Red-Hot Bats Propel Mountaineers Past Eagles, 9-5
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Strong hitting shot Appalachian State University baseball out of the gates fast, pushing it to a 9-5 victory over NC Central on Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, N.C.
The Mountaineers (7-9, 0-0 Sun Belt) used a season-high 14 hits to down the Eagles (9-7, 2-1 MEAC), scoring six runs in the first two innings of the ballgame to set the tone from first pitch. It’s the most amount of hits the team has had since April 29, 2016, against Arkansas State.
The Black and Gold started things off with a bang, scoring three runs in the first inning. Leadoff batter Calev Grubbs (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll) hit a bullet to the pitcher to reach base, before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Jason Curtis (Waxhaw, N.C./Marvin Ridge) then continued the aggressive attack, singling to left field where a fielding error led to him taking second base and push Grubbs home.
Matt Vernon (Advance, N.C./Davie County (Florence-Darlington Tech)) then drew a walk, only to be then hit around on a Chandler Seagle (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) rocket through the left side. Brian Bauk (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) then shot one up the middle, allowing both Vernon and Curtis to score.
The bats continued to be lit in the second inning, aided by two errors by the Eagles’ fielders. Drake Zupcic (Waxhaw, N.C./Cuthbertson) reached first on a throwing error and then took second base before Grubbs drew one of his two walks on the night. Appalachian as a whole set a new season-high for walks-drawn, drawing walks nine times on the night.
Curtis then also reached on a fielder’s choice that pushed Zupcic across the plate, extending the Mountaineers lead to four. Vernon then lined a double down the left field line scoring Curtis for the second run of the inning. Colin Schmid (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) was able to score Vernon on a liner to left field while earning his first RBI on the season.
Tyler Stroup (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) then added to his home run total in the third inning when he sent a solo bomb to right field against wind – the lone App State run of the inning.
The Mountaineers would strike again in the fifth inning behind Vernon’s bat. Zupcic led off the inning with a single, while Grubbs walked and speedy Curtis loaded the bases with a bunt single. The Eagles’ were able to get the double play, but not before Zupcic scored.
Appalachian put together back-to-back scoring innings by plating another batter in the sixth inning. Seagle led off the inning by drawing a walk but was put out on a fielder’s choice on a Bauk dribble down the third-base line. Bauk then recorded his second stolen base of the season and scored on a Stroup double down the right field line.
On the mound tonight, App State senior right-handed pitcher Matt Schaeffer (Port St. Lucie, Fla./John Carroll Catholic (Tallahassee CC)) got his first career start and turned in a fine 3.0-inning performance, allowing just four hits, two runs and striking out two batters. Dallas DeVrieze (Moline, Ill./Moline) received the win on the night, also going 3.0 innings, allowing just two hits, no earned runs in 13 batters faced.
Thomas Young (Cary, N.C./Panther Creek (Wingate)) and Sean Mason (Austin, Texas/McNeil) closed out the final two innings of the game. They allowed just six hit and two runs between them, striking out two batters each.
The Mountaineers will complete Game Two of this midweek home-and-home series with NC Central on Wednesday, March 15, traveling to Durham, N.C. and Durham Athletic Park. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Appalachian State Strategic Communications
6048 Appalachian Athletics Center
425 Jack Branch Drive
Boone, NC, 28608