ASU Baseball Takes Victory Over Bulldogs
Despite a late effort by the Bulldogs, the Mountaineers held on to win the series, as Appalachian State University baseball defeated Southern Conference opponent Samford, 9-7, at Joe Lee Griffin Field on Sunday. For the third straight game, the Mountaineers posted the first runs. Junior Tyler Tewell led off the second inning with a walk before senior Jeremy Dowdy let loose on his third home run of the season, clearing the left-center wall to put Appalachian on the scoreboard, 2-0. In the bottom of the same inning, Samford cut the deficit with a lead-off walk followed by an RBI-single by Christian Durdaller that caught the left-field foul line to make it a 2-1 ball game. Later, Samford tried to score another on a single to right field, but a successful relay and putout by Dowdy protected the lead. Junior Tyler Zupcic picked up a double in the third inning, and hits by Will Callaway and Daniel Kassouf brought Zupcic home to increase the Appalachian advantage to 3-1.
ASU starter Rob Marcello navigated four innings with only four hits before Samford gained momentum in the fifth. The Bulldogs tallied five hits and capitalized on a Mountaineer error to score three runs and take a 3-4 advantage. Marcello would finish the day with 4.2 innings pitched, four runs (all earned), five walks, two strikeouts and no decision. With rain beginning to fall, Appalachian responded in the top of the sixth inning. Kassouf led off with a double, while Tewell and freshman Brandon Burris notched hits to score the tying run-Burris earning the RBI. Preston Troutman reached on a dropped sac-fly, and sophomore Noah Holmes brought two more to the plate on a two-RBI single, putting Appalachian back on top, 7-4. In the eighth, Appalachian plated two more runs as Troutman walked, while Crespo and Zupcic each picked up RBI singles to bump the ASU margin to 9-4. The bottom of the eighth saw the Mountaineers struggling to pitch strikes. After two hit batters and four walks, Samford brought three batters to the dish, cutting the gap to 9-7. In the end, junior Tyler Moore was able to force a Bulldog double play to escape the trouble. In the ninth, Samford led off to put the tying run aboard on back-to-back hits, but Moore's work forced another double play to close the door on Appalachian's 9-7 victory. Appalachian State returns home to Boone for its final home game of the season on Tuesday. The Apps host non-conference opponent Gardner-Webb for a single game beginning at 6 p.m.