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The Hickory Crawdads recent skid continued Thursday night against the Rome Braves, as the 'Dads rally in the eighth inning came up just short resulting in a 5-3 loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads entered the eighth trailing the Braves 4-1 before an RBI single by Josh Altmann and an RBI fielder's choice groundout from LeDarious Clark cut the deficit to 4-3. Ricky Valencia then stepped to the plate representing the go-ahead run, but Rome reliever Jon Kennedy escaped the jam with a groundout to strand the tying run at second base.

The game began as a pitcher's duel between Joe Palumbo for Hickory and Mike Soroka for Rome. The Crawdads jumped out to a quick lead in the bottom of the first, when Clark doubled off the center field fence before Valencia lined a two-out, RBI single to right to give the 'Dads a 1-0 advantage. The Braves countered in the third, with an RBI groundout by Ray-Patrick Didder tying the contest at 1-1.

The score remained deadlocked until the fifth, when Rome rallied for three runs on a 2-RBI double by Austin Riley and an RBI base knock from Jonathan Morales to put the road team ahead 4-1. Hickory reliever Omarlin Lopez kept the game close from there with three shutout innings spanning the sixth through the eighth.

That gave the 'Dads a chance to rally in the bottom of the eighth, as Sherman Lacrus reached on a one-out, infield single, Eric Jenkins walked, and Altmann delivered an RBI base knock to left. Clark followed with his RBI groundout to bring the Crawdads to within a run with a 4-3 deficit at the end of the inning.

The Braves were able to pick up an insurance run in the top of the ninth however on a solo home run by Riley, before Rome closer Josh Graham sat Hickory down in order in the home half to finish off the 5-3 'Dads defeat.

Palumbo (6-5) took the loss for the Crawdads after giving up four runs on seven hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over his five innings pitched. Soroka (6-9) earned the win for the Braves with a career-high 7.1 innings pitched including three runs allowed on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Graham (6) recorded the save for his perfect ninth inning.

Clark paced the 'Dads bats with a 1-4 game including a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Both Altmann and Valencia finished 1-4 with an RBI, while Yeyson Yrizarri went 1-4 with a double.

The Crawdads (24-22/62-54) have now lost four straight games heading into Friday night's second contest against the Braves (26-21/53-63), with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

The Hickory Crawdads' struggles against the Augusta GreenJackets continued for a third straight night Wednesday, as the visiting 'Jackets finished off their series sweep over the 'Dads in an 8-0 Hickory loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads offense was held off the board for the second time in the three game set, with the 'Dads bats ending the series with two runs scored over 27 total innings. The lack of offense spoiled solid work by Hickory starting pitcher Luke Lanphere as well as yet another dominant relief outing from Adam Choplick, who stretched his scoreless innings streak to 12 with three shutout frames on the night.

The evening began with three scoreless innings for both teams, as Lanphere and Augusta starter Matt Solter cruised through the early frames. The GreenJackets were able to break through in the fourth, with three runs scoring on a solo home run by Jalen Miller, an RBI groundout from Matt Pare, and an RBI single off the bat of Skylar Ewing to give the visiting team a 3-0 lead.

The 'Jackets picked up another run off of Lanphere on another solo homer in the sixth, with Pare's big fly to right field putting Augusta up by four. The close game then got away from the Crawdads in the seventh, as the GreenJackets jumped on newly promoted right-handed reliever Tyler Ferguson for four runs on four walks and two hits to take the 8-0 advantage they would go on to win by.

Lanphere (1-1) took the loss for the 'Dads after allowing four runs on eight hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over six innings pitched, while Solter (4-3) earned the win for Augusta with seven shutout frames pitched on three hits, two walks, and five strikeouts.

Eric Jenkins finished the night as the only Hickory batter with a multi-hit game after going 2-4, while Sherman Lacrus went 1-3 with a walk.

The Crawdads (24-21/62-53) remain just two games back of first place Lakewood in the Northern Division standings as they remain home for a four game series vs. the Rome Braves, with first pitch Thursday night scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Appalachian State field hockey head coach Meghan Dawson announced the field hockey schedule on Wednesday. The 16-game schedule includes nine home games and seven road tests for the Mountaineers. This will be the last season App will compete as Independent before competing in Mid-American Conference play for the 2017 season.

Appalachian will begin their campaign with two exhibition matches against Liberty on August 15 and Limestone on August 21. The Black and Gold will commence their 2016 slate with two-straight home games versus Ball State (Aug. 26) and Georgetown (Aug. 28).

“Knowing that we are going into the MAC next year for the 2017 season, we are playing four of the teams in the conference, which will give us a good idea of the areas we need to work on,” said second-year head coach Dawson. “This season we will continue to play top ranked teams to help us get used to a higher paced game that will test our fitness and basics.”

The field hockey squad will encounter six teams ranked in last year’s RPI top 30—No. 2 UNC, No. 8 Wake Forest, No. 12 Louisville, No. 18 James Madison, No. 27 Miami (OH), and No. 29 Pacific. On the home slate, the Mountaineers will host four-straight games in Boone in September, including a battle on Brandon & Erica M Adcock Field against the 2016 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Louisville on September 25.

On the road, five out of the seven matches will be against top 30 competitors and of those, two qualified for last year’s NCAA tournament. Their road trip begins with two back-to-back away games against JMU (Sept. 2) in Harrisonburg, Va. and LIU Brooklyn (Sept. 4) in Davidson, N.C. In early October, the ladies match up against Davidson (Sept. 30) and Pacific (Oct. 1) and end the season with two-straight away games versus Wake Forest (Oct. 28) and the 2016 NCAA Runner Up UNC on the eve of Halloween (Oct. 30).

“I’m excited for the fall season to start and get our team back together to start practicing and competing,” said Dawson about the season ahead. “ We have got a large group coming to App this fall which will give us a chance to continue building our culture and developing our on field chemistry.”

The Hickory Crawdads had little trouble producing hits against the visiting Augusta GreenJackets Tuesday night, but the 'Dads 11 base knocks translated to only two runs as Hickory left 10 men on base in a 7-2 loss to the 'Jackets at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Eight of the 10 Crawdads batters collected at least one hit on the night, with Josh Altmann going 3-5 and Sherman Lacrus finishing 2-4. The double-digit hits were minimized by the Augusta pitching staff however, which stretched their streak of consecutive scoreless innings pitched to 17 before finally surrendering a pair of runs in the ninth.

The game began with three scoreless frames for both squads before the GreenJackets got on the board against Hickory starting pitcher Emerson Martinez in the fourth by scoring two runs, one earned, for a 2-0 lead. That would be all the runs Martinez would allow, and reliever Jacob Shortslef followed with a scoreless inning in the sixth before Augusta shortstop Jalen Miller lined a solo home run to left in the seventh to make the score 3-0.

The 'Jackets were able to pull away from the 'Dads with four more tallies in the fourth, with all four runs coming against converted major league outfielder James Jones, who allowed four runs on four hits over 0.2 IP in his Crawdads debut. The Crawdads were able to avoid the shutout with a rally in the ninth that saw Yeyson Yrizarri single, Ti'Quan Fobes walk, and Lacrus line a base hit to center field before Eric Jenkins knocked in a pair of runs on an RBI single. That would be as close as the home team would get though, as GreenJackets reliever Cesar Yanez closed the door to finish off the 7-2 'Dads defeat.

Martinez (0-3) took the loss for Hickory after allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits, three walks, and one strikeout over five innings pitched. Augusta starter Domenic Mazza (5-2) earned the win with six scoreless innings on six hits, one walk, and six strikeouts.

The Crawdads (24-20/62-52) will try to salvage the final game of their 3-game series vs. the GreenJackets (27-17/63-51) Wednesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Appalachian State Univeristy head baseball coach Kermit Smith announced the addition of Britt Johnson as an assistant coach on Tuesday.

“Britt is an elite recruiter and has shown the ability to identify not only talent but character as well,” Smith said. “I am fortunate to have someone that I am so familiar with and is familiar with me joining our staff. He exemplifies qualities that make him not only a great coach but a great husband and friend. He is a shining star in our profession. We are so excited for Britt and Sam to be joining the App State family!”

Johnson joins Appalachian after spending six years with coach Smith at Lander University. He started as a volunteer coach and then was promoted after three years to a full-time assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Johnson also coached infielders and assisted with hitters, while spending time as third-base coach. Johnson was with Smith during Lander’s two Division II College World Series trips over the past three seasons.

“Samantha and I are very excited to be joining such a great University, program, and community,” Johnson said. “We are thrilled to become sold out to Appalachian State and blessed to be part of such a strong academic and athletic institution. I can’t wait to meet our team and get to work.”

In his time as recruiting coordinator, Lander had seven student-athletes drafted by Major League Baseball teams and two sign free agent deals. He helped bring in six All-Americans and 13 Peach Belt All-Conference selections, including eight infielders. In 2014, Johnson’s entire infield was named all-conference selections.

Prior to Lander, Johnson spent two years as an assistant baseball and football coach at Nash Central High School in Rocky Mount, N.C. He also acted as the strength and conditioning coach for all varsity sports.

He graduated in 2007 from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise sports science. While at ECU, Johnson played football as a long snapper under head coach Skip Holtz.

Johnson grew up in Rocky Mount, N.C., where he played both baseball and football in high school. He joins the Appalachian family with his wife Samantha Vickers Johnson.

Tuesday, 09 August 2016 22:27

App State Running Backs Ranked by Athlon Sports

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Appalachian State University Football once again received recognition from Athlon Sports college football columnist Steve Lassan, as he ranked the Mountaineers’ running backs unit the 23rd-best group out of 50 units on Tuesday.

App State is one of three schools from the Sun Belt to make the list with archrival Georgia Southern coming in at 21st and New Mexico State landing the 50th spot.

Appalachian boasted one of the most consistent and lethal ground attacks in the nation, where it ran for at least 200 yards in 11 of 13 contests, six 300 yard outputs and a 401-yard performance on the ground at Idaho. App State rushed for 3,529 yards in 2015, which was the third most in a single-season in school history, and the highest rushing total since 2007 when the Black and Gold set the school record for rushing yards in a season with 4,311 yards.

The trio of Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula), Jalin Moore (Shelby, N.C./Crest) and Terrence Upshaw (Duluth, Ga./Northview) boasted one of the best units in the country leading the Apps’ rushing attack that ranked sixth in the nation averaging 271.5 yards rushing per game and 5.83 yards per rush.

Cox led the bunch with a career-high of 1,423 yards rushing, good for 17th in the country and third in the conference. The senior tailback is just 716 yards away from breaking John Settle’s career school record of 4,804 yards. Cox is also the lone student-athlete in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, while he is just one 100-yard rushing game away from breaking the tie with Settle for the all-time mark at 23 games.

Moore came onto the scene late last season where he emerged as the No. 2 running back and finished second with 731 yards rushing. The sophomore stud rushed for 528 yards in the last four games, including a freshman rushing record of 244 yards against Idaho. Moore ran for at least 80 yards in the final four contests of the season. Moore averaged nearly a first down on each carry where he paced App State at a 7.4 yards per rushing clip and at least 80 rushing attempts.

Upshaw finished third on the team with 442 yards on the ground and three scores while sporting 5.5 yards per rush. The bruising halfback rushed for at least 45 yards in six contests and rushed for at least 10 attempts in four games.

The trio will look to continue their success on Thursday, Sept. 1 when the Apps open up the season in Knoxville against the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers.

Appalachian State University volleyball is set to play an intrasquad Black and Gold scrimmage on Sunday, August 21 at 4 p.m.

Fans can get their first glance at the 2016 Mountaineer volleyball team that weekend as the team will play a Black vs. Gold match at Varsity Gym. Following the scrimmage fans will be able to meet the team, get autographs and take pictures with the players.

Appalachian volleyball is currently coming off of its second season in the Sun Belt Conference where they tied the win streak program record (16) and finished ranked No. 2 in the league to go all the way to the league Championship game where they fell in a heartbreaking five-set match to first-ranked Arkansas State. Led by Sun Belt Offensive Student-Athlete of the Year Jess Keller, the Mountaineers led the Sun Belt in four team categories (kills, assists, hitting percentage and digs) and finished in the top two of three individual categories (kills, assists and hitting percentage).

The team will officially begin the season when they travel to Blacksburg, Va. for a tournament at Virginia Tech beginning on Friday, Aug. 26 against the Hokies. The Apps will also play Norfolk State and Siena over the course of the two-day event. The home opener for the Mountaineers begins on Friday, Sept. 2 as Appalachian hosts UNCW, Wofford and Ohio in the Black and Gold Invitational.

A red-hot Hickory Crawdads lineup was cooled off for a night by the defending South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week on Monday, as Augusta GreenJackets' starter Michael Connolly allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings to lead the 'Jackets to a 5-0 defeat of the 'Dads at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads entered the game fresh off a series win in Lexington, where the 'Dads bats combined for 38 runs on 48 hits while winning three out of four games. Connolly meanwhile was just named the SAL Pitcher of the Week after tossing six shutout innings on one hit in his last start vs. Columbia on August 2nd. Hickory looked good early with a leadoff single to start the game and two runners in scoring position in the first inning, but Connolly recovered to escape and started a string of 23 consecutive batters retired.

The GreenJackets hopped on Crawdads starting pitcher Wes Benjamin in the top of the first, as Johneshwy Fargas lined a double on the first pitch of the night before he eventually scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 Augusta advantage. Eric Jenkins led off the home half of the inning with a base hit up the middle, followed by his league-leading 47th steal of the season to quickly give the 'Dads a chance to tie the game. LeDarious Clark reached one out later on an error by 'Jackets shortstop John Polonius before he too stole second base to put runners at second and third with one out. Connolly worked his way out of the inning however with back-to-back strikeouts of Tyler Sanchez and Xavier Turner to keep the GreenJackets on top by a run.

The Crawdads would not put another man on base until both Josh Altmann and Jenkins drew walks in the ninth inning.

Augusta picked up another tally in the top of the third when Fargas reached on a hit-by-pitch and eventually scored on an RBI sacrifice fly from Skylar Ewing to make the score 2-0. The 'Jackets then pushed their lead to 3-0 in the fourth thanks to a leadoff, solo home run by Seth Harrison. The GreenJackets capped off their scoring in the seventh when they plated two runs, one earned, off of Hickory reliever Christian Torres for the final 5-0 score they would win by.

Benjamin (5-5) finished with a quality start but still took the loss for the Crawdads, with three runs allowed on five hits, three walks, and six strikeouts over six innings pitched. Connolly (10-4) earned the win after holding the 'Dads to no runs on one hit and seven strikeouts over his seven innings pitched.

Jenkins was only Hickory hitter to reach base multiple times, as he ended the night 1-3 with a walk.

The Crawdads (24-19/62-51) will take on the GreenJackets (26-17/62-51) again Tuesday night at 7:00 pm, in game two of their three game series.

Appalachian State University Football head coach Scott Satterfield was named as one of college football’s “Top 25 Coaches on the Rise” by Athlon Sports college football columnist Steven Lassan.

Lassan ranked Satterfield in the top 10 at seventh, making the fourth-year head coach the top-ranked coach from the Sun Belt that made the list. Joining Satterfield from the league are Blake Anderson (14th- Arkansas State), Mark Hudspeth (18th- UL Lafayette), Neal Brown (22nd - Troy), and Trent Miles (24th - Georgia State). Also, Lassan said of Satterfield “No coach is better suited than Satterfield for the top spot at Appalachian State.“

It comes to no surprise where Satterfield is listed in the ranks of the top rising coaches in the country, as the Mountaineers are 15-2 in their last 17 games with the two losses coming at the hands of national runner-up Clemson and defending Sun Belt Champion, Arkansas State.

Satterfield helped the Apps go 11-2 in 2015. The Mountaineers’ 11 victories set a new Sun Belt single-season record and were the most-ever by a team in its first full-fledged campaign as an FBS member. Appalachian capped the historic season with a 31-29 victory over Ohio in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl to become the first program to ever win a bowl game in its first full-fledged FBS season (a feat matched by Sun Belt counterpart Georgia Southern four days later).

In his first three seasons, Satterfield has improved his win total and the Mountaineers’ standing in the Sun Belt. With 17-of-22 starters returning on both side of the ball, the Apps are looking to reach new heights in 2016.

Appalachian is currently in fall camp and counting down until the season-opener against the 10th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers on Thursday, Sept. 1 in Knoxville.

Highlighted by four home games, trips to Georgia Tech and Tennessee along with a season-opening weekend tournament at DePaul, Appalachian State University women’s basketball head coach Angel Elderkin announced the 2016-17 non-conference schedule on Monday .

Coach Elderkin and the rest of the coaching staff made sure the Apps would be tested during their non-conference schedule, where nine of the 12 teams posted a winning record while six made it to the postseason and two teams won their conference tournament.

Appalachian will kick-off the season with a pair of 7 p.m. exhibition contests in the Holmes Center against Coker College (Nov. 2) and Lenoir-Rhyne five days later on Nov. 7.

The Mountaineers will spend the first two weeks of the season on the road, as they will open up the 2016-17 slate with a weekend tournament in Chicago against two formidable opponents in either Gardner-Webb, UAB or host DePaul. The three teams combined for a .622 win percentage, including DePaul’s 27-9 mark. The Blue Demons advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with wins over James Madison and Louisville.

Six days later, the Apps will make the trek to Lynchburg, Va. for a Nov. 18 contest against Liberty. The Flames finished with a solid 20-13 record en route to an appearance in the WNIT. Liberty dealt Appalachian State a 74-68 setback in the Apps’ season opener in the Holmes Center. Appalachian will then make the short trip to Richmond two days later to face the Spiders on Nov. 20.

On Nov. 23, the Mountaineers hit the road once again to face former SoCon rival, ETSU. The Mountaineers have had the Bucs’ number, winning six out of the past seven contests while last season’s victory gave App State its first win of the season, 70-52.

App State’s first home game won’t ensue until Nov. 27, which will start a stretch of three-straight home affairs. The Black and Gold will play College of Charleston (Nov. 27), North Carolina A&T (Nov. 30) and Radford (Dec.4) in the Holmes Center. NC A&T won the MEAC Tournament Championship with a 19-12 record while Radford also finished with a winning mark at 18-13.

Road contests against Georgia Tech (Dec. 11) and storied program Tennessee (Dec. 14) will ensue during the following week. The Yellow Jackets and Volunteers posted a .608 (42-27) combined winning percentage while both teams played in the postseason. UT advanced all the way its third elite eight appearances in four seasons before being eliminated by Syracuse.

A Dec. 21 contest in the Holmes Center against Big South Tournament Champion and NCAA Tournament participant UNC Asheville will close the non-conference schedule. UNCA ended the season with an impressive 26-7 mark and a 16-4 record in its league.

Coming off a 10-20 (9-11 Sun Belt) 2015-16 campaign, the Mountaineers will return 13 of 15 student-athletes from last season’s squad along with four highly-talented freshmen, giving the Apps plenty of depth for what looks to be a rebound season.

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