In only his second-career start, true freshman Jamie Nunn (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) did not allow an earned run over six strong innings to help lead Appalachian State University baseball to its 12th-straight win, a 6-3 triumph over
Duke on Tuesday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Appalachian’s 12-game winning streak stands alone as the second-longest in school history, just two wins shy of the school-record 14-straight victories that the Mountaineers put together from March 27-April 12, 1986. After going 37 years between wins over Duke, Appalachian (14-2) beat the Blue Devils twice in seven days to sweep the season series between the two clubs.
Nunn was the story of ASU’s 12th-consecutive win. The right-hander kept the Blue Devils off-balance for six innings, allowing just one run (unearned) on three hits while striking out eight. After surrendering the unearned run on a pair of singles and his own throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt in the bottom of the first inning, Nunn (1-0) settled in to retire nine-straight and 16 of the final 19 batters that he faced overall.
Making Nunn’s job easier was the fact that he was handed a 3-0 lead before he threw a pitch when the Mountaineers’ offense scored three times in the top of the first. As has been the case for much of ASU’s impressive start to the season, it was two-out hitting that helped stake the Apps to the early advantage. With runners on first and second and two away, Tyler Tewell (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) drove a 2-2 pitch high off the “Blue Monster” wall in left center field for a two-run double. Jeremy Dowdy (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) followed with a double of his own to left, scoring Tewell from second to give Appalachian the early 3-0 advantage.
After Duke’s unearned run in the bottom of the first, the score remained 3-1 until fourth when Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) stretched the ASU lead to 4-1 on an RBI single to left-center field. Daniel Kassouf (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) made it 6-1 in the eighth with a mammoth two-run home run over the high wall in left center field, his team-leading fifth homer of the season.
The Blue Devils made it interesting when they cut the deficit to 6-3 with two runs in the bottom of the eighth and loaded the bases with just one out in the ninth. However, ASU closer Nathan Hyatt (Brevard, N.C./Brevard) struck out the final two batters of the ballgame to seal Mountaineers’ 12th-straight win and earn his sixth save of the season.
All nine members of Appalachian’s starting lineup had at least one hit in the club’s 12-hit effort. Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian), Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) and Noah Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) led the way with two hits apiece while Kassouf and Tewell combined to drive in four of the Mountaineers’ six runs.
Grant McCabe, who Hyatt struck out to end the ballgame, went 2-for-4 to lead Duke (7-12). Blue Devil starter Dalton Brown (0-1) allowed three runs in three innings to suffer the loss.
Appalachian looks to extend its winning streak to 13 on Wednesday night when it squares off with No. 3-ranked South Carolina. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at USC’s Carolina Stadium.
NOTES: Appalachian moved to 3-4 all-time versus Duke ... prior to last Wednesday’s 6-4 win in Boone, ASU’s only victory over Duke was a 9-1 triumph in Durham in 1975 ... Appalachian swept a season series from an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent for the second time in five seasons — ASU also swept a two-game season set from Wake Forest in 2008 ... the Mountaineers have still not allowed more than four runs in any game this season ... prior to this year, the most consecutive games that Appalachian had ever gone at the beginning of a season without surrendering more than four runs in any game was six, a feat achieved just last season ... Kassouf and Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) both extended their hitting streaks to nine games, ASU’s longest streaks of the season ... Callaway has hit safely in seven-straight games ... Dowdy has reached base in all 15 games he has played this season ... Tewell has reached safely in 12-straight games while Callaway and Zupcic have gotten aboard in 11-consecutive contests ... Nunn is the second ASU freshman to earn his first-career win versus Duke this season — Jeffrey Springs (Belmont, N.C./South Point), who will be on the mound for Appalachian on Wednesday night at South Carolina, got his first-career win against the Blue Devils last Wednesday ... ASU had four two-out hits on Tuesday and is hitting .324 as a team with two outs this season ... 49 of the Apps’ 116 RBI this season (42.2 percent) have come with two outs.
Photo Courtesy: Jamie Nunn, ASU Athletics