Hargrave Wins Long Jump on Day 2 of Sun Belt Championships

SAN MARCOS, Tex. – Competing in her first long jump of the outdoor season, senior Chelsey Hargrave (McLeansville, N.C./Williams) won the event to lead the Appalachian State women's track & field team on Day 2 of the Sun Belt Championships at Texas State.

Through nine events, App State sits in second place with 56.50 points, holding a one-point lead over Arkansas State for third place. South Alabama sits atop the standings with 84 points.

Hargrave, who has been battling a foot injury all outdoor season, took first with a new PR mark of 20-1.75. Her distance now ranks third in the event in program history and puts her in a tie for 40th overall in the East Region, with the top-48 advancing to regionals from May 24 to May 26.

Also, in the high jump, junior K'Lynn Beal (Raleigh, N.C./Broughton) finished seventh overall with a new PR mark of 18-10.75.

In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the Mountaineers took two of the top four spots. Junior Katelyn Butler (Corning, N.Y./Corning Painted Post) posted a second place finish in 10:53.58 and senior Hana Ratcliffe (Durham, N.C./Durham School of the Arts) was fourth in 11:07.82.

In the high jump, senior Hunter Welborn (Booneville, N.C./Starmount) finished in a tie for eighth place, clearing 5-4.50.

In preliminary action on the day, junior Imani Chapman (Raleigh, N.C.) posted a time of 13.97 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, qualifying fourth overall for Sunday's finals. It also marked the second time this season she has turned in a time of under 14 seconds.

Also, in prelims, freshman Jessica Dixon (Louisburg, N.C./Broughton) finished with a time of 55.56 seconds to earn a spot in Sunday's final in the 400-meter dash. Her time now ranks as the fifth fastest time in program history.

Senior Phylissa Greeley (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) clocked a new PR in the 800-meter run prelims, qualifying fifth overall with a time of 2:12.07. Her time improves her standing in the record books in the event, where she sits seventh.

The final day of competition on Sunday, which features 12 finals in women's events, begins with field events at noon EST and running events at 6 p.m. EST. The final day will also feature coverage on ESPN 3, beginning at 7 p.m. EST.

Team Standings
1. South Alabama, 84
2. Appalachian State, 56.5
3. Arkansas State, 55.5
4. UT Arlington, 43
5. Georgia State, 32
6. Texas State, 25.5
7. Troy, 24
t8. Little Rock, 10
t8. Coastal Carolina, 10
10. Louisiana, 10.5
11. UL Monroe, 2


Benfield Places Eighth in Steeplechase; Virgil Moves to Second in Record Books on Day 2 of Sun Belt Championships

SAN MARCOS, Tex. -- Freshman Lawson Benfield (Apex, N.C./Apex) finished eighth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and sophomore Jalen Virgil (Lawrenceville, Ga./Mountain View) turned in one of the top times in program history in the 100-meter dash on Day 2 of the Sun Belt Championships at Texas State.

Through seven scored events, the Black and Gold sit in a tie for ninth place with Little Rock with two points. Texas State holds the team lead after the second day of competition with 52 points.

Benfield posted a time of 9:41.13 to finish eighth and score points for the Mountaineers. Freshman Zachary Mercer (Mooresville, N.C./Mooresville Senior) finished right behind in ninth with a PR time of 9:41.75.

Virgil entered the championships with the third fastest time in program history at 10.32 seconds in the 100-meter dash. He won his prelim race and finished second overall in the event in 10.29 seconds, which moves him into second place in program history. His victory in the preliminary race also qualified him for the finals on Sunday.

Senior Ryan Hastings (Matthews, N.C./Porter Ridge) also earned his spot into the finals of the 800-meter dash, winning his heat and earning the second seed with a prelim time of 1:51.55. Sophomore Sean Doyle (Rutherfordton, N.C./Polk County) also punched his ticket to the finals of the 800-meter dash, finishing eighth by .004 seconds and posting a PR time of 1:54.32.

Sophomore Elliott Graves (Reidsville, N.C./Rockingham Early College) qualified for the finals of the 110-meter hurdles on Sunday, finishing eighth in 14.32 seconds. Graves will also race in the 400-meter hurdle finals on Sunday.

The third and final day of competition on Sunday starts at noon EST with field events and 6 p.m. EST with running events. The day will feature 14 men's finals and will be broadcast on ESPN3 beginning at 7 p.m. EST.

Team Standings
1. Texas State, 52
2. Louisiana, 45
3. Arkansas State, 43
4. UL Monroe, 36
5. UT Arlington, 30
6. South Alabama, 23
7. Troy, 22
8. Coastal Carolina, 18
t9. Appalachian State, 2
t9. Little Rock, 2

App State Evens Series With Georgia State

DECATUR, Ga. — Kendall McGowan’s RBI single in the top of the 10th inning Saturday brought home Riley Smith, who had delivered a leadoff double, and helped lift Appalachian State to a 4-3 victory that evened the Mountaineers’ three-game Sun Belt Conference series at Georgia State.

Luke Watts, who took the mound with one out and two runners on in the eighth inning, pitched the final 2.2 innings and recorded the win. He capped a perfect 10th with a strikeout, giving App State its first extra-inning victory since a 2015 win in 10 innings at South Alabama.

CJ Brown’s RBI line drive for a fielder’s choice off the shortstop’s glove scored Joel McDaniel with a go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning, and the Panthers answered back with a game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth. After an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out, Watts induced a double-play groundout with the infield drawn in.

First baseman Conner Leonard fielded a one-hopper and threw home to Smith, who fired the ball back to Leonard at first.

Smith, who picked a runner off first base and erased a steal attempt with two away in the first and second innings, began the 10th with a hard-hit ball that bounced over the third baseman’s glove as he turned to his left. A wild pitch moved Smith to third before he scored on McGowan’s single up the middle past a drawn-in infield.

Watts and Kaleb Bowman pitched in relief of starter Andrew Vaccacio, who allowed one run on three hits and struck out five batters in five innings. He had allowed only one hit – a second-inning homer that followed McDaniel’s solo homer in the top half of the same inning — before giving up back-to-back hits with two away in the fifth.

App State (17-32, 8-18) had moved ahead 2-1 on Brown’s two-out RBI single earlier in the fifth to score Drew Beck, who opened the inning with a double, and Vaccacio finished his outing with a lead after inducing a groundout to second baseman Bailey Welch with two runners on.

The Panthers (24-26, 8-17) pulled even with a seventh-inning homer off Bowman, who retired six of the seven batters he faced in his first two innings of work. After an intentional walk put two Georgia State players on base with one out in the eighth, Watts entered the game and struck out cleanup hitter Will Kilgore. A walk to Ryan Glass loaded the bases before McDaniel, the shortstop, fielded a ball moving to his right and threw to Beck at third for the forceout.

Offensively, Alex Leshock went 2-for-4 and stole two bases in his second multi-hit game of the series, and Brown extended his hitting streak to 16 games.

App State, which trails Georgia State by a half-game in the Sun Belt standings, will attempt to win the series when the teams meet again Sunday at 1 p.m.

Duke Wins Saturday, Takes Series Over North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. – No. 13 Duke claimed the series victory over No. 4 North Carolina, defeating the Tar Heels, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The win not only clinched the Blue Devils’ first series victory over UNC since 2014 but also gave Duke its school-record 17th ACC win of the season.

“Guys just competing,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Competing with two strikes. Competing with two outs. We’ve had some of our best at bats this series so far with two-strikes and two outs. We’ve done a pretty decent job of taking advantage of some free offense, but ultimately it’s going to come down to timely hitting. Who gets the hit when it counts? We’ve done a good job of that through these first two ballgames.”

Ryan Day (5-2) began a solid outing for the Duke pitching staff, turning in his sixth quality start of the season. Day yielded one run on six hits over six complete, striking out three and walking two. Day faced some adversity early in the game, but found his rhythm in the middle innings, retiring the final seven batters he faced.

“We had to make some plays early,” Pollard said. “[Day] was maybe a batter or two away from us maybe getting a guy up in the pen, but was able to make a pitch here, make a pitch there. Then he went out and got that shutdown inning in the fourth. He got stronger to the point where we even debated the potential that he could go back out there in the seventh. His fifth and sixth innings were the two best innings he threw all day.”

Bryce Jarvis worked a scoreless seventh before Jack Labosky recorded the final six outs to preserve the win. Labosky’s scoreless inning streak ended at 29.1 after UNC struck for a run in the ninth, but the Duke closer got a groundout to the mound to end the game.

“Bryce was really effective in his seventh,” Pollard said. “In hindsight, Jack was probably a one inning guy today,” Pollard added. “We asked him to get two. He went out there and got that second inning on guts and heart. Just kind of willed it to happen.”

North Carolina totaled 10 hits and had at least one baserunner in all but two innings, but Blue Devils consistently evaded damage and the Tar Heels left 12 on base over the course of the game. Duke also turned three double plays, bringing their ACC-leading total to 48 on the year.

Chris Proctor walked and scored in the first on Zack Kone’s RBI double to give Duke an early 1-0 lead. Proctor reach base in four of his five plate appearance with two hits, two walks and two runs scored.

UNC countered immediately with Cody Roberts’ RBI base knock the following inning. The Tar Heels loaded the bases before Day fanned Kyle Datres to end the threat.

Duke’s biggest offensive inning came in the third when four singles led to three runs. Proctor’s base hit got it started but two quick outs appeared to nullify the leadoff baserunner. The Blue Devils then put together three-straight, two-out singles, starting with Griffin Conine, continuing with Max Miller and culminating with Kennie Taylor.

Labosky scored Duke’s fifth run after singling in the sixth. Walks to Jimmy Herron and Proctor loaded the bases before a wild pitch allowed Labosky to scamper home.
Duke turned in a double play in both the eighth and ninth innings to keep the North Carolina comeback at bay. Brandon Riley added a two-out RBI single in the ninth before Zack Gahagan grounded out to end the game.

Duke and North Carolina conclude the series at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 13 on ACC Network Extra. The Blue Devils are set to recognize eight seniors prior to their regular season home finale.

Crawmoms Take Game One with Comeback Win

Hickory, NC- The Hickory Crawmoms took game one against the Rome Braves with a 4-3 victory on Saturday Night. The 'Moms have won 3 out of the first four games of the homestand.

Crawmoms starter Jean Casanova recorded a quality start, tossing six innings and giving up three runs. The Braves scored three runs in the first but went scoreless the rest of the way.

The 'Moms chipped away at the Braves lead, putting up a run in the second, third, and fourth, innings. Their first homerun came on a deep homerun by first baseman Tyreque Reed, his second of the homestand. Centerfielder Bubba Thompson doubled to left in the third to score shortstop Cristian Inoa and cut the deficit to just a run. They tied up the game in the next inning as second baseman Ryan Dorow singled to bring in third baseman Tyler Ratliff.

The Crawmoms broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth as Inoa reached on a fielding error that scored designated hitter Austin O'Banion.

Dorow recorded three singles in the 'Moms victory to boost his average on the season to .302. Ratliff also got a pair of hits to raise his May batting average to .371.