By Tim Gardner
Feb. 29, 2012. GREENSBORO — Tyler Tewell (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) doubled with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and scored the go-ahead run on an infield single by Jeremy Dowdy (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) to lift Appalachian State University baseball to a 5-3 win over North Carolina A&T on Tuesday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium.
With the score knotted at 3-3 and two outs in the top of the ninth, Tewell ripped a line-drive double that one-hopped the right-field wall to extend the frame for Appalachian (5-2). Dowdy fell behind 0-2 to N.C. A&T reliever Joe Mackey but hit a bouncer back up the middle on Mackey’s 0-2 offering. A&T shortstop Luke Tender made a diving stop behind second base to keep the ball in the infield but Tewell never broke stride as he rounded third and slid in under Tendler’s high throw to the plate with the go-ahead run.
Dowdy, who advanced to second on the unsuccessful bid to throw Tewell at the plate, stole third and, after a Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) walk, scored on Noah Holmes’ (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) hot-shot grounder back to the mound. Zupcic was thrown out rounding third on the play but not before ASU extended its lead to 5-3.
The two-run cushion would be more than enough for Mountaineer closer Nathan Hyatt (Brevard, N.C./Brevard), who slammed the door in the bottom of the ninth for his third save.
Perhaps a bit hungover from this past weekend’s monumental series victory at No. 7 LSU, Appalachian fell into a 2-0 hole just three batters into Tuesday’s contest. However, after surrendering three-straight hits to open his first collegiate start, including a two-run double to A&T’s Dario Little, true freshman Jeffrey Springs (Belmont, N.C./South Point) settled in for four strong innings, limiting the Aggies to just the two runs on four hits while striking out four.
ASU struggled at the outset versus N.C. A&T southpaw Ruben Torrellas but finally reached Torrellas for three runs in the sixth. Noah and Trey Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) drew back-to-back walks to lead off the frame, Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) put the Apps on the board with an RBI double, Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) drove in the tying run on an infield single and Daniel Kassouf (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) gave Appalachian a 3-2 lead with a sacrifice fly.
David Port (Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody) retired all four batters he faced, including sitting the side down in order on just seven pitches in the eighth, to earn his first win of the year. Tewell, Dowdy and Callaway all had two hits to pace Appalachian offensively.
Winners of three-straight, the Mountaineers open the home portion of their schedule this weekend with four games versus Rider. Friday’s home opener is set for 3 p.m. at ASU’s Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.