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Monday, 20 May 2019 08:57

Hickory Crawdads Blanked at Hagerstown

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Joan Adon and Ryan Williamson combined to blank the Crawdads 4-0 in the Suns second shutout of the season at Municipal Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Adon (W, 3-1) allowed just four hits through six innings while wringing up half a dozen batters. The righty earned his second quality start of the season before giving way to Williamson (S, 1).

The lefty out of the pen tossed three innings, allowing just a single hit while fanning a pair of Crawdads.

The Suns offense started early, with an Israel Pineda double in the second. The next batter, Kyle Marinconz roped a double into the left field corner to score Pineda and put the Suns in front 1-0.

The backstop was not done there. He lasered a 374' homer into the Crawdads bullpen to cap off the day's scoring for Hagerstown, putting the team in front 4-0.

Cody Wilson set up the next frame drawing a lead-off walk. Justin Connell singled to move him to second before Jacob Rhinesmith lined into a fielder's choice to move Wilson along to third.

Connell finshed the day 2-for-4, earning his 10th multi-hit game of the season.

With runners on the corners, Rhinesmith moved to second and the catcher Melvin Novoa overthrew third to allow Wilson to come home and Rhinesmith to push to third after the stolen bag. Hickory starter Yerry Rodriguez (L, 4-2) walked Omar Meregildo and Novoa allowed the ball to pass him to score Rhinesmith and put the Suns in front 3-0.

Appalachian State Baseball spent the last three days at Spring Brooks Stadium.

The Mountaineers will return there in a few days to make their first appearance in the Sun Belt Championship tournament.

Appalachian closed the 2019 regular season Saturday with a 9-6 road loss against tournament host Coastal Carolina. App State, which had not posted double-digit league wins in its first four Sun Belt seasons, finished 13-16 to claim sole possession of ninth in the 12-team conference.

The 10-team tournament begins Tuesday in Conway with a pair of single-elimination games, and the ninth-seeded Mountaineers (22-30 overall) will face eighth-seeded Louisiana (27-29, 15-15) at 6:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the eight-team, double-elimination portion that starts Wednesday.

App State took two of three games during their regular-season series against the Ragin' Cajuns in Louisiana.

In Saturday's regular-season finale, a loss by Coastal Carolina (30-23-1, 15-13) would have dropped the Chanticleers into the 8/9 game against Appalachian, but instead they jumped to the No. 5 seed with their win.

App State trailed 1-0 before Riley Smith drew a third-inning walk and scored from first on Luke Allison's double. Tyler Leek's two-strike groundout advanced Allison to third, and he scored on Bailey Welch's single to center.

Starting pitcher Jason Cornatzer allowed one run on three hits in three innings, benefiting from double-play groundouts in each of the first two innings, and Zach Biermann's two-run homer off Andrew Papp gave Coastal a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning. The next two batters reached, but Papp recorded two straight strikeouts and ended the inning with a flyout to left.

The Mountaineers reclaimed the lead with a two-run fifth, as Leek hit a solo shot for his fifth homer of the season and Welch's single set up an RBI double for Kendall McGowan. Coastal Carolina moved back ahead with a two-run bottom half of the fifth that included one unearned run. A double and dropped flyball preceded an RBI groundout and RBI single.

App State trailed 5-4 when a lightning delay stopped play at the end of the fifth inning. After a stoppage of two-plus hours, Coastal pitched a scoreless top of the sixth and scored three unearned runs in the bottom half of the inning. The second error of the inning, occurring on a lineout that set up a potential double play, enabled a run to score before Biermann delivered a two-run single on a 3-2 pitch with two away.

Trailing 9-4 entering the ninth, Allison singled to bring home Joel McDaniel and Leek singled to score Drew Beck, who had reached base on a pinch-hit double. A strikeout and groundout ended the game.

Tomas Alastre could not get through the second inning following a 1 hour and forty-three minute rain delay in the Suns 9-4 loss to the Crawdads at Municipal Stadium Saturday night.

After working a one-two-three first frame, Alastre (L, 3-3), faced seven hitters in the second, allowing all of them to reach. Four runs would score before Alastre gave way to Ryan Tapani, who worked out of the inning without allowing a hit. Following the second, the Crawdads (27-14) led 5-1 and never looked back.

The Suns (18-23) came out of the gates hot, with their first two baserunners reaching safely. Cody Wilson was hit by a pitch prior to Justin Connell grounding a infield single to third to set up the Suns. Omar Meregildo doubled to plate Wilson and put Hagerstown in front.

After that, Tim Brennan (W, 3-2) was stellar, finishing the evening spinning 6.1 innings, allowing just five hits and the single earned run. The Suns added three more runs off Nick Starr, all in the ninth with two outs.

The offense started rolling with walks from Nic Perkins and Meregildo. After a mound visit, Kyle Marinconz lined a base hit up the middle to plate Meregildo. Then Trey Vickers repeated the feat to load the bases for Ricardo Mendez to score Perkins and Marinconz and complete the scoring for the night.

Tapani allowed just one base runner out of the first 10 batters he faced, but struggled in his fourth inning. Curtis Terry led off the inning with a double to left. Next, Sherten Apostel roped a triple over Rhinesmith's head to score Terry. Matt Whatley drove Apostel home, singling up the middle before Melvin Novoa capped-off the inning lacing a base knock to left to score Whatley.

Novoa's night finished rocking a solo shot off Trey Turner to start the eighth. Turner finished with two innings of work to end the game.

The final Suns reliever to pitch was Jared Brasher , who had his best outing of 2019. The righty spun his way through two hitless innings while fanning a pair of Crawdads in the Suns losing effort.

Joel McDaniel's first-inning grand slam ignited a hot start. By game's end, Appalachian State players had more reasons to exit the dugout and exchange high-fives.

App State clinched its first-ever Sun Belt Conference Championship berth and set a program record for runs in a Sun Belt game with an 18-6 victory at Coastal Carolina on Friday night.

McDaniel's grand slam produced a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and the Mountaineers were clinging to a 6-5 lead in the third when reliever Kaleb Bowman induced an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. Bowman followed that effort with four consecutive scoreless innings, giving his offense ample time to again gain separation from the Chanticleers.

App State followed the 6-4-3 double started by shortstop Luke Allison with two runs in the top of the fourth inning, and Phillip Cole's three-run homer to left-center gave the Mountaineers an 11-5 lead in the fifth.

Leading 13-5 in the seventh, McDaniel delivered his second homer of the game with a 406-foot blast that punctuated a 3-for-3 night with five RBIs and five runs scored, and Riley Smith made it back-to-back homers with a solo shot to left.

App State (22-29, 13-15) is currently alone at No. 9 in the 12-team Sun Belt, which has a 10-team tournament that begins Tuesday in Conway. The Mountaineers are locked into a single-elimination game between the 8/9 seeds on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Bowman improved to 6-1 this season with his stellar relief effort, which included one hit allowed and four strikeouts in 4.2 innings. With Brandon Boone starting on the mound, Coastal entered the eighth inning with only three hits in the game, and App State got an inning apiece from Jack Hartman and Andrew Papp to close the victory.

Offensively, in its fifth Sun Belt season, App State had never scored more than 13 runs in a league game.

Luke Drumheller and Tyler Leek also posted three hits Friday, Cole finished with four RBIs and Smith scored three times. Leek, Drumheller, Kendall McGowan and Cole scored two times apiece.

Leek opened the game with a single off Austin Kitchen and reached second on a fielding error. He scored on Drumheller's one-out single, and Drumheller moved to second on McGowan's single before advancing to third on a walk to Cole. McDaniel homered on a 2-0 fastball to put App State in position for a bounce-back performance following its 19-3 loss in the series opener.

Coastal responded immediately with two runs thanks to a leadoff walk, a bunt single with a run-scoring error, a groundout and a sac fly in the bottom of the first. Leek's leadoff double in the second helped him score on a two-out infield single by Cole, and the Chants scored once in a high-energy bottom half of the second that ended with a Boone strikeout stranding two runners.

Coastal threatened to pull even by drawing back-to-back walks and then getting hit by a one-out pitch in the third. Bowman took the mound to face Zach Biermann, who hit a two-run single, but Bowman followed a walk that reloaded the bases with the big double-play groundout turned by Allison, Drumheller and Robbie Young.

The Mountaineers' second offensive push occurred after the Chants retired App State's first two batters in the fourth. Walks to McDaniel and Smith set up Young's RBI single, and a walk to Allison preceded a pitching change. Leek earned an RBI by being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Appalachian broke the game open with its five-run fifth, which included singles by Drumheller and McGowan to set the stage for Cole's homer. Smith's sacrifice fly and Leek's RBI single pushed the lead to 13-5.

The Suns scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth off a pair of errors from the Hickory Crawdads to put them in front 3-2 in the series opener at Municipal Stadium Friday night.

The frame started with an Omar Meregildo walk before back-to-back singles from Kyle Marinconz and Trey Vickers loaded the bases. In his Suns (18-22) debut, Ricardo Mendez dribbled a ball up the first baseline and reached on a fielder's choice from Crawdads' (26-14) starter Tyree Thompson (L, 0-1), who threw an errant ball home to allow Meregildo to reach.

After that, Cody Wilson hit a sacrifice bunt that plated Vickers to tie the game. Wilson made it safely to first off a throwing error from Thompson. The final run of the frame scored on a Gilbert Lara strikeout. The wild pitch carried to the backstop allowing the shortstop to reach first safely and scoring Mendez for the go-ahead run.

The Suns allowed both runs in the top half of the fifth, with Francys Peguero (W, 2-2) on the bump. With runners on second and third, Tyler Depreta-Johnson slapped a ball to short that Lara mishandled and allowed Sherten Apostel to score. With the Crawdads in front 1-0, Jonathan Orneles popped a ball to right, scoring Frainyer Chavez to double the lead.

Outside of the fifth, the pitching was lights out. Peguero finished spinning five innings, allowing just those two runs and fanning four. After that, Chandler Day worked three scoreless innings before handing the ball to Jackson Stoeckinger (S, 3), who closed things out with a scoreless ninth.

The game marked the 17th one-run game out of the first 40 for Hagerstown, moving their record to 7-10 in those contests.

3A:
Marvin Ridge: 8
Alexander Central: 1
Cougars season ends at 23-8.

4A:
Reagan: 8
South Caldwell: 0
Spartans season ends at 22-6

4A:
South Caldwell: 11
Providence: 3
The Spartans advance to the regional finals, taking on Mooresville in a best out of three series.

The Hickory Crawdads scored three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings en route to a 7-5 victory over the Greenville Drive in the series finale on Thursday night at Fluor Field.

Greenville got the scoring started with two runs in the third. Grant Williams led off with a walk and Cole Brannen followed with a single, before a wild pitch put runners at second and third. Two batters later, Triston Casas doubled to right to drive in both and put the home team in front 2-0.

Hickory responded with three in the fourth. Tanner Gardner and Pedro Gonzalez recorded back-to-back RBI triples and Sherten Apostel followed with a sac fly to left, putting the Crawdads in front 3-2.

They would add to the lead with three more in their next at-bat. An RBI single by Matt Whatley scored one ahead of Curtis Terry, who homered to left, his eighth of the season, to score two more and make it a 6-2 game.

The Drive responded with two in the bottom of the fifth. Casas singled to right to score Brannen from second and Tyler Esplin later singled to center to drive in Brandon Howlett, cutting the Hickory advantage to 6-4.

Both teams tacked on a run in the eighth. In the top half, a one-out triple by Gardner, his second of the night, put a runner on for Gonzalez, who doubled to bring him home and push the lead to 7-4. In the bottom half, after a Kervin Suarez single and a Grant Williams double put two on with one out, Brannen score Suarez from third with an RBI groundout to make it 7-5.

Hickory reliever Grant Anderson (4-3) earned the win, throwing 3.0 innings and allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts. Drive starter Chris Machamer (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in 3.1 innings pitched with one strikeout. Nick Snyder earned his first save of the year, allowing one run on three hits with a pair of Ks over the final 3.0 innings.

Four different Drive hitters recorded two-hit nights, as the team totaled 11 in the loss. Casas went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI, while Brannen was 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Esplin added a 2-for-5 night with a double and an RBI and Williams was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run. Yoan Aybar worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Drive, striking out one.

The Crawdads improve to 26-13 on the first half of the season. Hickory travels to Hagerstown over the weekend. The Crawdads will be back at home on Tuesday taking on the Lexington Legends.

Coastal Carolina capitalized on early command issues and beat Appalachian State 19-3 in Game 1 of their Sun Belt Conference series Thursday.

Mike Koenig’s second-inning grand slam with two away sent home three baserunners who had reached without recording a hit, and Zach Biermann followed a third-inning walk with a three-run homer that put the Chanticleers ahead 8-0.

Coastal Carolina (29-22-1, 14-12) led 12-0 before Drew Beck singled with one out in the seventh, moved to second on Hayden Cross’ walk and scored on an RBI single from Alex Leshock, who went 2-for-2.

The Chanticleers added two more homers in a seven-run seventh that pushed the lead to 19-1. After Andrew Terrell was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, fellow App State freshman Dalton Williams pulled a two-run homer down the right-field line, giving him two homers on the season.

Tyler Leek, Phillip Cole and Riley Smith also had hits for the Mountaineers (21-29, 12-15). Currently ninth in the league, they still control their ability to qualify for next week’s 10-team Sun Belt Championships, as their final regular-season series resumes Friday at 6 p.m. with Brandon Boone (5-3) scheduled to start on the mound. Tyler Tuthill, Austin Primm, Cam Roberts and Evan Mauldin pitched for App State on Thursday.

Kieton Rivers drew a leadoff walk for Coastal Carolina in the second inning, but App State responded with a timely double play as Tuthill struck out Biermann and Smith threw out the speedy Rivers to erase a steal attempt for the 15th time this season. A hit by pitch and back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Koenig, who homered to left field.

A leadoff double preceded Jake Wright’s RBI single in the third, and Rivers’ walk on a 3-2 pitch set up Biermann’s homer to right.

App State batters struck out 17 times, with Coastal Carolina starter Anthony Veneziano posting nine strikeouts while allowing no runs on three hits in five innings. Nick Parker struck out six batters over the next three innings.

Appalachian State student-athletes pride themselves in giving back to the community of Boone since they are endlessly devoted to the success of the university and its athletic programs.

This past year (May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019), the Mountaineers completed more than 10,474 hours of community service – the most community service hours ever recorded by App State Athletics. These hours include anything from going into elementary school classrooms and reading to students to going on a mission trip with a group of student-athletes through a local church.

“It’s very inspiring to see that you all as student-athletes are able to go out into a community that has embraced you from an athletics standpoint to where you all go out and embrace them from a community standpoint,” said Director of Student-Athlete Development Pierre Banks, a former Mountaineer football player himself. “I always tell people that none of us got to where we are by pulling up our own bootstraps, so to see the athletics department and the community combine in such a way that we can uplift each other is absolutely incredible.”

This year the student-athletes found many different ways to get involved in the community. Several Mountaineer volunteered for a mentoring program for elementary students through the Western Youth Network. Others helped with food drives with the Hunger and Health Coalition, freshman move-in and Habitat for Humanity. Some student-athletes went on hospital visits, met with local Veterans of Foreign Wars groups and helped elementary schools for Mornings with the Mountaineers. Teams participated in Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse, Laps for APPS and walking in local holiday parades. Those are just a few of the ways the Mountaineers gave back in 2018-19.

Each year the athletics department determines which team has the most community service hours by taking the total number of hours and players on each team and calculating an average number of hours per student-athlete.

The top team in 2018-19 was women’s soccer with 1,683 hours and an average of 58.06 hours per student-athlete.

“The community of Boone has played such an integral role in supporting our team and athletics as a whole,” women’s soccer junior Kristin Brown said. “I may be biased, but I’d say that Boone is home to the greatest fans around. The depth of their support is experienced not only in the stands on game days, but throughout the community itself. As an athlete, this support is incredibly appreciated and makes you want to give back as much as possible. It is an honor to serve such an awesome community.”

Women’s cross country came in second with 1,422 hours while averaging 56.89 hours per student-athlete.

“Being an athlete at Appalachian State and having the support that we do from the community and people surrounding us means so much,” freshman cross country runner Kylee Frady said. “I believe that the close-knit community that we have in Boone makes for App State Athletics feeling like our own little family within our college town. I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have being an athlete at Appalachian, and I don’t think it’d be possible without those who support us.”

In third was baseball with 1,381 hours averaging 12.22 hours per student-athlete.

“I would say it truly feels like a family,” baseball senior Kaleb Bowman said. “Families support one another through the good and bad, and that is what is so great about the community of Boone. They support us no matter what happens, so it really means a lot to be able to give back to them.”

“Being a part of the Appalachian State family means so much to me,” junior wrestler Christian Beach said. “I have been given such an amazing opportunity that has made me a better student, athlete and person. It is such an honor to be able to give back to the Boone community after Appalachian has given so much to me. I consider Boone my home, and giving back to my community is just amazing!”

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