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Monday, 16 May 2016 08:40

Crawdads Lose in 19 Inning Marathon

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The Hickory Crawdads and Rome Braves were mired in an offensive drought Sunday afternoon, as the two clubs were tied at 1-1 after 2 innings only to have the score remain the same for the next 16 frames. Both teams scored in the 18th but it was the Braves who broke the game open in the 19th with a 7 run outburst to hand the 'Dads a 9-2, 19-inning defeat at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The 19-inning marathon took 5 hours and 27 minutes to complete, both season highs for the Crawdads. The two clubs combined to use 10 pitchers with 273 combined pitches thrown, but it wasn't until first baseman Dylan Moore was forced into relief for the 'Dads in the top of the 19th that Rome was able to break open the score.

Hickory scored their one regulation run in the bottom of the 1st, when Eric Jenkins singled to center, stole both second and third base, and eventually scored on a fielding error by Braves shortstop Alejandro Salazar for a 1-0 'Dads lead. Rome responded in the top of the 2nd with a double by Josh Ellison, a single from Lucas Herbert, and a double steal with Ellison coming home to tie the score at 1-1.

The offenses dried up from there, with neither team scoring a run for the next 16 innings. Crawdads starting pitcher Peter Fairbanks set the tone with his best outing of the season, with 1 run allowed on 7 hits, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts over 6 innings pitched. He was succeeded by Blake Bass (2 scoreless IP, 2 K) and Jeffrey Springs (3 scoreless IP, 5 K), before Omarlin Lopez struck out a career-best 8 batters over a career-high 5 scoreless innings of relief.

The 'Dads then turned to the newly acquired Matt Ball, who joined Hickory from Kannapolis as the result of a trade between the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox. Ball put up a scoreless 17th before the Braves finally ended the streak of zeroes in the 18th when Leudys Baez singled to start the inning and eventually scored on a throwing error by Hickory third baseman Frandy De La Rosa to give Rome a 2-1 advantage.

The Crawdads refused to quit however, as the 'Dads responded in the bottom of the 18th with a run of their own to tie the score at 2-2 and keep the game going. Tyler Sanchez started the rally with a hit-by-pitch before De La Rosa walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch by Braves reliever Bladimir Matos. One out later, Jenkins came through with a game-tying, RBI fielder's choice. Hickory had a chance to win the game in the 18th as well when the club loaded the bases with one out, but a line out to center by Moore and a groundout from LeDarious Clark left the 3 men on the bases and sent the contest to the 19th.

The Braves then broke open the score in the 19th when the 'Dads ran out of pitchers and were forced to send Moore to the mound as an emergency reliever. The normal infielder allowed a leadoff single to Juan Yepez before getting a fly out to right from Justin Ellison. The inning collapsed from there however, as errors by De La Rosa at third, Andy Ibanez at second, and Clark in right opened the door for Rome to score 7 unearned runs for the 9-2 final score.

Moore (0-1) took the loss for the Crawdads with 7 unearned runs allowed on 7 hits over his 1 inning on the mound. Matos (1-1) earned the win for the Braves with 1 run allowed over his 2 IP.

The loss gave the Crawdads (24-12) a 4-game series split against the Braves (13-23). The 'Dads will now head to Lexington for a 3-game series against the Legends, with first pitch on Monday scheduled for 7:05 pm.

At the conclusion of day three, Appalachian State University women’s track and field finished fourth at the Sun Belt Championships this weekend.

Tristin Van Ord (Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill) won her second event of the weekend in the 5,000-meters with a time of 17:00.04. Right behind Van Ord was teammate Samantha Campanaro (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mt. Tabor) who took second with a time of 17:02.98.

In the 800-meter run, Shelby Howell (Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover) tallied a second-place finish with a season-best time of 2:10.34. Also with a second-place finish was Darlene Girardeau (Hope MIlls, N.C./South View/North Carolina Central) in the 100-meter dash. Girardeau ran a time of 11.76 - equaling her personal-best.

The Mountaineers placed three in the 1,500-meter run on Sunday. Elisa Sargent (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) took fifth in the race with a personal-best time of 4:38.35. Torre Moser (Cary, N.C./Apex) finished sixth with a time of 4:38.38, while Hana Ratcliffe (Durham, N.C./Durham School of the Arts) placed eighth with a time of 4:39.23.

App State’s 4x100-meter relay team consisting of Imani Chapman, Catherine Crawford (Gastonia, N.C./Forestview), Micah Hanks (Yorktown, Va./Tabb) and Girardeau claimed a seventh-place finish with a season-best time of 46.49.

Chelsey Hargrave (McLeansville, N.C./Williams) took seventh in the triple jump with a distance of 40-0. In the discus, India McWhorter (Stony Point, N.C./Alexander Central) placed seventh with a personal-best throw of 154-7.

To close the evening, the 4x400-meter relay team made up of Chapman, Crawford, Hanks and Howell took eighth with a season-best time of 3:50.66.

Appalachian State University men’s track and field wrapped up the Sun Belt Championships third day on Sunday.

Stanley Broaden (Wilmington, N.C./Eugene Ashley) won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.67 and also took second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.04. Broaden’s time in the 400 hurdles was a personal-best and good for second all-time in program history. The time is also marked as ninth-best in the NCAA East Region and 16th in the country.

Also placing in the 400 hurdles was Brandon Smith (Fayetteville, N.C./Douglas Byrd) with a time of 54.44 in eighth.

Michael Ellis (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mt. Tabor) joined Broaden as a Sun Belt champion in the 5,000-meter run. Ellis won the race by over six seconds with a time of 14:35.47.

In the 800-meter run, Ryan Hastings (Matthews, N.C./Porter Ridge) placed third with time of 1:51.21. William Buckley (Durham, N.C./East Chapel Hill) placed fifth in the 100-meter dash with a season-best time of 10.46.

Phillip Thomas (Cary, N.C./Cary) provided a big third-place finish in the pole vault with a personal-best height of 16-9.25 - good for second all-time in program history. Evan Georges (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) finished fifth in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:57.58.

App State’s 4x100-meter relay team consisting of Russell Price (Charlotte, N.C./Rocky River), Antonio Marcano Jr. (St. Louis, Mo./Metro Acadeimcaid), Buckley and Marshall McRae (Red Springs, N.C./Red Springs) took sixth with a time of 40.86. To close things out, the 4x400-meter relay team of Broaden, Hastings, Andrew Spear (Newport, N.C./West Carteret) and Smith finished fifth with a time of 3:16.68.

Sunday, 15 May 2016 23:19

CVCC Baseball Falls in Region Tournament

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Catawba Valley Community College baseball allowed Patrick Henry Community College to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the eight inning to break a 5-5 tie and defeat CVCC 7-5.

Ty Andrus went two-for-three with a run scored. Craig Zalewa went one-for-four with a run scoed and two RBI.

CVCC had grabbed an early 4-0 lead but could not hold on in the end.

CVCC season ends in the region tournament with a 30-25 record.

Four runs after Appalachian State University baseball appeared to get out of the top of the fifth inning proved to be the difference in a 7-5 loss to UT Arlington on Sunday afternoon at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.

With the game tied at 2-2 and two outs in the top of the fifth inning, Appalachian State starting pitcher Colin Schmid (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) struck out UT Arlington’s Christian Hollie for what would have been the final out of the inning. However, the third strike was a breaking ball that skipped away from App State catcher Chandler Seagle (New Bern, N.C./New Bern). Seagle quickly chased down the loose ball and fired a throw to first base but the speedy Hollie was called safe on the bang-bang play and the inning continued.

The ruling proved to be a big one, as a walk, an RBI double and a three-run homer by Colton Turner followed the disputed play and what would have been a 2-2 game turned into a 6-2 UTA advantage.

UT Arlington extended the lead to 7-2 in the top of the sixth but, as it has done all season, App State (15-36, 9-21 Sun Belt) refused to roll over and quit. After the Mavericks stretched their advantage to five runs in the top of the sixth, the Mountaineers responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. An RBI double by freshman Tanner Mann-Fix (Charlotte, N.C./Olympic), a sacrifice fly by Seagle and an RBI single by freshman Beau Myers (Thomasville, N.C./Wesleyan Christian Academy) accounted for the three runs that cut Appalachian State’s deficit to 7-5.

Thanks to strong relief performances by Appalachian State’s Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and UT Arlington’s Dylan Schneider, the score remained 7-5 until the bottom of the ninth.

After Drake Zupcic (Waxhaw, N.C./Cuthbertson) led off the bottom of the ninth with a pinch-hit single, Tyler Stroup (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) dribbled the first pitch of the next at-bat up the first-base line. UTA first baseman Noah Vaughan made a diving stop in front of the bag and appeared to react as though he believed that the ball was foul. However, it was ruled fair and, after starting to get to his feet slowly at first, Vaughan had to quickly scamper to the bag to record the first out of the inning.

Appalachian State head coach Billy Jones came out of the dugout to appeal to the first-base umpire that he ask for help with the call from his partner at home plate. The request to ask for assistance was denied and the call stood.

The Mountaineers wound up bringing the winning run to the plate with two outs but UTA third baseman R.J. Williams made a nice play on Grayson Atwood’s (Mt. Pleasant, N.C./Mt. Pleasant) hot shot up the third-base line and threw across the diamond for the final out of the game.

Seagle led Appalachian State’s offensive effort by going 2-for-3 with a career-high three RBI. In addition to the sac fly in the sixth, Seagle also hit the first home run of his career, a game-tying two-run blast in the fourth. Mann-Fix also had two hits for the Mountaineers.

Turner went 3-for-5 with four RBI to pace UT Arlington (28-24, 14-13 Sun Belt).

Although it fell short of its ultimate goal of qualifying for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, Appalachian State won more conference games (nine) and series (three) this season than it did in its first season in the ultra-competitive league. The Mountaineers could return as many as 25 letterwinners, including eight starters and their entire pitching rotation, in 2017.

Appalachian State closes the season next weekend with a three-game non-conference series versus Longwood (30-22, 14-10 Big South). Game times are set for 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday at Smith Stadium.

Facing elimination the Catawba Valley Community College turned in the game they needed with the offense producing 8 runs on 17 hits and starting pitcher Aaron Biggerstaff throwing a gem. Biggerstaff threw the first 8.0 innings only giving up 2 runs, both runs unearned, on 3 hits with only 2 walks and 10 strikeouts. Mason Doub came in the bottom of the ninth and gave up 1 run on 2 hits with 1 strikeout in an 8-3 win over Pasco-Hernando Community College.

The Red Hawks offense was led by Ty Andrus and Chris Stiles who both logged 4 hits apiece. Andrus hit a double and had 3 rbi while Stiles scored 3 runs and knocked in 1 rbi. Craig Zalewa, Brandon Ford and Seth Hubbard each had a 2 hit game. Zalewa had a two run homerun to score 1 run and 2 rbi while Ford had a double and scored on 2 runs.

The Red Hawks were able to strike first scoring three runs in the top of the second. An infield single legged out by Stiles scored Ford from third who reached with a leadoff double to start the inning. With two outs a Painton and Andrus single eached scored a run to give the Red Hawks a 3-0 lead. Andrus was able to plate two more runs with a little deja vu scoring Stiles with a hit in the fourth and again scoring Stiles with a hit in the sixth.

With a 5-0 lead heading into the sixth two errors allowed Pasco to plate two runs, both were unearned for Biggerstaff. However, after giving up the two runs the Red Hawks bats answered with a Zalewa 2 run homerun over the left field fence in the seventh inning and a solo shot by Randal Ortiz over the right field fence in the eighth.

The Red Hawks will play their third elimination game and second of the day when they face #1 Patrick Henry at 7:00pm tonight.

Sunday, 15 May 2016 23:07

Hickory Crawdads Edge out Rome Braves

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The Hickory Crawdads found themselves in a back-and-forth slugfest against the visiting Rome Braves Saturday night, with the 'Dads landing the final big blow as a 3-run 7th inning lifted Hickory to an 8-7 win in front of 3,486 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads and Braves combined 15 runs, 23 hits, 9 extra-base hits, 4 lead changes, and 3 innings with 3 or more runs scored on the night. Rome came out swinging first with 3 runs in the 3rd, 2 in the 6th, and single tallies in the 7th and 8th frames, while Hickory responded with 1 run in the 4th, 4 in the 5th, and 3 in the 7th to finish with their highest run output in nearly two weeks.

All 9 Hickory hitters finished the game reaching base safely at least once, with 6 batters scoring a run and four separate players collecting two RBI. Ninth place batter Frandy De La Rosa led the charge with a 2-3 night including 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Chris Garia went 1-4 with a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Andy Ibanez finished 1-3 with 2 RBI, and Dylan Moore completed the game 1-3 with a double and 2 RBI.

It was the visiting Braves who got on the scoreboard first, as Rome got to 'Dads starter Dillon Tate for 3 runs on 4 hits, including 3 doubles, for a 3-0 lead. Yeudi Grullon started the rally with a double to right before Luke Dykstra delivered an RBI single and both Juan Yepez and Justin Ellison knocked in runs with consecutive doubles.

Hickory got on the board and cut their deficit to 3-1 in the 4th, with a triple by Eric Jenkins and an RBI base knock from Ibanez. The Crawdads then erupted for 4 runs in the 5th to take their first lead of the night at 5-3. Josh Altmann and Ti'Quan Forbes started the frame with consecutive singles, before Chuck Moorman advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt and De La Rosa delivered a 2-RBI single to left. Garia followed with an opposite field, 2-run homer to right for his third long ball of the season and a 1-run 'Dads lead.

Rome came right back in the top of the 6th, as the Braves used errors by both De La Rosa at second base and Garia in left field to score 2 unearned runs and tie the score at 5-5. Rome then re-took the lead in the top of the 7th with three straight singles by Dykstra, Jonathan Morales, and Yepez combining to put the Braves on top 6-5.

The 'Dads had one last big frame in them however, as the home team came through for 3 runs, 2 earned, on two hits, two walks, and an error in the bottom of the 7th to take an 8-6 lead. Moorman and De La Rosa both reached on a walk and bunt single respectively to start the rally, before Garia laid down a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed by Braves reliever Taylor Lewis to load the bases with nobody out. One out later, Ibanez drew a walk that forced in a run and tied the score. The next man up was Moore, who gave Hickory the advantage with a 2-RBI single to right.

The Braves refused to go down quietly, with a hit-by-pitch and an RBI double from Dykstra cutting the score to 8-7 in the 8th. Rome then led off the 9th with a double by Yepez to put the tying run in scoring position. Crawdads reliever Joe Palumbo stopped the rally there however with a strikeout and two fly outs for an 8-7 Hickory victory.

'Dads reliever Adam Choplick (1-0) earned the win with 1 run allowed on 3 hits, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts over his 1 inning pitched, while Braves bullpen arm Taylor Lewis (0-3) took the loss after giving up three runs on three hits, two walks, and 1 K over 2 IP. Palumbo recorded his team-leading 5th save after closing out the game with 1 run allowed over 2 IP.

The Crawdads (24-11) will go for the series win over the Braves (12-23) Sunday afternoon, with first pitch of the series finale scheduled for 3:00 pm.

Hickory Motor Speedway
Race Results for 5/14/2016

Late Model - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 5C Dexter Canipe, Jr. Conover, NC
2 17M Ryan Millington Statesville, NC
3 87 Hayden Woods Piney Flats, TN
4 12G Andrew Garcia Eagle Pass TX, NC
5 07H Hayden Humphrey Cornelius, NC
6 18P Casey Pierce Lenoir, NC

Late Model - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 5C Dexter Canipe, Jr. Conover, NC
2 18P Casey Pierce Lenoir, NC
3 17M Ryan Millington Statesville, NC
4 87 Hayden Woods Piney Flats, TN
5 07H Hayden Humphrey Cornelius, NC
6 12G Andrew Garcia Eagle Pass TX, NC

Limited Late Model - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 18S Evan Swilling Cohutta, GA
2 29 Mitch Walker Newton, NC
3 34 Pat Rachels China Grove, NC
4 9 Charlie Watson Lenoir, NC
5 2C Chase Cabre Tampa, FL
6 11 Dillon Houser Hildebran, NC
7 11C Dawson Cram Mooresville, NC
8 23D Brendan Doyle Harrisburg, NC
9 21 Monty Cox Granite Falls, NC
10 3D Dylan Oliver Stanley, NC
11 51 Jeremy Pelfrey Lenoir, NC
12 88S Jason Smith Claremont, NC
13 43 Greg Wise Candler, NC
14 77G Lexi Gay Canton, GA
15 41 Dennis Trivette Newton, NC
16 47P Kenneth Pardue Millers Creek, NC DNS

Limited Late Model - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 51 Jeremy Pelfrey Lenoir, NC
2 21 Monty Cox Granite Falls, NC
3 18S Evan Swilling Cohutta, GA
4 29 Mitch Walker Newton, NC
5 11 Dillon Houser Hildebran, NC
6 34 Pat Rachels China Grove, NC
7 2C Chase Cabre Tampa, FL
8 23D Brendan Doyle Harrisburg, NC
9 9 Charlie Watson Lenoir, NC
10 88S Jason Smith Claremont, NC
11 11C Dawson Cram Mooresville, NC
12 3D Dylan Oliver Stanley, NC
13 43 Greg Wise Candler, NC
14 41 Dennis Trivette Newton, NC
15 77G Lexi Gay Canton, GA
16 47P Kenneth Pardue Millers Creek, NC

Renegades - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 8 Kenneth Roberts Hickory, NC
2 4 Gregory Austin Granite Falls, NC
3 68 Steve Griffith Morganton, NC
4 71 Kyle Divanna Statesville, NC
5 69 Ben Campbell Hudson, NC
6 97 Danny Crump, Jr. Morganton, NC
7 83 David Hasson Newton, NC
8 6N Charlie Neill Hickory, NC

Renegades - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 8 Kenneth Roberts Hickory, NC
2 83 David Hasson Newton, NC
3 6N Charlie Neill Hickory, NC
4 68 Steve Griffith Morganton, NC
5 71 Kyle Divanna Statesville, NC
6 97 Danny Crump, Jr. Morganton, NC
7 69 Ben Campbell Hudson, NC
8 4 Gregory Austin Granite Falls, NC DNS

Street Stocks - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 10T Kevin Townsend Lenoir, NC
2 3 Kevin Eby Lenior, NC
3 7 Eric Evans Mooresville, NC
4 64 Marshall Sutton Burnsville, NC
5 32J Jeremy Harrell Newton, NC
6 52 Don Machutta Mooresville, NC
7 77P Mark Whitten Hogtown, VA, VA
8 69 Trey Buff Hickory, NC
9 18D Cody DeMarmels Newton, NC
10 31 Wayne Edwards Denver, NC

Street Stocks - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 10T Kevin Townsend Lenoir, NC
2 3 Kevin Eby Lenior, NC
3 18D Cody DeMarmels Newton, NC
4 77P Mark Whitten Hogtown, VA, VA
5 7 Eric Evans Mooresville, NC
6 32J Jeremy Harrell Newton, NC
7 31 Wayne Edwards Denver, NC
8 52 Don Machutta Mooresville, NC
9 64 Marshall Sutton Burnsville, NC
10 69 Trey Buff Hickory, NC

Super Trucks - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 09P Christian PaHud Harrisburg, NC
2 51 Allen Huffman Hickory, NC
3 36D Tyler Dayton Mooresville, NC
4 15C Sheflon Clay Asheville, NC
5 6F Jonathan Fleming Hendersonville, NC
6 30 Joey Shuryan Dearborn, MI
7 45 Tanner Long Kernersville, NC
8 5J Johnny James Clemmons, SC
9 15 Dennis Hinkle Hickory, NC

Super Trucks - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 36D Tyler Dayton Mooresville, NC
2 51 Allen Huffman Hickory, NC
3 09P Christian PaHud Harrisburg, NC
4 15C Sheflon Clay Asheville, NC
5 30 Joey Shuryan Dearborn, MI
6 6F Jonathan Fleming Hendersonville, NC
7 45 Tanner Long Kernersville, NC
8 15 Dennis Hinkle Hickory, NC
9 5J Johnny James Clemmons, SC DNS

After a thrilling ninth-inning rally to bring Appalachian State University baseball back even with UT Arlington, the Mountaineers’ (15-35, 9-20 Sun Belt) bullpen ran out of gas in the 10th, giving up five runs and falling in game two to the Mavericks (27-24, 13-13 Sun Belt), 8-3.

App State trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. Grayson Atwood (Mt. Pleasant, N.C./Mt. Pleasant) (North Carolina) started the rally with a single through the left side of the infield. Colin Schmid (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) followed up with a single to put the tying run on base. After Conner Leonard (Winston-Salem, N.C./Reagan) grounded out to move the runners over to second and third, Tanner Mann-Fix (Charlotte, N.C./Olympic) hit a chopper down the first baseline and beat the first baseman to the bag.

Mann-Fix’s RBI single cut the lead to one run and brought Chandler Seagle (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) up to the plate with two outs. Seagle came through with a clutch hit to left field that allowed Schmid to score and tie the game at 3-3. With only one out and two men on base, the Apps were in prime position for another walk-off win at Smith Stadium but pinch-hitter Parker Henderson (Harrisburg, N.C./Hickory Ridge) grounded into a double play to send the game into extra innings.

In the top of the tenth inning, the Appalachian State short-handed bullpen ran out of steam after pitching 12.1 innings over the past two games. Luke Watts (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) pitched well in relief of starter Breydan Gorham (Burlington, N.C./Western Alamance). Watts got the Apps out of a jam in the fifth inning and went on to pitch 4.1 innings with three strikeouts and gave up just one run on one hit.

Reed Howell (Goldsboro, N.C./Rosewood), who pitched three scoreless innings in Friday’s game, came in for Watts in the 10th after UTA led off with a double. Howell was unable to limit the damage, only getting two outs and giving up four runs. Travis Holden (Advance, N.C./West Forsyth) entered to get the final out. Matt Vernon (Advance, N.C./Davie County) (Florence-Darlington Tech) recorded the Apps only hit in the 10th.

Like in game one, the Mountaineers took an early lead over UTA. Leonard launched his second homer of the season over the center-field wall in the second inning.

The Mavericks pushed into the lead on a controversial call in the fifth inning. After a ground-rule double drove in the tying run and put a man on third, Quinti Rohrbaugh hit a fly ball to left field. It appeared to the Mountaineers that the runner on third took off for home plate before Tyler Stroup (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) had caught ball. App State appealed to third base but its appeal was denied by the third-base umpire and the run stood.

Had the appeal gone the Mountaineers way, Gorham would have gotten out of the inning with only one run in. Instead, the next UTA batter hit an RBI single, giving the Mavericks a 3-1 lead and ended Gorham’s day.

Vernon (3-for-5), Mann-Fix (2-for-3), and Schmid (2-for-4) powered the App State offense on the day, combining for seven of the Apps 11 hits.

The Mountaineers will be back in action tomorrow at Smith Stadium for the third and final game of the series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.

Appalachian State earned additional recognition among its Group of Five peers earlier this week when defensive back Latrell Gibbs (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb) was named one of five “Group of Five Players to Know for 2016” by Athlon.

A first-team all-Sun Belt selection in 2015, Gibbs led the conference and ranked seventh nationally with seven interceptions as a sophomore last season. He returned a pickoff 91 yards for a touchdown to spark App State’s Oct. 3 win over Wyoming and had a pivotal interception in the Mountaineers’ 31-28 Camellia Bowl triumph over Ohio. He also broke up 12 passes during his brilliant sophomore campaign.

Gibbs is joined on Athlon author Lance Dozier’s list by Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens, San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey, Houston linebacker Steven Taylor and Western Kentucky wide receiver Taywan Taylor.

After falling in the first round matchup of the Region X/Southeast district tournament in Burlington, NC the Catawba Valley Community Colelge baseball team used 20 hits to post 23 runs for a 23-0 win over #8 seed New River, invoking the run rule after 5 innings. Pitcher Omar Bautista pitched a complete game allowing no runs on 3 hits and throwing 8 strikeouts, walking no one while facing 18 batters for New River.

On the offensive side the bats were alive with 5 hitters collecting multi hit games and 9 players garnering at least 1 hit. The offense was led by Brandon Ford who hit for the cycle going 5-5 including a 3 run homerun. Ford knocked in 7 rbi and scored 4 runs while grabbing 11 total bases.Craig Zalewa posted a 4 hit day with 5 rbi and 3 runs. Zalewa hit a 3 run homerun in the 4th along with a double. Channing Painton went 3-4 with 2 runs and 2 rbi while Randal Ortiz and AaronMauldin each logged two hits.

The Red Hawks were able to produce offense early scoring 5 runs in the first and 2 in the second. After being shutout in the 3rd inning the Red Hawks batters logged 21 plate appearances and knocked in 16 runs including the two 3 run homeruns by Ford and Zalewa in the bottom of the fourth. In the same inning Ford had 3 at bats hitting a single, double and homerun to complete the cycle after logging a triple in the 2nd inning.

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