of his career (he hit safely in 12-straight games as a sophomore in 2011).
Photo Courtesy: Noah Holmes, ASU Athletics