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Appalachian State University men’s soccer head coach Matt Nelson announced the promotion of assistant coach Jeff Bilyk to associate head coach earlier this week.

Bilyk has been an assistant on Nelson’s staff since 2012. With Bilyk on Nelson’s staff, the Mountaineers have produced 12 all-Southern Conference and all-Sun Belt honorees.

The men’s soccer program made the Southern Conference tournament his first two years on staff, including reaching the SoCon semifinal in 2012 - falling in penalties to Wofford.

Last year, the program’s first in the Sun Belt Conference, the Mountaineers made it to the semifinal match, but fell to Hartwick.

Prior to coming to Appalachian in 2012 Bilyk served as an assistant at former Southern Conference-rival Davidson and was the Director of Coaching for North Meck Soccer Club in Cornelius, N.C.

Bilyk worked with the North Meck Soccer Club as a youth soccer coach for three years before taking over as director of coaching in 2010. Bilyk began his coaching career in 2001 as a youth coach in Florida and Virginia, and from 2007-09, he served as assistant at Davidson. While with the Wildcats, he coached four all-conference selections, including the 2009 SoCon Player of the Year, Charlie Reiter.

Bilyk played collegiately at Clemson. The Bayport, N.Y. native played four seasons with the Tigers and earned all-ACC, all-South region and all-ACC Tournament honors after captaining his squad to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship during his senior year.

Bilyk went on to play for several teams in Major League Soccer (MLS) and United Soccer Leagues (USL), including the Miami Fusion, Milwaukee Rampage, Virginia Beach Mariners and Charlotte Eagles. In 2001, his Fusion team captured the MLS Supporters’ Shield as regular-season champions, while his ‘02 Rampage squad were the USL A-League playoff champions.

The Hickory Crawdads came within one hit of their biggest comeback of the year Thursday night as the club rallied for 6 runs in the 8th inning, but the 'Dads surge fell just short in an 8-6 loss to the Hagerstown Suns at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads entered the penultimate frame trailing the Suns 7-0 before the club brought in six runs on five hits, two walks, one error, and a hit batsman to cut their deficit to one with the bases loaded and two outs. Left fielder Eduard Pinto stepped to the plate with a chance to give Hickory their first lead of the night and twice just missed hitting a grand slam before he ultimately struck out looking to end the inning. The Crawdads had one last shot at a victory in the 9th with two on and two out trailing by two, but Jonathan Meyer struck out looking to end the game with an 8-6 defeat.

Prior to the late inning rally, the 'Dads fell behind in the middle frames when the Suns scored four runs in the 4th, two in the 5th, and one in the 6th for a 7-0 score. The 4th inning outburst saw Hagerstown bring all nine batters to the plate against Hickory starter Brett Martin while scoring four runs, one earned, on three hits, two walks, and an error. The Suns tacked on to their lead against Crawdads reliever Joe Filomeno in the next two innings, with a 2-RBI triple by Bryan Mejia in the 5th and a solo home run from Osvaldo Abreu in the 6th putting Hagerstown ahead by 7.

The 'Dads 8th inning explosion began when Josh Morgan reached on a one-out, infield single before Pinto was hit by a pitch and Jose Trevino picked up an infield single to load the bases. Edwin Garcia brought in the first run with yet another infield single while an RBI base knock by Jairo Beras plated the second. Carlos Arroyo kept the rally going with a bases loaded, RBI walk, before a ground ball by Meyer was misplayed by Suns third baseman David Masters which allowed two more runs to score. Juremi Profar knocked in the final tally with an RBI fielder's choice to cut the Crawdads deficit to 7-6.

An ensuing infield single by Jose Cardona and a walk to Morgan re-loaded the bases for Pinto, before his caught-looking K ended the threat.

Beras led the 'Dads offense going 4-5 with an RBI and a run, while Arroyo (2-4, RBI, R, BB), Garcia (2-5, RBI, R) and Cardona (2-5) all finished with multi-hit games as well.

Hagerstown starting pitcher Connor Bach (4-2) earned the win with five shutout innings on three hits, two walks, and 6 strikeouts. Martin (4-5) took the loss for Hickory after allowing four runs, one earned, on five hits, 3 BB, and 4 Ks during his 3.2 IP. Suns reliever Koda Glover (2) picked up the save with a scoreless 9th inning.

The Crawdads (62-39/18-15) will look to bounce back against the Suns (50-51/ 15-18) in game two of the four-game series Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

The Hickory Crawdads return home tonight to start a short homestand following a very successful road trip. The ‘Dads went 6-1 on a road swing through Asheville and Lexington. Hickory’s current six game winning streak matches a season high. Overall the Crawdads are 62-38 and they’re 18-14 in the second half.

Tonight Hickory begins a four game home series against Hagerstown. They’ll play at 7:00 tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday. Then they’ll wrap up the series with a 5:00 game Sunday. After that it’s back on the road for the ‘Dads, with three games at Delmarva and four at Lakewood.

Appalachian State University volleyball was among 146 NCAA Division I volleyball squads to earn a spot on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) list of Team Academic Award winners on Wednesday (July 29).

The Mountaineers are one of just five Sun Belt Conference teams to be named to the AVCA’s list for the 2014-15 campaign, joining Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Little Rock.

“I’m proud of the team for earning another team academic award,” said head coach Matt Ginipro. “This team works just as hard in the classroom as they do on the court and this award proves just that.”

Appalachian’s honor marks its sixth-straight appearance on the Team Academic Award list and its sixth overall during the tenure of head coach Matt Ginipro. The Apps have earned the award a total of 10 times since its inception during the 1992-93 academic year.

In order to be named to the list, teams must compile a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 for the academic year.

A total of 752 teams were honored this year as the awards list included squads from all three NCAA woman’s divisions, NCAA men’s volleyball, NAIA schools, two-year colleges, NCCAA institutions and high schools.

This year’s total of 752 squads surpasses the previous record 687 set during the 2013-14 season and the 146 Division I squads on the list set a new record for NCAA Division I institutions.

Appalachian State University football’s Sept. 26 contest at Old Dominion will be televised live on the American Sports Network, ODU announced on Tuesday. Kickoff for the first-ever meeting between Appalachian State and Old Dominion is set for 3:30 p.m.

The American Sports Network airs on a number of Sinclair Broadcasting-owned television stations across the country. Sinclair owns and operates 162 television stations in 78 U.S. markets. Specific stations that will carry the App State-ODU game have yet to be determined.

Last year’s Appalachian State-Southern Miss game also aired on ASN and was carried in 74 markets nationwide, including Asheville, the Triad, the Triangle and Wilmington in North Carolina.

With Tuesday’s announcement, television arrangements and kickoff times are now set for Appalachian State’s first three games of the 2015 football campaign. The Mountaineers open the season at home on Sept. 5 at 3:30 p.m. versus Howard and travel to Clemson on Sept. 12 for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff. Both games will air live on ESPN3.

Tuesday’s announcement also guarantees that all 12 of Appalachian State’s games will be televised for the second-straight year. The Sun Belt Conference’s contract with ESPN ensures that all games played at Sun Belt venues are carried on an ESPN platform (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS or ESPN3).

The Mountaineers’ nationally televised home contests versus Georgia Southern (Oct. 22) and Arkansas State (Nov. 5) will start at 7:30 p.m. and air live on ESPNU. Networks and kickoff times for Appalachian State’s remaining seven games will be set no later than 12 days before each contest.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 10:10

Crawdads Notch Sixth Straight Win

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The Crawdads used a slightly different formula on Tuesday, scoring first and building an early lead en route to a 6-2 victory over the Lexington Legends. One trend did continue, however: multiple two-run innings. The 'Dads scored two runs in the second, third and eighth frames to lock in the evenly distributed total.

Luke Tendler and Juremi Profar each scored and drove runs home in the process of securing two hits apiece. Jairo Beras also logged a multi hit game and scored a run. Tendler and Beras mixed in back to back doubles to lead off the second inning, igniting the 'Dads offensive attack.

Tendler's team leading twenty-fifth two-bagger was cashed in by a bases loaded walk from Lexington starter Yunior Marte (L, 4-1) to third baseman Juremi Profar which put Hickory on the board. Moments later Beras trotted home on a wild pitch.

With no one yet retired in the frame, the Crawdads appeared destined for a major crooked number, but a double play ball and a routine fly to right snuffed out the rally.

One inning later, the Crawdads made use of back-to-back extra base hits from Eduard Pinto and Edwin Garcia to double the lead. Batting cleanup after going 8-for-9 with six RBI's in the previous two contests, Garcia would add another chapter to his storied return to the club.

Garcia lined a triple down into the right field corner which made Pinto's double count. Garcia came home on an RBI groundout from Tendler, making the score 4-0 in the third.

Not content to simply be remembered as the hero of game one's ninth inning comeback, Jose Cardona added a two-RBI triple in the eighth inning to set the 'Dads final run total. It capped a 2-for-5 night out of the lead-off spot by the designated hitter.

Nick Gardewine (W, 6-7) was rewarded for five strong innings in which he struck out seven, walked only one batter and allowed just a single run. Chris Dula followed with a scoreless sixth, which began with a hard liner off his lower body. Despite a pair of walks, he settled in to strand two runners in scoring position.

Left-hander Shane McCain pitched two innings, allowing the other Lexington run on an RBI grounder from Wander Franco which followed a leadoff walk and a pair of wild pitches in the eight. McCain struck out one batter in each frame. Adam Dian came on to work the ninth inning, retiring the Legends in order to nail down the win.

With the win, the Crawdads ran its South Atlantic League best winning streak to six in a row. The total matches their season high and marks the club's most successful road swing of the year. The 'Dads finish the seven game tour through Asheville and Lexington with only one loss against six wins.

After a travel day today, the 'Dads return home Thursday to begin a four game series with Hagerstown. The Crawdads and Suns are scheduled for a 7:00 first pitch at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 05:54

Morganton Softball Team Headed To World Series

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The City of Morganton Girls Softball Team is heading to the Big League Softball World Series this weekend in Delaware. The Morganton Girls defeated the Florida Girls team 8-2 in the Southeast Regional Tournament final held Monday night in Ft. Myers, Florida, to seal their spot in the 2015 World Series.

The Morganton Girls Softball Team members are Haley Bumgarner, Bethany Cline, Katlyn Clark, Kasey Cook, Kayli Cook, Rebecca Epley, Leah Hasson, Kayla Hunt, Nikki Lewis, Makaley Lovelace, Tabitha Pearson, Jordyn Propst, Micaela Queen, Logan Smithers, Brittany Westbrooks, Head Coach Mike Hasson, and Assistant Coaches Rodney Bumgarner, Lindsey Auton, and Jody Lewis.

The Morganton Girls will compete against nine other teams from across the globe in the 2015 Big League Softball tournament this weekend in Delaware. The Morganton Girls will play four games at the World Series, and their record will determine if they move into the final round. They will play their first game against Canada Sunday (August 2) at 3:00 pm. The final three games of the tourney will be televised live on ESPN.

In 2004, the Morganton Boys Little League Baseball team went to the World Series, and finished third in the U.S. Pool of eight teams. Visit http://www.bigleaguesoftballws.org to follow the tournament.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 05:39

Crawdads Win Fifth Straight

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Crawdads closer Scott Williams struck out the side in the ninth, leaving the bases full of Lexington Legends to secure Hickory's fifth consecutive victory Monday night (July 27) by a final of 4-2. With Monday's win, the 'Dads claimed a second consecutive road series and ran the South Atlantic League's longest active winning streak to five in a row.

The Crawdads used a similar script in game three of the series, falling behind in the early innings only to respond both quickly and decisively in claiming victory. Hickory scored four unanswered runs in the middle innings, then held on late for the win.

Hickory pitchers surrendered a combined eleven hits on Monday, yet kept the Legends off the scoreboard in every inning except the third. By leaving the bases loaded in the ninth, Lexington stranded ten runners on the night.

Shortstop Josh Morgan ignited both Crawdads rallies with leadoff singles in the fourth and sixth innings. He would score both times and the 'Dads would plate a pair of runs in each frame.

Edwin Garcia contributed a 3-for-4 performance in which he drove in half of Hickory's run total and scored another. Before grounding out to the shortstop in his final at bat of the night, Garcia had reached in eight straight plate appearances to begin his tenure with the club. In just two games the infielder is 8-for-9 with a double, six runs batted in and three runs scored.

The 'Dads were scheduled to conclude both the Lexington series and the road trip tonight. The Crawdads return to Hickory to start a short four-game homestand, taking on Hagerstown in a weekend series Thursday through Sunday.

Caldwell County Post 29 was eliminated from the American Legion Baseball State Tournament Monday night. Rowan County knocked Caldwell out with a 6-3 win in a game that started after 8:30 p.m. due to a rain delay. Post 342 was scheduled to take on High Point today for the state championship. Rowan only had to win one of two games to claim the program's eighth state title. Monday night they denied Caldwell a shot at a fifth state championship.

Post 29 fell behind Rowan 4-0 heading into the bottom of the third and could not recover. Rowan plated two in the top of the 1st and two more in the top of the 3rd. Caldwell eventually rallied back to cut the lead to 4-3 after five innings, however, Rowan answered back in the 6th with a run on a hit batsman with the bases loaded. They added an insurance run in the 8th. Caldwell did bring the tying run to the plate with one out in the 9th inning but Rowan was able to get the final two outs for the win.

Caldwell finishes the season 3rd in the state, the 9th time the program has finished 3rd or better and it's Post 29's best finish since 2007, when they finished 3rd as well. Caldwell's final record was 29-13 and they collected the Area IV Western Division Championship along the way. Coach Myron Day has the potential for ten returning players from this squad in 2016.

Monday, 27 July 2015 05:55

Crawdads Win All Three Weekend Road Games

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It was a very successful weekend on the road for the Hickory Crawdads, winning all three of their games. Hickory has now won four straight games overall following a three game losing streak.

Eight innings of back and forth scoring took the Hickory Crawdads into the 9th inning in a 4-4 tie against the Asheville Tourists Friday night, but the 'Dads were finally able to break open the game with a 3-run 9th inning for a 7-4 win over the Tourists at McCormick Field.

Prior to the 9th neither team had scored more than a single run in an frame, with the Crawdads plating runs in the 1st, 3rd, 6th, & 7th, while the Tourists countered with tallies in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, & 6th. The seesaw affair saw both teams take the lead twice only to have the game revert back to a tie four times before the 'Dads used four hits to bring home three runs in the 9th.

On Saturday, for a second consecutive night, Hickory used a three run ninth inning to claim victory on the road. Trailing 5-0 early, the Crawdads plated six unanswered runs across the contest's final seven frames to defeat the Lexington Legends 6-5 in game one of their four game South Atlantic League series.

The Hickory Crawdads fell behind early for a second time in as many nights in Lexington on Sunday, yet powered back offensively to win a fourth consecutive road contest by a final of 11-4. With the victory, the 'Dads are assured of a winning road trip and at least a split of the four game series with the Legends.

It was a rocky beginning for Crawdads righty Austin Pettibone who gave up three runs in the first, including a home run to Wander Franco. Consistent production from Hickory across the balance of the contest would pick the starter up. The Crawdads outscored Lexington 11-3 the rest of the way, allowing Pettibone to notch his second win of the season against three defeats.

Hickory pounded out fourteen hits and left eleven additional runners stranded on the base paths against a combination of starter Foster Griffin, lefty reliever Emilio Ogando and right-hander Jake Newberry. The Crawdads ended the night 7-for-18 with runners in scoring position and every member of the lineup reached base.

The Crawdads are now 60-38 overall and 16-14 in the second half. They were scheduled to continue the series in Lexington with game three tonight.

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