True freshman Matt Brill’s (Coal Valley, Ill./Moline) two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Appalachian State University baseball a 7-6 walkoff win over ETSU on Wednesday evening at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.


With the score tied at 6-6, the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Brill lifted the first pitch he saw from ETSU’s Will Chesney well over the Buccaneers’ drawn-in outfield. The ball one-hopped the wall in right-center field and Jaylin Davis (McLeansville, N.C./Northeast Guilford) scored easily from third base to set off a wild scrum in celebration of Appalachian State’s first walkoff victory of the season.


Davis sparked Appalachian’s ninth-inning rally with a one-out single to left field on an 0-2 pitch from Chesney (2-2). Michael Pierson (Coral Springs, Fla./Pine Crest) followed with a bloop double into right center that landed just out of reach for ETSU’s diving center fielder Jeremy Taylor. With runners on second and third, the Bucs elected to intentionally walk Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence), who was 2-for-4 with two RBI, including a game-tying RBI single in the seventh. Chesney struck out Bradley Morton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) for the second out of the inning but the strikout only served as a setup for Brill’s heroics one pitch later.


Appalachian State (9-17) jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the first on back-to-back homers from Davis, who blasted a no-doubt three-run bomb to left-center field, and Pierson, whose solo shot cleared the wall in right.


ETSU (14-14) drew even with a run in the third and two in the fourth but Appalachian regained a 5-4 advantage on Zupcic’s RBI double in the fifth.


The Bucs took their first lead of the ballgame on a two-run homer to left by Chris Riopedre in the top of the seventh but Zupcic answered with his game-tying RBI single in bottom of the frame that knotted the score at 6-6 and paved the way for the Mountaineers’ walkoff win.


Appalachian State matched a season high with 14 hits in the victory but stranded 10 baserunners. Pierson paced the 14-hit attack by going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run, a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. Brill, Davis, Zupcic and Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) added two hits apiece. Troutman became the first Mountaineer with two triples in a game since current San Francisco Giants’ farmhand Will Callaway tripled twice against LaSalle in 2011.


Robert Whaley (Hickory, N.C./Hickory), Appalachian’s seventh pitcher of the evening, picked up the win with two innings of flawless relief. Whaley (1-1) retired six of the seven batters he faced with the only baserunner getting aboard on an error.


Chris Cook and Dylan Tritsch led ETSU with two hits each.


Appalachian State returns to Southern Conference action with a three-game weekend series at Wofford. Game times are set for 6 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Russell C. King Field in Spartanburg, S.C.


NOTES: Appalachian State won for only the second time in nine one-run games this season ... the walkoff win was Appalachian’s first since Dillon Dobson’s (Hamptonville, N.C./Starmount) RBI double capped a 9-8 win over No. 29 Western Carolina in the 2013 regular-season finale ... Brill is hitting .462 (12-for-26) during his current team-best eight-game hitting streak ... the Mountaineers moved to 6-1 this season and 43-13 since the beginning of 2012 at Smith Stadium ... however, the win was App State’s first over ETSU at home since 2010 ... the Bucs had won the previous two matchups at Smith Stadium.



Photo Courtesy: Tyler Zupcic, ASU Athletics