Appalachian State University baseball managed only four hits against South Alabama right-hander Hunter Soleymani and lost to the 23rd-ranked Jaguars, 8-1, on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
Coupled with Appalachian State’s 4-3 win on Friday, Saturday’s result evened this weekend’s three-game Sun Belt Conference series at a game apiece. The rubber match is set for Sunday at noon (please note change from original game time) at Smith Stadium.
Soleymani was the story of Saturday’s contest, as he needed just 102 pitches to toss the complete-game four-hitter. The right-handed senior was not overpowering (he struck out only three) but he kept the Mountaineers off-balance for much of the afternoon with his breaking ball and induced 13 groundball outs.
Appalachian State freshman Breydan Gorham (Burlington, N.C./Western Alamance) matched Soleymani pitch-for-pitch through three innings but the Jaguars benefited from two Mountaineer errors to break a scoreless tie with an unearned run in the fourth.
South Alabama (27-9, 16-1 Sun Belt) went on to score two runs in the fifth, two in the sixth and three in the seventh to take a commanding 8-0 lead. App State (9-26, 4-13 Sun Belt) committed four errors on the afternoon, which led to half of USA’s eight runs being unearned.
Grayson Atwood (Mt. Pleasant, N.C./Mt. Pleasant) broke up Soleymani’s shutout bid with a towering solo home run in the eighth. The homer was Atwood’s first of the season and the first by a Mountaineer at Smith Stadium in 2016.
No. 9 hitter Adam Wolfe went 3-for-4 with a double, home run, three RBI and two runs scored to lead South Alabama’s 11-hit attack.
The Catawba Valley Community College swept New River Community College 10-0 and 12-0.
In game one, Ty Andrus went three-for-four, with two triples, two runs scored, and RBI and a stolen base. Brandon Ford went two-for-two, with a solo home run, a dounle and two runs scored. Walker Smith went two-for-three, with a home run, and three RBI.
Charles Hall picked up the win with five innings pitched, allowing only one hit with two strikeouts.
In game two, Craig Zalewa went three-for-three, with three doubles, with three runs scored and three RBI. Ty Andrus went two-for-three, with two runs scored and a stolen base. Brandon Ford went two-for-two, with a triple, three runs scored and a walk. Seth Hubbard went one-for-two, with a home run and three RBI. Randal Ortiz went one-for-two, with a home run, two runs scored and a walk.
Aaron Biggerstaff was the winning pitcher for the Red Hawks. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out five.
CVCC moves to 20-22 (6-5) on the year.
The Wingate Baseball Team (27-17, 11-10) swept a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader from Lenoir-Rhyne (29-16, 9-12), 9-4 and 3-2, Saturday afternoon at Ron Christopher Stadium.
Game One – Wingate 9, Lenoir-Rhyne 4
The Bulldogs’ Shane Billings (Kernersville, N.C.) hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning and finished with three runs batted in to lead Wingate to the victory.
Wingate took control early and led by a 6-1 advantage heading into the seventh inning thanks to a three-run fifth inning highlighted by a two-run double from Tyler Simmons (Charlotte, N.C.).
Both senior shortstop Matthew De La Rosa (Austin, Texas) and freshman outfielder Justin Dean (Mauldin, S.C.) drew bases-loaded walks but the Bears managed just six hits in the contest and left 17 men on base.
On the mound, Wingate’s Brandon Donahue (Charlotte, N.C.) improved to 6-2 on the year after earning the win while Tyler Brown (Suffolk, Va.) registered the final out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning for his fifth save of the season. Lenoir-Rhyne junior Matt Sullivan (Bristol, Va.) fell to 3-3 after suffering the loss.
Game Two – Wingate 3, Lenoir-Rhyne 2 (seven innings)
The Bulldogs rallied from a 2-0 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to complete the sweep of the Bears.
Wingate’s Micah Goodwin (Rougemont, N.C.) hit the game-tying, two-run single before Bailey Connell (Waxhaw, N.C.) came through with the game-winning, RBI double – scoring Goodwin – in the victory.
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore Marcus Shoemaker (Colfax, N.C.) had a run-scoring single but junior Thomas St. Clair (Winston-Salem, N.C.) fell to 2-2 after taking the loss.
Wingate’s Hunter Morgan (Summerfield, N.C.) (2-2) was credited with the win after allowing just one earned run with eight strikeouts while Brown pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the save, his sixth of the year.
Lenoir-Rhyne returns home to take on Winston-Salem State on Tuesday night beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Lacrosse Team (9-6, 6-1) celebrated its Senior Day in style with a 19-5 victory over Lincoln Memorial (3-11, 0-7) Saturday afternoon in a South Atlantic Conference game at Moretz Stadium.
Lenoir-Rhyne midfielder Claire Wach (Cary, N.C.), the team’s lone senior, totaled four goals and four assists as the Bears remained in sole possession of second place in the South Atlantic Conference standings.
Lincoln Memorial’s Amara Moss (Woodbridge, Va.) finished with a team-high three goals but the Lady Railsplitters suffered their sixth straight defeat.
Lenoir-Rhyne led by a 9-2 score at halftime and were never threatened the rest of the way. The Bears also got three goals each from freshman attacker Gabby Sousa (Delran, N.J.) and freshman midfielder Rachel Elmore (White Plains, Md.) in the victory.
Lenoir-Rhyne held the margin in both shots taken (38-23) and ground balls (30-24) while junior attacker Torrey Schwitkis (San Diego, Calif.) scored twice to increase her team-leading total on the year to 38 goals.
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore Ines Flueck (Coppell, Texas) totaled 11 saves and earned the victory in goal while Lincoln Memorial goalkeeper Shannon Novak (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) also made 11 stops but took the loss.
The Bears play in a South Atlantic Conference game Saturday afternoon, at 4:00 p.m., in the regular season finale at Catawba.
The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Lacrosse Team (9-4, 7-0) claimed at least a share of the 2016 South Atlantic Conference Championship with a 15-7 victory over Lincoln Memorial (6-5, 2-5) Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at Moretz Stadium.
Senior midfielder Carson Sterling (Durham, N.C.) scored a game-high six goals including five in the first half as the Bears, ranked No. 16 in NCAA Division II, increased their winning streak to eight contests.
Lenoir-Rhyne freshman attacker Joe Buduo (Shrewsbury, Mass.) added five scores – four in the second half – as the Bears won the league regular season title for the second time in three seasons.
Sterling scored the first three goals of the game as the Bears held a 6-1 advantage at halftime and never looked back.
The Railsplitters were led by Billy Kopsky (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Kyle Arcuri (Patchoque, N.Y.) with two goals each in the setback.
Lenoir-Rhyne held a 47-36 edge in shots taken while junior attacker Mike Hanlon (Haymarket, Va.) totaled two scores and two assists and increased his team-leading goal total to 33 on the year.
In goal, the Bears’ sophomore Ryan Crompton (Frederick, Md.) earned the victory after stopping 15 shots while Lincoln Memorial’s Joe Medel (Virginia Beach, Va.) made nine saves despite the loss.
Lenoir-Rhyne wraps up the regular season on Saturday, April 23, in Salisbury, N.C., when the Bears take on Catawba in a South Atlantic Conference contest beginning at 7:00 p.m.
The Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Team (39-9, 16-2), ranked No. 24 in NCAA Division II, swept Lincoln Memorial (19-26-1, 7-11), 10-0 and 5-4, in a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader on Senior Day Saturday afternoon at Bears Field.
Game One – Lenoir-Rhyne 10,
Lincoln Memorial 0 (five innings)
Lenoir-Rhyne senior catcher Sarah Kenley (Charlotte, N.C.) hit a grand slam in the first inning and finished with five runs batted in while sophomore shortstop Madison Carter (Bessemer City, N.C.) drove in four runs to lead the Bears to the victory.
The Bears put the contest away early – leading by a 10-0 score after three innings – in run-ruling the Lady Railsplitters. Lenoir-Rhyne freshman outfielder Erin Boone (Creedmoor, N.C.) and sophomore outfielder Christina Walker (Roxboro, N.C.) both finished with three hits and two runs scored in the win.
Lenoir-Rhyne senior Maryann Hoskins (Havelock, N.C.) improved to 14-6 after taking the win. Lincoln Memorial’s Brianna Taylor (Ooltewah, Tenn.) fell to 10-12 after suffering the loss.
Game Two – Lenoir-Rhyne 5, Lincoln Memorial 4
Walker broke a 4-4 tie with the game-winning, run-scoring ground out in the bottom of the sixth inning while Hoskins pitched a scoreless seventh inning for her fourth save of the year as the Bears swept the Railsplitters.
Lincoln Memorial scored four times in its half of the sixth inning highlighted by a two-run home run from Samantha Smith (Knoxville, Tenn.) to tie the score but came up short after falling behind by a 4-0 margin.
Walker finished with three runs batted in while Kenley and junior first baseman Sydney Landreth (Disputanta, Va.) both hit solo home runs for the Bears in the win. On the mound, Lenoir-Rhyne freshman Emily Kenley (Charlotte, N.C.) improved to 7-2 with the victory. Smith (8-9) was tagged with the loss.
Lenoir-Rhyne next faces Queens in Charlotte, N.C.in a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader taking place on Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
Appalachian State University men’s tennis (13-6) couldn’t have ended the regular season in better fashion than a thrilling 4-3 win over archrival Georgia Southern (15-6) Saturday evening at the Wallis Tennis Center.
The Mountaineers fell in doubles play that gave the Eagles the 1-0 lead, but won four singles matches to take home the victory.
“I couldn’t more proud of the guys today”, said head coach Bob Lake. “We battled with resiliency and dug deep when we needed to. This was a statement win for us after dropping two matches last week, and this gives us momentum going into the conference tournament next week.”
With the match tied at 3-all and Ze Moya leading Jack Maddocks (Newcastle, Australia/Lambton) in the final match, Maddocks fought back from a 5-2 deficit to clinch the victory for the Mountaineers in a win that will certainly give the team confidence and momentum heading into the Sun Belt Tournament next weekend.
Appalachian gave Georgia Southern just its second loss in the past eight games, while the home loss for the Eagles was just their fourth setback in 10 matches at Wallis Tennis Center.
The hosts took both doubles matches en route to taking the 1-0 lead. Oliver Casey (Melbourne, Australia/Carey Baptist) and Maddocks fell to JC Alcala and Eddie Landin as the No. 2 pairing. Zach Bost (Jefferson, Ga./Jefferson) and Trey Morris (Gerton, N.C./Abraham Baldwin Agricultural) would go on to suffer a 6-3 setback to Christian Kerrigan and Nico de Groof, 6-3.
App State stepped up in the singles portion of the match, with Morris tying the contest up with a straight-set, 6-2, 6-1 triumph over de Groof as the No. 6 in the lineup.
Casey bounced back to give the Mountaineers a 2-1 lead with his 6-2, 6-1 win over JC Alcala. Jan-Willem Kleynhans (Stellbosch, South Africa/Paul Roos Gymnasium) had a chance to push the lead to two points, but fell in three sets after coming back from a one-set deficit to force a deciding set, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
With the match tied, 2-2, Daniel Casablancas toppled Bost, 6-3, 7-6, to give the Eagles the lead, 3-2. But the final two matches belonged to the Apps, as Scott Webster (Swanbourne, Australia/Scotch College) valiantly stepped up and came back from a one-set deficit to defeat Rise Lanne, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Webster gave Lanne just his third loss of the season in 19 singles matches, which set up Maddocks’ match-winning victory.
App State will await to hear its opponent for the Sun Belt Tournament taking place in New Orleans on Wednesday. Both the men’s and women’s tournament go by ITA rankings as opposed to the conventional head-to-head competition in conference play.
Appalachian State women’s tennis (7-13) showcased a valiant effort in a 4-3 setback to a tough Davidson (15-4) squad Saturday afternoon at Varsity Courts on Senior Day.
Seniors Brianna Armellino (West Palm, Fla./Home School), Clare Cox (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley) and Mackenzie LaSure (Asheville, N.C./Asheville) were honored before the match for their dedication and commitment to the App State program.
The Mountaineers took home the doubles point but Davidson claimed four of six singles victories to ensure its 15th win of the season.
Despite Taylor Bygrave (Monto, Australia/Miami Gold Coast) and Megan Mullen (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) falling in their doubles match as the No. 2 pairing to Elaina Cummer and Sarah Stein, 6-0, the Mountaineers dug deep to take the final two doubles contests.
Melissa Machado (Miami, Fla./Felix Varela) and Gabrielle Wreder (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) downed Ava Todd and Jenna Brunner by a score of 6-3 to knot the doubles portion up. The No. 1 duo of Cox and Heidi Swope (Weddington, N.C/Weddington) clinched the point for App State when they dealt Anna Feaster and Ally Sexton a 6-3 defeat.
Leading 1-0 going into singles play, the Wildcats picked up the first three singles matches to surge to a 3-1 lead. Wreder fell to Todd 6-1,6-0 as the No. 3 in the lineup before Machado suffered a 7-5, 6-0 setback to Gabrielle Centenari. LaSure playing as the No. 4 in the lineup, was toppled by Megan Scholvinck, 6-2, 6-2.
Down to the final three matches of the day, the Apps never gave up. Cox continued her solid day with a 6-4, 6-2 victory in the No. 1 slot to Sexton, bringing Appalachian to within one, 3-2. In a marathon three-set match, Swope would take the first set, 6-3, before Cummer forced a third set,6-2.
The third set between the No. 5’s went back and forth into a tiebreak where it was much of the same. However, Cummer came back from a 5-2 deficit in the tiebreak to clinch the match for the Wildcats.
If Swope would have had more luck, the Apps would be talking about having serious momentum, as Rebecca Morse (Lehigh Acres, Fla./Cypress Lake) finished the day with a three-set win, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. The freshman came back after being down a set before roaring back for the victory.
App State will await to hear its opponent for the Sun Belt Tournament taking place in New Orleans on Thursday. Both the men’s and women’s tournament go by ITA rankings as opposed to the conventional head-to-head competition in conference play.
The high-powered Hickory Crawdads offense was held in check Friday night and the 'Dads had their 4-game winning streak snapped as a result, as the Crawdads fell to the visiting Kannapolis Intimidators 4-2 in front of a crowd of 2,626 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The 'Dads entered the night leading the South Atlantic League in batting average, run differential, home runs, and extra base hits, but the Hickory hitters were held scoreless on five hits over the first 7 innings while the Intimidators built a 4-0 lead. The Crawdads got back in the game thanks to a double from Andy Ibanez and an ensuing 2-run homer by Yeyson Yrizarri in the 8th to cut the deficit to 4-2, but the rally ended there resulting in just the second loss of the season for the club.
The majority of the contest was a one-run game as the Intimidators plated an unearned tally in the 3rd on an error by Hickory third baseman Frandy De La Rosa that allowed Grant Massey reach, followed by an RBI double from Danny Mendick to put Kannapolis on top 1-0.
The score remained the same until the bullpens entered the game in the 6th, as Crawdads starting pitcher Pedro Payano and Intimidators hurler Tanner Banks kept each other's offenses at bay through five frames. Kannapolis finally doubled their advantage to 2-0 in the 6th, thanks to back-to-back doubles by Corey Zangari and Seby Zavala off of Hickory reliever Blake Bass. The Intimidators got to Bass again in the 7th, this time on a double from Mendick and an RBI single by Tyler Sullivan to push the score to 3-0.
Kannapolis brought one last run home in the top of the 8th on a single from Zavala and an RBI double by Cody Daily off of 'Dads reliever Adam Choplick to make the score 4-0 before Yrizarri's 2-run homer in the bottom of the inning put the Crawdads on the board with a 4-2 deficit. That would be as far as the club would rally though, as Intimidators reliever Drew Hassler sat down the final six 'Dads in a row to end the game with a 4-2 Hickory defeat.
Banks (2-0) earned the win for Kannapolis after throwing 5 shutout innings on four hits, two walks, and three strikeouts. Payano (0-1) took a tough loss for the Crawdads with only one unearned run given up on two hits, two walks, and six walks during his 5 IP. Hasler (1) earned the save for the Intimidators with his two perfect innings out of the bullpen to end the game.
Yrizarri finished the night 2-4 with his first home run of the year to go along with a double and 2 RBI to pace the 'Dads offense. Ibanez went 1-4 with a double and a run scored, while Tyler Sanchez reached base safely three times via walk.
The Crawdads (7-2) and Intimidators (4-5) will play again on Saturday at 6:00 pm for game three of their 4-game series.
Freshman Beau Myers’ (Thomasville, N.C./Wesleyan Christian Academy) bases-loaded walk capped a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning and lifted Appalachian State University baseball to its biggest win of the season to date, a 4-3 triumph over No. 23 South Alabama on Friday night at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
With the victory, Appalachian State (9-25, 4-12 Sun Belt) handed 23rd-ranked South Alabama (26-9, 15-1 Sun Belt) its first Sun Belt Conference loss of the season. After going nearly 29 years without beating a nationally ranked team from 1982-2011, App State now owns 10 wins over ranked teams since ‘11, including at least one in five of the last six seasons.
Things looked bleak for the Mountaineers on Friday night when they entered the bottom of the ninth inning facing a 3-1 deficit and South Alabama closer Shane McKinley on the mound. However, McKinley (1-2) was shaky from the get-go, walking senior Grayson Atwood (Mt. Pleasant, N.C./Mt. Pleasant) and sophomore Chandler Seagle (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) to put the tying run on base with nobody out.
Pinch-hitter Drake Zupcic (Waxhaw, N.C./Cuthbertson) followed with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to bring Matt Vernon (Advance, N.C./Davie County) to the plate with runners on second and third and one out. Vernon, who was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts to that point in the contest, fell behind 0-2 in the count, prompting head coach Billy Jones to call a timeout to meet with the junior-college transfer. After the conference with Jones, Vernon drew even in the count at 2-2 then ripped a line drive back up the middle. Pinch-runner Jason Curtis (Waxhaw, N.C./Marvin Ridge) and Seagle easily scored to knot the ballgame at 3-3.
Following Vernon’s game-tying hit, McKinley issued walks to two of the Mountaineers’ next three batters to load the bases for Myers with two outs. Myers never took the bat off his shoulder, walking on five pitches to force Vernon home with the winning run and trigger the Mountaineers’ third-straight walkoff celebration at home.
The late-game heroics overshadowed a terrific pitchers’ duel between Appalachian State true freshman Bobby Hampton (Pikeville, N.C./C.B. Aycock) and South Alabama all-America candidate Kevin Hill.
Hampton turned in the finest performance of his young career, keeping South Alabama off the scoreboard for the first six innings of the game. Protecting a 1-0 lead the seventh, the southpaw allowed a one-out single but retired the next batter to bring No. 7 hitter Danny Martinez to the plate with two outs. Martinez, who came into the game with just one home run this season, launched a 2-0 pitch into the USA bullpen in right field to give the Jaguars their first lead at 2-1.
Hampton was lifted from the game after a career-high-tying seven innings pitched and South Alabama tacked on another run in the top of the eighth to make it 3-1. The eighth-inning damage could have been much worse but App State reliever Reed Howell (Goldsboro, N.C./Roswell) came on with two on, no outs and a run already in and got out of the jam with a groundout and two strikeouts.
Howell (3-1) pitched another perfect inning in the ninth to earn the win. Hampton (7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) did not figure in the decision despite outdueling Hill (8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K) for much of the evening. Thanks to the Mountaineers’ ninth-inning comeback against McKinley, Hill also didn’t figure in decision and remains at 7-1 on the season.
Leonard went 3-for-4 to pace Appalachian State’s seven-hit attack while Myers and Vernon drove in two runs apiece. Vernon’s game-tying single in the ninth extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest by a Mountaineer this season.
Heart-stopping contests have become a trend for Appalachian State, as five of the Mountaineers’ last six Sun Belt games have been decided in walkoff fashion. App State claimed back-to-back walkoff wins two weekends ago against Little Rock and suffered consecutive walkoff defeats last weekend at Troy.
Appalachian State and South Alabama resume their three-game Sun Belt series on Saturday. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Smith Stadium.