Baseball is so similar to everyday life.
One day you're up, and the next day you're down. The key is not getting caught up in the emotions of that day. Just take a deep breath and go with the flow. Appalachian State senior Jack Myers had such an experience on Thursday.
Myers, who has been victimized by a pair of defensive blunders in right field the last two days, came through with a big run-scoring single in the seventh inning that drove in Tyler Zupcic with the eventual game-winning run as ASU defeated UNC-Greensboro, the No.2 seed, 6-4 in the elimination round of the SoCon tournament at Riley Park in Charleston, SC.
The win moves ASU into a 3 pm consolation-round game Friday afternoon. The Mountaineers (32-26) will play the loser of Thursday's game between Furman and Samford.
"I'm real proud of this team," said ASU coach Chris Pollard. "They had a bad inning (in the top of the seventh), but they fought back and regained the lead. I'm real happy for Jack. He's had a couple of tough days defensively in the outfield, but he sucked it up and delivered a big hit for us in a key spot."
Lost in the shuffle, however, was a great effort by starting pitcher Nathan Hyatt. The right-hander, who got a no decision for his efforts, carried the Mountaineers into the seventh inning before he ran out of gas. He gave up four earned runs on eight hits, but he walked one and struck out four. He was also victimized by a few bad breaks----the drop by Myers on Trevor Edwards' ground-rule double in the top of the seventh that gave the Spartans a 4-3 lead, and a bad-hop RBI single by Bobby Martin in the fifth.
"That's the most aggressive I've seen Nathan since the Furman game five weeks ago," Pollard said. "He just attacked their hitters. We needed a quality start today, and he gave us one."
The Mountaineers jumped on top early with a run in the first on a pair of singles by Zupcic and Trey Holmes that put runners on at first and second with nobody out. Myers laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners, and Zupcic scored on Daniel Kassouf's ground-ball out (he now has four RBI in two tournament games).
The Apps scored a pair of unearned runs in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. The Spartans (34-20), winners in 17 of their last 20 games and making their first appearance in the tournament since 2008, picked up a run in the fifth on Martin's bad-hop single that made it 3-1. And they took a one-run lead with a three-run outburst in the seventh. Edwards' ground-rule double knocked in the go-ahead run.
But ASU rallied in the bottom of the seventh. thanks to a sacrifice fly by Trey Holmes that scored Jeremy Dowby with the tying run. Myers followed with his RBI single that gave ASU a 5-4 lead. The Mountaineers picked up an insurance run thanks to four walks in the eighth.
"We came through with the key hits today," Pollard said. "That's something we couldn't do last night. Something we always talk about is extending an inning. You get a batter on, and another batter reaches, and you never know what's going to happen."
In this case, the Mountaineers survived to play another day. Our coverage of Friday's game begins at 2:40 pm on AM 1450, WATA. If the Mountaineers win Friday's game, they will play at 9 am Saturday morning. If that does occur, AM 1450, WATA will join that game in progress at 10 am.