|Georgia Southern Rallies to Avoid Sweep|
|Written by Mike Flynn|
|Sunday, 07 April 2013 18:54|
Georgia Southern scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally from a 7-5 deficit and hand Appalachian State University baseball a heartbreaking 8-7 defeat on Sunday afternoon at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. Georgia Southern’s ninth-inning rally prevented Appalachian State (17-10, 8-6 SoCon) from sweeping a Southern Conference series from the Eagles for the first time since GSU joined the SoCon in 1992. However, with victories on Friday and Saturday, Appalachian still won the series over Georgia Southern (20-11, 10-5 SoCon), two games to one.
Appalachian State closer Rob Marcello (Royal Palm Beach, Fla./Royal Palm Beach) came on in the ninth inning looking to protect the Mountaineers’ two-run lead and pick up his sixth save of the season. However, all four batters that Marcello (0-2) faced reached base and he was lifted from the game without recording an out after Georgia Southern knotted the score at 7-7 on Zac Lenns’ two-run single.
Tyler Moore (Banner Elk, N.C./Watauga) relieved Marcello with two runners on base and quickly sat down the first two batters he faced to pull the Mountaineers within one out of going to the bottom of the ninth still tied at 7-7. However, after fouling off two tough pitches from Moore, GSU’s Scooter Williams lined a 2-2 pitch into the right-field corner for an RBI double that gave the Eagles an 8-7 lead.
Appalachian put the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth when Noah Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) collected his career-high-tying fourth hit of the afternoon with one out. However, GSU’s Kyle Rowe (3-0) retired the Mountaineers’ final two hitters of the ballgame to seal the Eagles’ improbable win.
The ninth-inning collapse was not the only contributing factor to Appalachian State’s first loss in six games. The Mountaineers, the Southern Conference’s best fielding team coming into the afternoon (.968 fielding percentage), committed four errors that led to half of the Eagles’ eight runs being unearned.
Despite the miscues, Appalachian battled back from deficits of 4-0 and 5-2 to take a 7-5 lead in the seventh inning. Red-hot Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) snapped a 5-5 tie and gave the Mountaineers their first lead of the afternoon when he doubled to left field, driving in Jaylin Davis (McLeansville, N.C./Northeast Guilford) all the way from first base. Callaway later came home on a wild pitch to extend the advantage to 7-5.
Callaway finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored to cap a terrific weekend that saw him go 8-for-12 (.667) with two doubles, a home run, eight RBI and five runs scored in three games. Holmes went 4-for-5 and Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) went 2-for-5 with an RBI and run scored to help round out the Mountaineers’ 13-hit attack.
One day after Georgia Southern managed just two hits against Appalachian’s Sam Agnew-Wieland (Marietta, Ga./Wheeler), the Eagles exploded for 16. Robbie Dodds finished 4-for-5 with a triple, RBI and two runs scored to pace the 16-hit outburst.
Appalachian State begins a nine-game road trip on Tuesday when it travels to UNC Asheville for a non-conference tilt. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at historic McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C.
NOTES: Despite Sunday’s loss, Appalachian State topped Georgia Southern in a three-game SoCon series for just the third time ... Appalachian’s previous series victories over GSU came in 2008 and 2011 ... Josh Wilson (Edgefield, S.C./Strom Thurmond) struck out four of the five batters he faced in 1.2 innings of perfect relief ... William Head (Asheville, N.C./Asheville) reached base for the 12th-straight game with a single and two walks ... Holmes’ only previous four-hit game came against Rider on March 4, 2012.
Photo Courtesy: Will Callaway, ASU Athletics
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