May 7, 2012. Appalachian State raced out to a 7-1 lead on Senior Day but UNC-Greensboro roared back to hand the 28th-ranked Mountaineers a rare home defeat, 10-8, on Sunday afternoon in the series finale of three games at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
Highlighted by a three-run home run from Jeremy Dowdy (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) and three two-out RBI from Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside), Appalachian (34-11, 18-6 SoCon) led 7-1 after four innings but UNC Greensboro (22-23, 7-17 SoCon) scored three runs in the fifth inning and four in the sixth to grab a 8-7 advantage.
The Mountaineers knotted the score at 8-8 when Trey Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh but UNCG scored two runs with two outs in the top of the eighth to retake the lead for good.
As was the case for the vast majority of the game’s scoring, the Spartans plated the deciding runs in the eighth with two outs. ASU reliever Tyler Moore (Banner Elk, N.C./Watauga) easily retired the first two batters of the inning and was one strike away from getting out of the frame but walked Zach Leach on a 3-2 pitch. Moore was once again one strike away from escaping the stanza unscathed when UNCG cleanup hitter Lloyd Enzor lifted a fly ball into right field. The hit landed in front of right fielder Tyler Tewell (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) and took an unusually high bounce over Tewell’s head that went all the way to the wall for an RBI triple that gave the Spartans a 9-8 lead. One pitch later, Thomas Troelstrup lined a single into left-center field that brought Enzor home from third and stretched the UNCG advantage to 10-8.
The Mountaineers had 12 hits on the afternoon but left nine men on base in addition to the back-breaking double plays in the final two innings. Tewell led the 12-hit attack with a 3-for-5 effort that raised his batting average to a team-high .391. Dowdy and Callaway drove in three runs apiece.
Appalachian remains atop the league standings and controls its own destiny in the quest for its first conference championship in 25 years. Regardless of what the other three teams in title contention (College of Charleston, Samford and Elon) do down the stretch, the Mountaineers can clinch no less than a share of the SoCon championship with four wins in their final six league games.
Appalachian, which dropped to 23-2 at home this season, takes a five-day break for final exams this week before resuming SoCon play with a three-game series at Samford next weekend. The three-game set opens with a doubleheader on Saturday at 2 p.m. (ET) in Birmingham, Ala.
Game Two: Kassouf’s record-Tting HR gives ASU walk-off win
Daniel Kassouf (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) hit his school-record-tying 16th home run of the season in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Appalachian State to a 5-4 walk-off win over UNC Greensboro on Saturday.
Leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, Kassouf launched the second pitch from UNCG’s Tyler Hollstegge into a steady rain and high over the wall in left center field for the walk-off blast. His 16th home run of the year matched the long-standing Appalachian State single-season record shared by Pete Camelo (1982) and Andre Crawford (1986).
Kassouf’s walk-off home run was made necessary when UNCG rallied from a late four-run deficit. Thanks primarily to a gutsy effort from starting pitcher Seth Grant (Etowah, N.C./West Henderson), who battled through multiple jams to turn in six scoreless innings, Appalachian led 4-0 after six frames.
UNCG got on the board with an RBI triple by Zach Leach in the seventh and cut the Mountaineer lead to one run with a two-run homer by Cambric Moye in the eighth.
Appalachian turned the slim 4-3 advantage over to closer Nathan Hyatt (Brevard, N.C./Brevard) in the ninth. Pitching for the sixth time in the last seven games, Hyatt was one strike away from nailing down his 12th save of the year but just missed on a full-count pitch to Thomas Troelstrup to load the bases. He followed that by walking UNCG’s leading hitter, Kris Richards, on four pitches to force in the tying run and suffer his first blown save of the year. Tyler Moore (Banner Elk, N.C./Watauga) relieved Hyatt after the walk to Richards and struck out Moye to get out of the bases-loaded jam, setting up Kassouf’s heroics in the bottom of the ninth.
Besides becoming the first Mountaineer in 26 years to hit 16 home runs in a season, Kassouf snapped an 0-for-9 skid and an eight-game homerless drought (his longest of the season) with the game-winning blast.
The Spartans were held at bay in key situations by Grant. The right-handed senior allowed a season-high-tying nine hits but kept UNCG off the board by getting most of his five strikeouts in key situations and also benefitted from two double plays and having a runner thrown out at the plate to end an inning.
Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) led the Mountaineers’ 13-hit attack by going 3-for-4. Troelstrup and Moye also had three hits apiece to pace the Spartans. Moore got the win for the Mountaineers to move to 3-1 on the campaign while Hollstegge fell to 4-6 after surrendering a walk-off homer for the second time in a week.
Game One: Arrowood Gets Record-Tying 26th Win to lead to verdict
Ryan Arrowood (Rutherfordton, N.C./R-S Central) moved into a tie atop Appalachian’s all-time wins list by pitching six solid innings in the 28th-ranked Mountaineers’ 8-7 triumph over UNC Greensboro on Friday night .
Arrowood (9-0) scattered six hits, allowed just three runs (two earned) and struck out eight over six innings to earn the 26th win of his career. His 26 victories match the school record set by former teammate Matt Andress from 2007-10.
The quest for the record-tying win got off to an inauspicious start for Arrowood, as UNCG’s Bobby Martin led off the game with a triple to right center field. However, Appalachian’s senior ace struck out the next two batters and induced a lazy flyout to right field to work around the leadoff triple and escape the first inning unscathed.
Arrowood found himself in another jam in the second when Greensboro put runners on the corners with one out but he got another big strikeout for the second out of the stanza and stranded both runners with an inning-ending fly ball.
From there, Appalachian’s offense took control, as the Mountaineers scored two runs in the third and five in the fifth to stake Arrowood to a commanding 7-1 lead.
Appalachian stretched the lead to 8-3 on Tyler Zupcic’s (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) two-out RBI double in the bottom of the sixth but nearly squandered the entire five-run advantage with more uncharacteristically sloppy defense over the final two innings.
UNCG benefitted from Mountaineer errors in the eighth and ninth innings to plate two runs in each frame and cut the deficit to 8-7. However, with the tying run at second base in the ninth, Appalachian closer Nathan Hyatt (Brevard, N.C./Brevard) sealed the win and his 11th save of the season by striking out Greensboro’s Kris Richards to end the ballgame.
Offensively, Zupcic, Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) and Trey Holmes (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) had two hits apiece to combine for six of Appalachian’s eight hits. Crespo scored a game-high three runs and Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) recorded two of the Apps’ six RBI.