Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) became Appalachian State University baseball’s all-time stolen bases leader in the Mountaineers’ 3-1 loss to Furman on Friday evening at Latham Stadium.
Crespo beat out an infield single to lead off the game and promptly swiped second base for 86th steal of his career, which broke Appalachian State’s all-time record of 85 set by Will Shellman from 1991-94. Crespo’s record-breaking performance was the highlight of a frustrating ballgame for the Mountaineers, which left 10 men on base in the loss, including five in the final two innings.
Jamie Nunn (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) pitched well enough to move to 4-0 on the season, allowing just two earned runs and striking out six over seven strong innings. However, he was outdueled by Furman starter Nate Smith (1-0), who surrendered just one run and struck out seven in 7.2 innings to earn the win and hand Nunn (3-1) the tough-luck loss.
Trailing 3-1 in the top of the eighth inning, Appalachian loaded the bases with three-straight two-out singles. The three-consecutive hits chased Smith from the game in favor of reliever Ben Carlson, who struck out freshman Jaylin Davis (McLeansville, N.C./Northeast Guilford) to end the Mountaineer threat.
Singles by Dillon Dobson (Boonville, N.C./Starmount) and Crespo put the tying run on base for Appalachian again in the top of the ninth but with two outs, William Head (Asheville, N.C./Asheville) was punched out on a questionable 3-2 pitch to send the Mountaineers to their first series-opening loss of the season.
Appalachian State (7-3, 2-2 SoCon) outhit Furman, 10-7, but committed two costly errors that led directly to the Paladins’ first run in the bottom of the second inning. Additionally, the Mountaineers managed just one extra-base hit, a double by Greenville native Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside), who came around to score the Apps’ only run of the ballgame in the fourth.
Callaway finished 3-for-4 to pace Appalachian’s 10-hit attack while Crespo and Davis added two hits apiece. Davis drove in the Mountaineers’ lone run with an infield single that brought Callaway home from third base in the fourth. Hunter Burton and Jarrod Rickman had two hits apiece and Taylor Johnson and Alex Abrams both drove in runs for Furman (11-3, 3-1 SoCon). The teams continue their three-game Southern Conference series on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Latham Stadium.
NOTES: For the first time all season, Appalachian State never led in the loss ... Alex Leach (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell) singled in the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to nine games ... Crespo needs just six more stolen bases to move into the top 10 in Southern Conference history ... for only the second time this season, Appalachian failed to collect multiple extra-base hits (the Mountaineers also had a lone double in last Friday’s 4-1 win at Davidson) ... the Mountaineers will need to win the final two games of this weekend’s series to avoid dropping a regular-season series to Furman for the first time since 2006.
Photo Courtesy: Hector Crespo, ASU Athletics