Appalachian State University baseball completed its fourth weekend series sweep of the season by taking a pair of decisions from visiting Oakland on Sunday at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. Appalachian downed Oakland, 14-5, in the completion of Saturday’s
suspended game then topped the Grizzlies, 10-5, in Sunday’s regularly scheduled series finale. By completing the three-game series sweep, Appalachian (22-5) moved to 15-0 at home this season and became only the third club in program history to win 22 of its first 27 games.
After easily finishing off the victory in Saturday’s suspended game (ASU led 10-3 in the sixth inning when play resumed on Sunday), the Mountaineers rode Trey Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) and Tyler Tewell (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) to the sweep, with Holmes hitting a pair of home runs and Tewell going 4-for-5 in Sunday’s finale.
Holmes’ towering two-run blasts in the second and fifth innings landed in nearly identical spots to the left of the scoreboard beyond the 375-foot mark in right-center field. In addition to going deep twice for the first time in his ASU career, the senior first baseman also matched a season high with four RBI.
Tewell, who finished 3-for-4 in Saturday’s suspended game, picked up right where he left off with two singles and two doubles in his first four trips to the plate in Sunday’s finale. Along with his career-high four hits, the junior right fielder drove in a pair of runs and scored three more in the victory.
The terrific run support allowed starting pitcher Rob Marcello (Royal Palm Beach, Fla./Royal Palm Beach) to battle through 5.2 innings and earn the win. Marcello (4-1) cruised through the first four stanzas but, staked with a 6-0 lead, struggled in the fifth as Oakland (3-21) strung together six hits and cut the Appalachian advantage to 6-5.
After Holmes’ second homer stretched the lead back to three runs, Marcello easily dispatched the first two batters he faced in the top of the sixth but gave up a bunt single and a double to put runners on second and third with two outs. He was replaced by Tyler Moore (Banner Elk, N.C./Watauga), whose first pitch was drilled to left field by Oakland’s Mike Carson and it appeared that the Grizzlies would once again cut the ASU lead to one. However, true freshman Brandon Burris (Concord, N.C./Mount Pleasant) made a spectacular diving catch that definitely saved two runs and likely killed any OU hopes of stealing a victory.
Sparked by Burris’ big play in left field, Tewell and Jeremy Dowdy (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) put the final nail in Oakland’s coffin with an RBI double and RBI single, respectively, that put the Mountaineers up 10-5 in the bottom of the sixth. From there, Moore, Chad Farmer (Evans, Ga./Greenbrier) and Nathan Hyatt (Brevard, N.C./Brevard) each worked a scoreless inning to close out the triumph.
Appalachian continues an eight-game homestand on Tuesday when it hosts longtime rival East Tennessee State at Smith Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
NOTES: In the 109-year history of Appalachian State baseball, only the 1969 and 1984 teams had better records through 27 games than this year’s club (both of those squads were 23-4 after 27 ballgames) ... Appalachian’s 15-game home winning streak is its longest since it won 19-straight games at Smith Stadium from March 22, 2009-March 20, 2010 ... the Mountaineers hit .380 as a team and averaged 12.3 runs per game this weekend ... ASU has scored in double-digits in 10 times in 15 home games this season ... Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) went 0-for-3 with two walks in Sunday’s finale, snapping his hitting streak at 19 games ... Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside), however, extended his hitting streak to 18 games, two-thirds of the way to the school record of 27, set by Rand Smith in 2009 ... Holmes, who came in to the weekend mired in a season-long slump at the plate, went 4-for-7 with three home runs and eight RBI in two games this weekend to raise his batting average from .184 to .217 ... Tewell went 8-for-12 in the series with two doubles, a home run, seven RBI and six runs scored.
Photo Courtesy: Hector Cresopo, ASU Athletics