Appalachian State University played its best baseball of the season in all phases of the game on Saturday afternoon and swept a doubleheader from UNC Asheville, 9-2 and 7-2, at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
Appalachian State got superb starting pitching from Jamie Nunn (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) and Tyler Moore (Banner Elk, N.C./Watauga), banged out 20 hits in 12 innings and was flawless defensively en route to victories in both seven-inning games.
Nunn surrendered single runs in the first and seventh innings of the opener but was nearly unhittable in between, retiring 15 of the 18 batters he faced from the second through the sixth stanzas. In all, the right-hander surrendered just three hits and struck out five before being lifted from the game with one out in the sixth. Appalachians ace picked up his first win in his last seven starts, dating back to a 9-1 triumph over Elon on May 3 of last season.
Moore was just as good in the nightcap, taking a shutout into the seventh inning before allowing two inconsequential runs in the final frame. Despite having a string of 16.1-consecutive innings without surrendering an earned run snapped in the seventh, the sixth-year senior tossed the first complete game of his career, scattering eight hits and striking out two along the way. It was the first complete game by a Mountaineer since Sam Agnew-Wieland (now a member of the New York Yankees organization) notched back-to-back shutouts on March 30 and April 6 of last year.
After managing eight or more hits in a game just once in its first 12 contests of the season, Appalachian State recorded eight hits in Saturdays opener and a season-high 12 in the nightcap. The Mountaineers struck early in both games, scoring seven runs over the first three innings in Game One and four in the first two innings in Game Two.
Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) led the way in the opener with two hits, two RBI and two runs scored, highlighted by a two-out RBI trople in the second inning. Additionally, Dillon Dobson (Hamptonville, N.C./Starmount) hit a two-run homer in the first, Ozzy Gonzalez (Miami, Fla./South Miami) had a two-run double in the third and William Head (Asheville, N.C./Asheville) matched Troutman with a game-high-tying two hits.
The top and bottom of Appalachians batting order did the majority of the damage in the nightcap, with the Mountaineers Nos. 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9 hitters collecting 11 of the teams 12 hits. Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) highlighted the effort from the two-hole, going 3-for-4 with three doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. Head, Dobson, Troutman and Zach Hummel (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell) contributed with two hits apiece, including a solo homer to straightaway center by Troutman and a pair of doubles from Dobson. Seven of App States 12 hits went for extra bases in Game Two.
Appalachian State did not commit an error in either game, marking the first time all season that the Mountaineers have had consecutive games without a miscue in the field. Before returning to Beaver Fields FieldTurf playing surface, Appalachian had committed 21 errors over its previous eight outings.
Appalachian State (3-11) looks to complete a three-game series sweep on Sunday when it closes the set with UNC Asheville (3-9) at 1 p.m.
NOTES: Appalachian State has won 13-straight over UNC Asheville and has not lost to the Bulldogs in nearly a decade, dating back to a 14-1 UNCA victory in Boone on May 19, 2004 ... Appalachian moved to 7-1 all-time in home openers at Smith Stadium and has won each of its last five home lid-lifters ... Zupcics three doubles were the most in a game by a Mountaineer since Wes Hobson had three against College of Charleston on May 15, 2010 ... Appalachian States baseball staff and staffers from the Universitys physical plant worked for 16 hours over two days to clear 10 inches of snow that fell in the High Country on Thursday night/Friday morning ... thanks to their efforts, both the playing surface and seating areas at Smith Stadium were completely clear of snow in time for Saturdays twinbill, which was played under sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-50s.
Photo Courtesy: Tyler Moore, ASU Athletics