Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) hit a two-out, two-run single in the top of the 12th inning and Taylor Miller (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) capped a spectacular performance by striking out the side in the bottom of the frame to lift Appalachian State University baseball to a 3-1, 12-inning win at Davidson on Thursday evening.
With its 14th win in 20 games, Appalachian (23-17, 8-11 SoCon) moved ahead of Davidson (16-20, 8-13 SoCon) into seventh place in the Southern Conference standings.
With two outs in the top of the 12th and runners on second and third base, Crespo lined a 1-2 pitch from Davidson flame-thrower Andy Bass (2-2) into center field to score Jeremy Dowdy (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) and Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) and break a 1-1 tie that had stood for six innings. The hit was the only one of the evening for Crespo, who had struck out in his previous four at-bats.
On a night ruled by pitching, no hurler had a more impressive performance than Miller (2-1), who closed the game with 3.1 innings of perfect relief. The right-handed senior set a career high with eight strikeouts against only 10 batters, including the final six he faced.
In all, the game’s eight pitchers combined to strike out a whopping 36 batters, with ASU’s five hurlers — Ryan Arrowood (Rutherfordton, N.C./Central), Chad Farmer (Evans, Ga./Greenbrier), David Port (Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody), Will Helms (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) and Miller — accounting for 19 of the 36 Ks.
Arrowood struck out four through 2.2 innings before leaving the game in the third with an ankle injury. Just one batter after the junior’s 22.1-inning scoreless streak was snapped on a sacrifice fly by Davidson’s Forrest Brandt, Arrowood injured the ankle while backing up third base on a Drew Gadire double.
Farmer entered and turned in perhaps the most crucial performance of the game on the mound, allowing just one hit and striking out five over 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. The freshman southpaw did not surrender a hit to the first 14 batters he faced, which allowed the Mountaineers to knot the score at 1-1 on Trey Holmes’ (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) RBI groundout in the fifth.
After Appalachian tied the ballgame, the two pitching staffs only allowed four baserunners over the final four innings of regulation and ASU went to extra stanzas for the first time this season.
The Mountaineers loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the 10th but Bass came out of the bullpen to induce a 5-2-3 double play and strike out Crespo to preserve the 1-1 tie.
Appalachian threatened again in the 11th when Jack Myers (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) singled and moved into scoring position on a balk with one out. However, Myers was left stranded on third base and the game moved on.
After Miller struck out the side in the bottom of the 11th, it appeared that ASU would strand two more runners in scoring position when Bass got Crespo into a 1-2 count with two outs in top of the 12th. However, the sophomore delivered the Mountaineers’ biggest hit of the season when he drilled the fifth pitch of the at-bat into center field, easily scoring Dowdy (who reached on a leadoff walk) and Callaway (who singled to center with one out).
Miller finished off perhaps the most dominant performance of his career by striking out the side once again in the 12th.
ASU managed only eight hits in 12 innings against three Davidson hurlers. Chris Lamb, who will likely be a high selection in June’s Major League Baseball Draft, surrendered just three hits while striking out 12 in eight innings before giving way to Mike Frongello (1 IP, 2 K) and Bass (3 IP, 3 K).
Callaway accounted for nearly half of the Mountaineers’ eight hits, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Myers went 2-for-5 to extend his team-best hitting streak to 10 games. Myers has now hit safely in all 19 SoCon games this season and recorded multiple hits in over half of his appearances on the year (19-of-37).
Gerow (2-for-4) had two of Davidson’s six hits.
The Mountaineers and Wildcats continue their three-game series on Friday with first pitch set for 6 p.m. at Wilson Field.