Ryan Arrowood (Rutherfordton, N.C./R-S Central) and Nathan Hyatt (Brevard, N.C./Brevard) combined on a three-hit shutout and Daniel Kassouf’s (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) solo home run in the fourth inning proved to be the only scoring Appalachian State University baseball needed in a
1-0 win over No. 7 LSU on Saturday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium. Appalachian (3-2) is the first non-conference club to shut out LSU (5-1) in nearly eight years, dating back to Tulane’s 1-0 win over the Tigers on April 6, 2004. The triumph is ASU’s second over a nationally ranked opponent in 366 days, as it snapped a 29-year skid versus ranked foes with a 8-5 win at No. 20 Miami (Fla.) exactly one year ago (Feb. 25, 2011).
In a series dominated by starting pitching so far, Arrowood turned in the most memorable performance of the weekend to date. The right-handed senior began the game inauspiciously by issuing a walk and a single to the first two batters he faced. However, he got Raph Rhymes to ground into a double play then struck out cleanup hitter Mason Katz to end the threat.
Arrowood went on to retire 16 in a row, striking out five-straight on two separate occasions along the way. After Tyler Hanover became the first Tiger to reach base in five innings with a two-out single in the sixth, Arrowood put away the next four batters in order before giving way to Hyatt in the eighth.
ASU’s junior closer sat down the first four hitters he faced before Hanover singled to right center again with one out in the ninth. After the Mountaineers missed turning a game-ending double play by half a step, things got interesting when a wild pitch allowed LSU pinch-runner JaCoby Jones to advance into scoring position with two outs. However, Hyatt fanned Rhymes to end the ballgame and seal remarkable victory.
Kassouf provided all of the offensive support that Arrowood and Hyatt would need when he roped a two-out, line-drive home run over the left-field wall on the first pitch he saw from LSU’s Ryan Eades n the fourth.
Despite Kassouf’s heroics, the story of the day was Arrowood (1-0), who allowed just two hits and issued one walk over seven innings while matching a career high with 10 strikeouts. In all, the preseason all-Southern Conference honoree retired 20 of the 23 batters he faced. Hyatt allowed just one hit and struck out three to earn the second save of his career.
Aside from Kassouf’s game-winning bomb, Jeremy Dowdy (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) led ASU offensively with two of the Mountaineers’ five hits. Eades (1-1) suffered the tough-luck loss for LSU, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out five over 6.1 innings. Appalachian and LSU play the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday. First pitch is set for noon (ET) at Alex Box Stadium.
NOTES: Prior to last year’s win at Miami, Appalachian hadn’t beaten a nationally ranked opponent since a 5-4 win over The Citadel in 1982 ... the Mountaineers moved to 4-2 in their last six games versus opponents from the baseball-rich Southeastern Conference ... Saturday’s paid attendance was 10,611 but a little more than half (5,601) turned out for the contest, which was played in uncharacteristically cool Louisiana temperatures in the upper 50s ... after coming into the series averaging 11 runs per game and hitting .333 as a team, LSU has managed just four runs and 12 hits in two contests versus ASU pitching.
Photo Courtesy: Ryan Arrowood, ASU Athletics