Daniel Kassouf (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) went 4-for-5 with two RBI and Tyler Moore (Banner Elk, N.C./Watauga) turned in 2.2 perfect innings out of the bullpen to lead Appalachian State University baseball to its ninth-straight win, a 10-4 triumph over Davidson in the Southern Conference
opener for both teams on Friday afternoon at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
Kassouf’s career-high four hits included an RBI single that capped a three-run first inning and an RBI double in the third that helped stake Appalachian (11-2, 1-0 SoCon) to a commanding 5-0 lead.
ASU stretched its lead to 8-1 with a three-run fourth inning but Davidson (4-7, 0-1 SoCon) cut the Mountaineers’ advantage to 8-4 with a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. The Wildcats appeared to be on the verge of drawing even closer when they chased Appalachian starter Ryan Arrowood (Rutherfordton, N.C./R-S Central) from the game with runners on the corners and just one out in the sixth. However, Moore came on to strike out Davidson slugger Drew Gaidaire and get cleanup hitter Andrew Barna to pop up to third to squelch the threat.
After getting the Mountaineers out of the jam in the sixth, Moore retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth. The right-handed junior’s stellar relief allowed ASU to put the game out of reach with single runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth frames. Josh Wilson (Edgefield, S.C/Strom Thurmond) sat the Wildcats down in the ninth to close out the victory.
Despite Moore’s heroics out of the ‘pen, the story of the day was Kassouf, who recorded multiple hits for the fifth time in seven games and raised his average to a lofty .426. The 6-1, 230-pound senior has hit .577 (15-for-26) during his current six-game hitting streak.
Kassouf’s performance highlighted a terrific day by the first four hitters in Appalachian’s lineup. Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian), Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence), Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) and Kassouf all had multiple hits and combined to go 11-for-18 with seven RBI and eight runs scored. In all, 8-of-9 starters contributed to the Mountaineers’ 16-hit effort.
Despite not having terrific command on a cool, blustery afternoon, Arrowood battled through 5.1 innings to earn the 20th win of his career and move to 3-0 on the campaign. The right-handed senior allowed nine hits and walked four but struck out seven before leaving the game after throwing 103 pitches. Forrest Brandt went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two walks to pace the Wildcats offensively. Davidson’s starting pitcher, Ryan Overcash (1-3), was tagged for eight runs on 12 hits in just 3.1 innings to suffer the loss.
Appalachian and Davidson continue their three-game SoCon series on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Smith Stadium.
NOTES: Appalachian still has not allowed more than four runs in a game through 13 contests this season ... ASU won its SoCon opener for the first time since 2005, a 5-3 victory at Furman ... the win was the Mountaineers’ eighth-straight over Davidson and seventh in a row over the Wildcats in Boone ... ASU’s nine-game winning streak is its longest since it also won nine in a row from April 6-17, 2010 ... Zupcic also extended his hitting streak to six games, matching Kassouf and Tyler Tewell (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) (Feb. 25-March 3) for the club’s longest streaks of the season ... Jeremy Dowdy (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) has reached base in all 12 games that he’s played this season.
Photo Courtesy: Tyler Moore, ASU Athlletics