|UPDATED: ASU Takes Series from No. 7 LSU with 11-1 Rout|
|Written by Mike Flynn|
|Sunday, 26 February 2012 17:18|
Appalachian State University sent shockwaves through the college-baseball world on Sunday with a series-clinching 11-1 rout over No. 7 LSU at Alex Box Stadium. With the blowout victory, Appalachian (4-2) took 2-of-3 games from the seventh-ranked Tigers, marking the program’s first-ever three-game series win
over an opponent from a Bowl Championship Series conference. ASU’s only other series victory over a BCS opponent came in 1985 when it swept a two-game set from Connecticut.
Making only his second start in the Black and Gold, junior-college transfer Rob Marcello (Royal Palm Beach, Fla./Royal Palm Beach) became the third-straight Mountaineer pitcher to baffle LSU (5-2). The southpaw needed only 108 pitches to work 8.1 innings and limited the Bayou Bengals to three hits while striking out four. He retired 25 of the 30 batters he faced, including 11-straight during one stretch of the scintillating performance.
Marcello (2-0) was just two outs away from a complete-game shutout when he walked the second batter of the ninth inning, forcing head coach Chris Pollard to take him out of the game. As he walked off the field, Marcello received a standing ovation from the several thousand LSU fans still in attendance at The Box.
LSU, which avoided a second-straight shutout when pinch-hitter Arby Fields roped reliever David Port’s (Dunwoody, Ga./Duwoody) first pitch into the right-field corner for an RBI triple. Although the Tigers snapped a 20.2-inning scoreless streak, their lone run came far too late to make a difference, as Port retired the final two batters with ease to seal the monumental victory.
Offensively, ASU pounded an LSU pitching staff that brought a minuscule 1.17 ERA and .179 opponents’ batting average into the series finale. The Mountaineers banged out 14 hits and scored in seven different innings during the 11-run outburst. The Mountaineers got the only runs they would need with single tallies in the first and second innings then added two more in the third and one in the fourth to jump out to a commanding 5-0 lead. The Apps then poured it on late, scoring two runs in each of the final three frames to cap the offensive explosion. LSU sophomore starter Kurt McCune (1-1) lasted just three innings and surrendered four runs (three earned) on seven hits in the shortest outing of his career.
Designated hitter Daniel Kassouf (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) put an exclamation mark on his terrific weekend by leading ASU with three hits, including a double. Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) and Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) drove in three runs apiece and Callaway, Zupcic, Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian), Tyler Tewell (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) and Trey Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) rounded out six Mountaineers with multiple hits.
Appalachian closes a season-opening seven-game road stint on Tuesday with a 3 p.m. contest at North Carolina A&T. ASU opens the home portion of its schedule next weekend with a three-game series versus Rider and Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
NOTES: After going 29 years without a victory over a nationally ranked opponent, Appalachian has now won three of its last five games versus ranked foes (Saturday and Sunday vs. LSU, Feb. 25, 2011 vs. No. 20 Miami (Fla.)) … prior to last year’s triumph at Miami, ASU had not defeated a ranked foe since a 5-4 victory over No. 23 The Citadel in 1982 … the Mountaineers are 5-2 in their last seven games versus clubs from the baseball-rich Southeastern Conference … the last time that LSU had scored as few as five runs in a three-game series was May 17-19, 2007 when it managed only five runs in a three-game sweep at Vanderbilt … the Tigers hadn’t been limited to as few as five runs in a home series since it scored only three runs in three games versus Ole Miss in 1982 … Eight of ASU’s 11 runs on Sunday and 9-of-12 in the series came with two outs … for the season, 16 of the Mountaineers’ 25 runs have been scored with two outs......The media and general public are invited to ASU's Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium (located behind the Broyhill Inn) at 11:30 p.m. for a celebration welcoming Mountaineers home.
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