A two-run sixth inning was all Appalachian State University baseball needed, as junior right-hander Sam Agnew-Wieland tossed eight compete innings and gave up just one run for his seventh win of the season, keeping the Mountaineers alive in the Southern Conference Tournament with a narrow 2-1 victory over Samford on
Thursday afternoon at Latham Stadium. Agnew-Wieland faced some trouble in the third inning while giving up his only run of the game, but kept Bulldog batters off balance for the afternoon, striking out seven. The junior avenged a regular-season loss to Samford, who knocked eight hits and recorded nine runs against Agnew-Wieland in the previous meeting.
Appalachian’s lineup was quiet throughout the first five innings, as Samford two-way player, C.K. Irby, turned in his own solid performance with a complete game, five-hitter. Five Mountaineers recorded five singles, including Will Callaway’s RBI single that brought in the would-be game-winning run. With the clutch single, Callaway extended his hitting streak to 27 games, tying Rand Smith's four-year school record. The Wallace Award Nominee will have a chance to break the school record on Friday.
Facing a 1-0 deficit, Preston Troutman led off the sixth inning with a single through the right side. With a Samford error, Josh Zumbrook reached first, while Troutman moved over to third. Hector Crespo drove in the run on a sacrifice fly, scoring Troutman. Two batters later, Callaway gave Appalachian its first lead of the tournament with his single up the middle, scoring Zumbrook.
Agnew-Wieland tried to match Irby’s complete game, but walked the lead off man to begin the ninth. Left-hander Rob Marcello relieved the fatigued starter and struck out the next batter. With two righties due up in the Samford lineup, head coach Billy Jones went to the bullpen for Josh Wilson. Wilson recorded a strikeout and a groundout to earn his third save of the season.
The Mountaineers will sit back and wait to see who they will face on Friday’s elimination game. The Mountaineers will play either The Citadel or Western Carolina. First pitch from Fluor Field is scheduled for 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 2:40 p.m. on AM 1450, WATA.
NOTES: Appalachian has now won at least one game in every SoCon Tournament since 1996 … Appalachian claims its first SoCon Tournament win over Samford in four tries … With the win, Appalachian got its 10th win all-time over Samford in a series dating back to 2009 … In his 27-game hitting streak, Callaway is now 49-for-118 (.415) with seven doubles, 27 RBI, 24 runs scored and is slugging .471 … William Head went 1-for-3 and has reached base safely in 12-straight games … Noah Holmes finished the day 1-for-4, reaching base safely for the 14-straight game … Appalachian remains three stolen bases away from 100 for the season.
Photo Courtesy: Sam Agnew-Wieland, ASU Athletics