Appalachian State University baseball jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and held on for a 10-9 victory over Western Carolina on Sunday afternoon at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
Combined with Saturday’s 10-5 win, Appalachian (28-19, 12-11 SoCon) clinched a three-game series victory over archrival WCU (17-26-1, 7-16 SoCon). The Mountaineers will go for their first-ever three-game sweep over the Catamounts when the teams meet in the series finale on Monday at 1 p.m. at Smith Stadium. Radio coverage of that game begins at 12:40 pm on AM 1450, WATA.
ASU exploded out of the gates on Sunday, scoring five runs in the first inning, four in the second and one more in the third to grab the commanding 10-0 lead. The Mountaineers sent 17 batters to the plate and banged out nine hits in the first two stanzas alone. A two-run double by Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) highlighted the five-run first and a two-run home run by Trey Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) and two-run double by Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) accounted for all of the scoring in the second. Jack Myers (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) capped the 10-run outburst with an RBI groundout in the third.
WCU slowly chipped away at the deficit with three runs in the fourth, one in the fifth, three in the sixth, one in the seventh and one in the ninth. The Catamounts brought the go-ahead run to the plate with one out in the ninth but Appalachian closer Taylor Miller (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) struck out pinch-hitter Cody Jones and got Luke Gragg to softly line out to shortstop to seal what turned out to be a nail-biting victory.
All but one member of ASU’s starting lineup had at least one hit and five Mountaineers recorded multiple hits, led by Holmes (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI) and Troutman (2-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI). Callaway, Myers and Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) also had two hits apiece and each doubled to help pace Appalachian’s 13 hit attack. Myers and Crespo extended their respective hitting streaks to 17 and 12 games with the two-hit efforts.
For the second day in a row, ASU’s starting pitcher labored, as Nathan Hyatt (Brevard, N.C./Brevard) needed 110 pitches to get through five innings. The right-handed sophomore allowed just five hits and struck out four but walked six and allowed six runs (five earned) in his shortest start since March 16. Despite his struggles, Hyatt earned the win to even his record at 5-5 on the season. Miller struck out four over the final two innings of the ballgame to register his 10th save of the campaign.
The Mountaineers tagged WCU freshman Jordan Smith (5-6) for seven runs on seven hits over an inning-plus to saddle the right-hander with the loss.
Left fielder Cameron Dullnig went 4-for-4 with a double, home run, two runs and three RBI to lead the Catamounts offensively