First-place Western Carolina scored nine runs in the bottom of the first inning and went on to defeat Appalachian State University baseball, 20-10, on Saturday afternoon at Hennon Stadium.




Western Carolina (30-14, 15-4 SoCon) sent 13 batters to the plate and banged out 10 hits in the nine-run first. However, just three of the nine runs were earned, as Appalachian State helped the Catamounts’ cause with two costly errors in the inning.


WCU went on to score in each of the next four innings and led 20-5 after five stanzas. Appalachian plated the final five runs of the game to account for the final score.


Western Carolina’s 20-run, 24-hit explosion overshadowed another fine offensive afternoon for Appalachian State (16-28, 9-10 SoCon). The Mountaineers banged out 15 hits of their own but left a whopping 17 men on base in the loss.


Michael Pierson (Coral Springs, Fla./Pine Crest) went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI to lead Appalachian at the plate. Pierson raised his team-best batting average to .342 by hitting safely for the 17th time in 19 games. Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) went 2-for-5 with two RBI and Josh Zumbrook (Wilkesboro, N.C./West Wilkes) came off the bench to go 2-for-3 in the loss.


Six different Catamounts recorded at least three hits, let by Bradley Strong, who went 4-for-5 with six RBI, and J.D. Long, who was 4-for-5 with five RBI.


Appalachian State looks to salvage the final game of the three-game Southern Conference series on Sunday when the longtime rivals square off for the last time in the regular season as SoCon foes. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Hennon Stadium.


NOTES: The 20 runs were the most that Appalachian State has surrendered since Western Carolina beat the Mountaineers, 23-5, on May 16 of last season … WCU’s 24 hits were one shy of tying the record for the most that Appalachian has ever allowed in a game … App State scored double-digit runs for the eighth time in the last 21 games and registered double-digit hits for the 16th time in the last 21 contests … Pierson has reached base in 19-straight games … Dillon Dobson (Hamptonville, N.C./Starmount) hit his team-leading 10th home run of the season and is just two shy of moving into Appalachian’s all-time single-season top 10 … senior 3B/SS William Head (Asheville, N.C./Asheville) made his collegiate pitching debut in ninth inning and retired the side in order … Head struck out WCU’s Dale Urquhart, Jr. to cap his perfect outing on the mound.



Photo Courtesy: Michael Pierson, App State Athletics