A two-run home run by Georgia Southern’s Stryker Brown in the top of the fourth inning proved to be the difference in Appalachian State University baseball’s season-ending 2-1 loss on Friday in the Southern Conference Tournament at Riley Park.
Brown’s two-run homer to right field gave Georgia Southern a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Fifth-seeded Appalachian State (21-34) cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning when Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence), who led off the frame with a single to right-center field, scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Alex Leach (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell).
However, that would be the only runs either team would muster in the pitching-dominated affair. The one-run output was especially frustrating for the Mountaineers, who stranded baserunners in six of the game’s nine innings and left the tying run on second base in the eighth and ninth.
Making the first start of his career, Appalachian freshman Dallas DeVrieze (Moline, Ill./Moline) surrendered just two runs over 4.1 innings of work but suffered the tough-luck loss after giving up Brown’s homer in the fourth. Relievers Zach Joyce (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) and Robert Whaley (Hickory, N.C./Hickory) combined to allow just two hits over 4.2 scoreless innings to close out the ballgame.
Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) and Michael Pierson (Coral Springs, Fla./Pine Crest) paced Appalachian State’s seven-hit attack with two apiece.
Georgia Southern (36-21) used seven pitchers to cobble together the seven-hitter. With the victory, No. 4-seeded Eagles advance to Saturday’s SoCon semifinals and must beat No. 8 Furman twice to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
NOTES: Appalachian State suffered its 11th one-run loss of the season and fell to 7-16 in games decided by two runs or less ... Pierson reached base in 30-straight games to close out the season.