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The Hickory Crawdads were down to their final out against the Lexington Legends Tuesday night before the bats came alive, as Josh Altmann tied the game with a solo home run to left before LeDarious Clark gave the club the lead with a go-ahead, RBI double for a come-from-behind 4-3 win at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

The Crawdads entered the 9th trailing 3-2 after the Legends broke a 2-2 tie in the 8th with an RBI single from Travis Maezes. Lexington reliever Matt Ditman started the frame with consecutive strikeouts of Dylan Moore and Tyler Sanchez to bring the 'Dads to the brink of defeat. Altmann turned the game around however on the first pitch of his at-bat, when he launched his first home run of the season over the wall in left to tie the game at 3-3. Hickory kept the rally going with a single by Ti'Quan Forbes followed by a go-ahead, RBI double to right-center from Clark to give the Crawdads their first lead of the game.

The late action overshadowed 6.5 scoreless innings to begin the night for both clubs. Pedro Payano carried the load for the 'Dads with 6 shutout innings pitched on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Lexington meanwhile got 3 scoreless frames from Daniel Concepcion and 2 shutout innings by Franco Terrero.

The Legends finally broke open the goose egg in the bottom of the 7th, when they scored 3 runs on 3 walks, a wild pitch by Hickory reliever Adam Choplick, and an RBI sacrifice fly from D.J. Burt for a 2-0 score. The Crawdads responded in the top of the 8th with two runs of their own to tie the score at 2-2. Clark started the rally with a double to left before Frandy De La Rosa laid down a bunt single to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Clark then came home to score on a wild pitch from Lexington reliever Gabriel Cramer before Yeyson Yrizarri plated the second tally with a sacrifice fly to center.

Lexington quickly re-took the advantage in the bottom of the 8th, this time using a walk from Choplick, two more free passes from reliever Joe Palumbo, and an RBI base knock by Maezes for a 3-2 score. Palumbo settled down after the hit, striking out the last two batters to strand the bases loaded and give the 'Dads a chance. That opened the door for Altmann and Clark to carry the Crawdads to the 4-3 Hickory victory.

Clark paced the Hickory hitters on the night finishing 3-4 with 2 doubles, an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base, while Altmann went 1-4 with his game-tying blast.

Palumbo (3-0) earned the win for the 'Dads with 2 scoreless innings pitched on one hit, two walks, and 3 strikeouts. Ditman (0-1) took the loss for Lexington after allowing the 2 runs in the 9th on three hits and two strikeouts.

The Crawdads (26-12) will now go for the series sweep over the Legends (15-23) Wednesday morning, with first pitch scheduled for 10:05 am.

Sporting News has named Appalachian State University football senior Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula) as college football’s No. 25 running back going into the 2016 season.

Cox is one of only six “Group of Five” conference representatives among Sporting News’ top 25 running backs. Three of the six G5 running backs on the list hail from the Sun Belt Conference— Cox, New Mexico State’s Larry Rose III (No. 11) and Georgia Southern’s Matt Breida (No. 19).

Cox rushed for 1,481 yards in 12 games as a junior last season, good for 13th nationally at 118.6 yards per game. He also ranked among the nation’s leaders in all-purpose yardage (131.92 ypg - 20th), yards per carry (5.86 avg. - 37th) and rushing touchdowns (9 - t-74th). He was named the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Bart Starr MVP after running for 162 yards and a touchdown in Appalachian State’s 31-28 win over Ohio, which capped an 11-2 campaign for the Mountaineers.

With 4,088 career rushing yards, Cox enters 2016 as the nation’s second-leading active rusher, behind only San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey (4,272 yds.). He is also on pace to shatter Appalachian State’s all-time rushing record of 4,804 career yards, set by Kevin Richardson from 2004-07. If Cox maintains his current average of 113.6 yards per game, he will break the school’s all-time rushing record in the 43rd game of his career, 13 less than Richardson’s 56 career contests.

For the fourth time in his collegiate career, Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Kevin Baxter qualified for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The official entry list and schedule of events was released today. Baxter will compete once again in the men’s 110-meter hurdles.

The 2016 NCAA D-II Outdoor Track and Field National Championships will take place in Bradenton, Fla., at the IMG Academy Stadium. The University of Tampa and IMG Academy will serve as co-hosts of the event, which runs from Thursday, May 26, through Saturday, May 28.

Baxter has the seventh-best time in the event nationally this year, clocking a 14.10 on his way to a first-place finish at the Aggie Last Chance meet this past Sunday in Greensboro, N.C. Baxter has won the event four times this spring as well.

Baxter is a two-time NCAA Division II All-American in the event – finishing fourth at the finals in both 2014 and 2015 – and has run as low as 13.81 (High Point University’s VertKlasse Meeting in 2014 but wind-aided).

Baxter holds the school record in the men’s 110-meter hurdles (13.95) and was the 2014 and 2016 South Atlantic Conference Champion.

In addition, Baxter is a two-time NCAA Division II All-American in indoor track and field in the men’s 60-meter hurdles (2013 and 2015).

The preliminaries of the men’s 110-meter hurdles at this year’s national championships are scheduled for 6:40 p.m., on Friday, May 27.

Appalachian State University volleyball’s 2016 freshmen recruiting class was named “High Honorable Mention” for the second consecutive season on Monday by PrepVolleyball.com.

The website announced the top 30 collegiate recruiting classes of 2016 and gave Appalachian the “High Honorable Mention” honor along with 43 other programs.

The Mountaineers’ 2016 recruiting class consists of Taylor Ashcraft (Cumming, Ga./West Forsyth), Mikel Coleman (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison), Sydney Farthing (Boone, N.C./Watauga), Amanda Krahl (Houston, Texas/St.Agnes Academy), Emma Longley (Raleigh, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons) and Kennedy Wilson (Avon, Ind./Avon).

The freshman class will join 2016 transfers Ashlyn Brown (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot/New Mexico State) and Tierney Flaherty (Georgetown, Ind./Floyd Central/Wofford). Although Flaherty played her freshman season at Wofford, she participated on the Appalachian State club volleyball team as a sophomore last season.

Appalachian State was the lone Sun Belt Conference member listed and just two 2016 opponents made the cut –Ohio and Chattanooga.

The 2016 Mountaineers volleyball season kicks off on the weekend of Aug. 26 when they travel to Blacksburg, Va. for a tournament on the campus of Virginia Tech. The Apps will play the host Hokies, as well as, Norfolk State and Siena.

Appalachian State University men’s and women’s cross country head coach Michael Curcio announced the schedule for both squads for the upcoming 2016 season.

The Mountaineers will again open the fall season by hosting the Covered Bridge Open on September 2 beginning at 5 p.m. More than two weeks later, App State will travel to South Carolina for the Winthrop Invitational in Rock Hill (Sept. 17 – 9 a.m.) followed by the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational (Sept. 24 – 10 a.m.) in Earlysville, Va. and the USC Upstate Open in Spartanburg, S.C. (Oct. 1 – 10 a.m.).

Appalachian then heads to Kernersville, N.C. for the Wake Forest Open on October 14 beginning at 5 p.m. The Mountaineers will look to improve upon a second-place finish at the Sun Belt Conference Championships, but this time in Troy, Ala. (Oct. 29 – 11 a.m.).

The Three Stripe Invitational falls on November 5 at 10 a.m. in Cary, N.C. before the NCAA Southeast Regional (Nov. 11 – 11 a.m.) in Earlysville, Va. and the NCAA National Championships (Nov. 27 – 1 p.m.) in Terre Haute, Ind. if App State qualifies.

Appalachian State University women’s track and field student-athlete Kate Butler (Corning, N.Y./Corning Painted Post) has qualified and will compete at the 2016 USA Junior National Championships. The meet is scheduled for June 24-16, 2016 in Clovis, California.

Butler qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a seasons-best time of 11:08.79 - which is good for ninth all-time in the program record book. The women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase is scheduled for day two of of the meet on Saturday, June 25.

Last weekend, Butler placed sixth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:08.79. She also placed 16th in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:52.32.

Appalachian State University men’s track and field student-athlete Brandon Smith (Fayetteville, N.C./Douglas Byrd) has qualified and will compete at the 2016 USA Junior National Championships. The meet is scheduled for June 24-16, 2016 in Clovis, California.

Smith qualified in the 400-meter hurdles and ran a top time this season of 53.76 at the Florida Relays. The men’s 400-meter hurdles are scheduled for day three of the meet on Sunday, June 26.

Last weekend at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships, Smith placed eighth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 54.44.

3A:
Crest: 6
Patton: 5
Panthers seson ends at 14-13

4A:
South Caldwell: 2
Lake Norman: 0
Spartans advance to the fourth round, where they will take on Mooresville or Providence. That contest was postponed to Wednesday.

4A:
Richmond: 8
Alexander Central: 6
Cougars season ends at 25-5.

North Davidson: 9
South Caldwell: 3
Spartans season ends at 20-8.

Appalachian State University volleyball head coach Matt Ginipro announced the addition of two more student-athletes help bolster the roster for the upcoming 2016 campaign on Wednesday. Taylor Ashcraft (Cumming, Ga./West Forsyth) and Tierney Flaherty (Georgetown, Ind./Floyd Central) will officially join the Mountaineer volleyball program.


“It’s a great day when players who can make you better just show up on your doorstep and that’s exactly what happened with Taylor and Tierney,” said Ginipro. “We’re excited to get them in the gym once preseason starts up in August.”


Taylor Ashcraft
5-6 • Defensive Specialist
Cumming, Ga.
West Forsyth

Ashcraft will join the Mountaineers as a true freshman for the upcoming 2016 season. As a senior, Ashcraft accumulated 321 total digs and averaged 6.20 digs per set. She appeared in 107 sets last season and contributed 2.90 kills per set and 2.20 assists per set. Ashcraft also finished with a .280 hitting percentage. In 2015, Ashcraft was named as an all-area first-team, first-team all-county selection.


As a junior, she earned Defensive Player of the Year in region 6AAAAAA, while also recording a second-team all-county selection in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Ashcraft earned a season ace record in 2011 and the season kills mark in 2012 and 2013, while being named Player of the Match 21 times in 2014.


Ginipro’s Comments: “Taylor will be another good addition to our ball control group. We put a huge emphasis on first ball contact and having a big defensive specialist group will only make our practice gym more competitive. Taylor comes in with some good experience and will help make our corps of defensive specialists stronger.”


Tierney Flaherty
6-0 • Outside Hitter
Georgetown, Ind.
Floyd Central
Wofford

Currently a sophomore on the Appalachian State University’s women’s club volleyball team, Flaherty played her freshman season at Wofford during the 2014 season. While at Wofford, Flaherty saw action in 26 matches and made two starts, while participating in 54 total sets. Flaherty accumulated 12 kills and 12 services aces as a Terrier. She also posted 22 digs and four blocks during her freshman campaign.


Before her lone season at Wofford Flaherty was a three-year letterwinner at Floyd Central High School where she led them to a 75-32 (.701) record in three seasons, as well as conference, sectional and regional championships as a senior. She took Floyd Central to the final elite eight of the Indiana State tournament and was selected to the Class 4A Indiana All-Star Team and all-Hoosier Hills conference team as a senior in 2013. During her senior campaign, Flaherty racked up 234 kills and was selected as an academic all-state volleyball player. She was also a member of National Honor Society.


Ginipro’s Comments: “Tierney will add some much needed depth to our pin hitter group and I was very happy when she came into the office to say she wanted to join the team. She was excited for the opportunity to play D-1 volleyball again and she absolutely fits in with our group personality-wise. Tierney has good size and comes from a great high school and club background, so I don’t think it will take her long to adjust back to the college game.”

The Hickory Crawdads kicked off their week-long road trip with a display of power Monday night, as the 'Dads bats slugged two home runs and the pitchers struck out 12 batters in an 8-2 win over the Lexington Legends at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

Andy Ibanez and Yeyson Yrizarri provided the pop from the plate with each batter launching solo homers, while pitchers Brett Martin and John Werner collected 8 and 6 strikeouts respectively to silence the Legends lineup. The win improved the Crawdads South Atlantic League-best record to 25-12 on the year, and kept them a half game ahead of Hagerstown in the Northern Division.

Ibanez got the 'Dads night off on the right foot in the 1st inning, when the Cuban slugger crushed a solo home run to left to give Hickory a 1-0 lead. Lexington quickly came back in the bottom of the inning though, as D.J. Burt walked to start the frame and eventually scored on a double play groundout to tie the score at 1-1.

The Crawdads re-took the lead in the 3rd when Chris Garia reached on an infield single and stole second base before coming home to score on a 2-out, RBI single to right by Tyler Sanchez for a 2-1 score. The advantage stretched to 3-1 in the top of the 4th, as LeDarious Clark doubled with one out, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a throwing error by Legends catcher Chase Vallot.

Lexington narrowed the deficit in the 4th when Ben Johnson connected on a solo shot to left that made the score 3-2, but Hickory pulled away from there with 5 unanswered runs. Yrizarri came through with his solo homer to left in the 6th for a 4-2 'Dads lead, while Sanchez walked, advanced twice on wild pitches, and scored on an Yrizarri sacrifice fly in the 8th for a 5-2 score.

Hickory then put the game away in the 9th, with three runs scoring on 4 walks and a hit to give the Crawdads an 8-2 lead. Frandy De La Rosa and Eric Jenkins both walked to begin the frame, while Dylan Moore drew a 2-out free pass to load the bases and Sanchez garnered an RBI walk that forced in the first run. Josh Altmann followed with a 2-RBI double to left to drive in the final tallies in the 8-2 Hickory victory.

Yrizarri finished the night 1-4 with his 2nd home run of the year and 2 RBI, while Ibanez went 1-5 with his 3rd long ball. Sanchez led the 'Dads bats on the night, going 2-2 with 2 RBI, 3 walks, a double, and a run scored.

All the offense backed up a solid pitching effort from Martin and Werner, who held Lexington to 2 runs on 8 hits. Martin (2-2) earned the win with 2 runs allowed on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 8 strikeouts over 5.1 innings pitched, while Werner (2) picked up the save after throwing 3.2 scoreless frames on 2 hits, one walk, and 6 Ks. Legends starter Scott Blewett (2-4) took the loss after giving up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts over 6 IP.

The Crawdads (25-12) and Legends (15-22) will play again Tuesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.

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