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Friday, 27 May 2016 07:25

Hickory Crawdads Give Up Late Lead in Loss

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The Hickory Crawdads' recent struggles at the plate continued Thursday night in their first game against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, as the 'Dads received good performances from both starting pitcher Wes Benjamin and reliever Blake Bass only to lose the 'Hoppers 3-1 at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Benjamin and Bass combined to hold Greensboro to 1 run on 5 hits and 7 strikeouts over 8 solid innings of work. That bought the Crawdads a tie game thanks to a solo home run from LeDarious Clark in the 3rd. The Grasshoppers finally broke through for 2 runs against Joe Palumbo in the top of the 9th however, before the 'Dads stranded the tying runners in scoring position in the bottom of the frame resulting in the 3-1 defeat.

Hickory's southpaw starter began the night retiring the first 7 batters he faced before Zach Sullivan doubled inside the third base bag and came in to score on a 2-out, RBI single from Anfernee Seymour for a 1-0 Greensboro lead in the 3rd. The Crawdads quickly responded in the bottom of the inning when Clark crushed the first pitch of the frame over the left field fence for a solo homer and a 1-1 tie.

That score would hold all the way until the 9th, as Benjamin finished with 1 run allowed on 3 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts over 5 innings while Bass followed with 3 shutout frames on 2 hits and 1 K.

'Dads manager Steve Mintz then turned the ball over to the normally dominant Palumbo in the 9th, and the lefty reliever responded with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks over the first four batters before allowing consecutive 2-out, RBI singles from Roy Morales and Justin Twine for a 3-1 'Hoppers lead. The Crawdads attempted a 9th inning rally of their own when Andy Ibanez drew a leadoff walk and Dylan Moore lined a 1-out double to right to put the tying runs in scoring position with one out. Grasshoppers' closer C.J. Robinson bounced back with back-to-back strikeouts of Eduard Pinto and Clark however to end the game.

Palumbo (3-2) took the loss for Hickory with 2 runs allowed on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts over 1 inning pitched. Greensboro reliever Jeff Kinley (3-2) earned the win after working around 3 walks in 2 scoreless IP, while Robinson (9) recorded the save.

Clark finished the game 1-4 with his 4th homer of the year, while Moore went 2-3 with a double and a walk. Eric Jenkins also reached base safely multiple times, going 1-3 with a walk and his league-leading 24th steal of the season.

The Crawdads (28-19) will try to get back in the win column in game 2 vs. the Grasshoppers (22-25) Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Stanley Broaden will be the lone Appalachian State University men's track and field participant to advance at the 2016 NCAA East Prelims on Thursday.

Broaden took third in his heat of the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.20 and sits 26th overall to qualify for the quarterfinals tomorrow. The men's 400-meter hurdles is set for 7:45 p.m. tomorrow evening.

In the 100-meter dash, William Buckley placed 30th with a time of 10.64 and will not advance for the Mountaineers. Phillip Thomas vaulted 16-4.75 and placed 31st, but will also not advance.

The Mountaineers' Nathan Milch has still yet to compete and will throw in the shot put on Saturday with the event set to begin at 6 p.m.

Appalachian State University women's track and field student-athletes Tristin Van Ord and Darlene Girardeau will not advance in their respective events following Thursday's NCAA East Region preliminaries.

Van Ord finished 21st in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 35.22.10. She ends her season as a two-time Sun Belt champion during the outdoor campaign, while also setting a program record in the 10,000-meter run earlier in the season.

In the long jump, Giradeau finished 36th with a jump of 18-10. During the season, Giradeau put herself second on the all-time program list with a jump of 20-2.25 at the Sun Belt championships.

Friday, 27 May 2016 07:22

Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Basketball Signs Three

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Lenoir-Rhyne University Head Men’s Basketball Coach Everick Sullivan has announced the addition of Ben Zemonek, Jacob Skidmore and Uter Moukimou for the 2016-17 campaign.

Zemonek averaged 15 points, eight rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals for Leesville Road High School out of Raleigh, N.C. Zemonek is an All-CAP 8 honoree who finished his prep career with 1,252 points and 930 rebounds.

Zemonek was also part of the AAU DI State Championship Team and was invited to play in the RDU High School All-Star Game. Zemonek was the team’s defensive Most Valuable Player as well.

Skidmore averaged 16.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.1 blocks per outing as a senior for Kings Mountain High School in Kings Mountain, N.C. Skidmore is a two-time All-Gaston Gazette, All-District and All-South Mountain Athletic 3A Conference pick.

Moukimou played at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (CCC&TI) in Lenoir, N.C., and led the team to a 24-7 season while averaging 8.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per outing in 2015-16.

Sullivan will be entering his first season as Bears’ mentor in 2016-17 after being hired on Wednesday, April 27. Lenoir-Rhyne is coming off one of its best seasons in school history last year. LR went 21-10 in 2015-16 and advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship for the first time in school history.


Mooresville: 10
Alexander County Post 170: 4

Hickory Post 48: 4
Rutherford County: 3

Appalachian State University athletics announced its full slate of “color days” for the 2016 football season on Wednesday.

Appalachian State fans are encouraged to help #DefineTheMoment for each color day by predominantly incorporating the appropriate color in their gameday apparel. Officially licensed color day apparel will be available through Appalachian State retail partners in the coming months.

The 2016 home opener versus Old Dominion on Sept. 10 will be a “Whiteout” game with all fans encouraged to wear white to Kidd Brewer Stadium.

As previously announced, the Sun Belt Conference opener versus Georgia State on Oct. 1 will be Appalachian State’s annual Black Saturday contest. As is tradition, Mountaineer fans are asked to be decked out in black for Black Saturday at The Rock.

In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Mountaineers’ homecoming contest versus Idaho on Oct. 22 will be dubbed as “Pink Day” at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Fans are encouraged to join App State’s student-athletes and coaches in adding pink elements to their homecoming attire in honor of this terrific cause.

Appalachian State will wear its traditional all black uniforms for Black Saturday. Any special uniform elements for the Whiteout and Pink Day games will not be unveiled until the days leading up to each contest.

Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:46

Hickory Crawdads Edged Out by Rome Braves

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The Hickory Crawdads jumped ahead to an early lead only to see the offense go quiet Wednesday afternoon, with Eduard Pinto's 2nd inning, 2-run home run proving to be the extent of the Hickory attack in a 3-2 series finale loss to the Rome Braves at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Everything looked great for the Crawdads over the first three frames, as Pinto lined his second homer of the year to right in the bottom of the 2nd inning and 'Dads starting pitcher Erik Swanson retired the first 10 batters he faced to start the game. The momentum changed in the 4th however, as the Braves got to Swanson for 3 runs on 3 hits and two walks while the Crawdads' batters were retired in 15 consecutive plate appearances en route to the 3-2 defeat.

Dylan Moore got the Hickory half of the 2nd going with a leadoff walk on a full count from Rome starter Ricardo Sanchez. Pinto followed with a low line drive to right that just cleared the fence for a 2-run shot and a 2-0 Crawdads lead. The advantage held until the top of the 4th, when the Braves finally got their first baserunner of the game on a routine ground ball that took a bad bounce away from 'Dads second baseman Andy Ibanez resulting in an infield hit. The frame seemingly fell apart from there, as Swanson walked Wigberto Nevarez on four pitches, gave up a single to Jonathan Morales to load the bases, then walked in a run with a free pass to Justin Ellison to put Rome on the board. One out later, Swanson appeared on the verge of escaping the inning with an 0-2 count on Alejandro Salazar before the Braves shortstop looped a 2-RBI base knock to center to put Rome ahead 3-2.

Neither team would score the rest of the way, with a two-out walk by Pinto in the 4th acting as the only baserunner for the Crawdads from the 3rd through the 8th frames. The 'Dads attempted a last minute rally in the 9th, when Ibanez and Moore both singled with two outs before Pinto drew another free pass to load the bases. Hickory shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri then worked the count even at 2-2 against Braves reliever Oriel Caicedo before popping out to first to end the game.

Sanchez (3-4) earned the win for Rome with 2 runs allowed on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts over 5.2 innings pitched, while Caicedo (3) recorded the save with 3.1 scoreless innings. Swanson (3-1) was handed his first loss of the season for the Crawdads after giving up 3 runs on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 Ks over 5 IP.

Pinto paced the 'Dads bats finishing 1-2 with his second home run of the season, 2 walks, and 2 RBI. Moore ended the day 1-3 with a walk and a run scored, while Ibanez went 1-4 and Ti'Quan Forbes finished 1-3.

The Crawdads (28-18) will now welcome the Greensboro Grasshoppers to L.P. Frans Stadium for a 4-game series over Memorial Day weekend, with first pitch Thursday night scheduled for 6:00 pm.

The Hickory Crawdads jumped on the visiting Rome Braves for 3 runs on 5 hits in the 1st inning and cruised the rest of the way Tuesday night, as 'Dads hurlers Jonathan Hernandez, Matt Ball, and John Werner made the early offense hold up for a 3-1 win at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads wasted no time in attacking Braves starting pitcher Max Fried in the opening frame, as Dylan Moore, Andy Ibanez, Tyler Sanchez, and Eduard Pinto roped 4 consecutive one-out singles before Ti'Quan Forbes capped the inning with a 2-out, RBI base knock for a 3-0 Hickory lead. That was all the 'Dads pitching trio would need, as Hernandez and company held Rome to 1 run on 6 hits.

Hernandez (5-3) led the way, going 6 innings with 1 run allowed on 6 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts en route to earning the win. The only time the Braves reached the Hickory starter was in the 5th, when Leudys Baez singled to left and Yeudi Grullon doubled to right before Ray-Patrick Didder drove in the only Rome run on an RBI groundout that made the score 3-1.

Ball took over in the 6th with 2 hitless innings of relief, while Werner (3) earned the save with a perfect 9th inning to close out the 3-1 win. Fried (2-3) finished with a quality start for the Braves but still took the loss with 3 runs given up on 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 Ks over 6 IP.

Eight of the 9 Crawdads batters finished with at least one hit in the 9-single performance, led by Ibanez who went 2-4 with 2 stolen bases and a run scored. Moore also swiped 2 bags while going 1-2 with 2 walks and a run scored. Sanchez (1-4, RBI, R), Pinto (1-3, RBI, BB), and Forbes (1-3, RBI) all finished the night with one hit and an RBI apiece.

The win marks the second time this season that Hickory has scored 3 runs in the 1st to defeat the Braves 3-1, as the 'Dads pulled the same trick in Rome on May 5th.

The Crawdads (28-17) will go for the series win against the Braves (17-28) in the rubber match Wednesday morning, with first pitch scheduled for 10:30 am.

Appalachian State University shortstop Matt Vernon was named second-team all-Sun Belt Conference by the league’s baseball coaches, the conference announced at its pre-tournament banquet on Tuesday evening.

In his first season as a Mountaineer, Vernon led Appalachian State with a .317 batting average (13th in Sun Belt), 60 hits, 35 runs scored, eight home runs (seventh in Sun Belt), 42 RBI (tied for seventh in Sun Belt), .382 on-base percentage and .519 slugging percentage (sixth in Sun Belt). He tied for the team lead with 20 extra-base hits, ranked second on the squad with three triples and was third on the club with 10 doubles.

After hitting just .095 over his first 12 games in the Black and Gold, the transfer from Florence-Darlington Technical College hit .345 and collected all 20 of his extra-base hits and all 42 of his RBI over the final 40 games of the campaign. He put together Appalachian State’s two longest hitting streaks of the season (12 and 11 games) and led the club with 18 multi-hit games and 15 multi-RBI performances. No other Mountaineer drove in multiple runs more than six times.

On the strength of his impressive junior campaign, Vernon has been invited to play summer baseball with the Chatham Anglers of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League.

Led by Vernon, Appalachian State (18-36, 9-21 Sun Belt) went 13-17 over its final 30 games of the season and finished the campaign with more overall wins, conference wins, overall series wins (4) and conference series wins (3) than it did in its inaugural season in the ultra-competitive Sun Belt Conference in 2015. The Mountaineers also notched the most regular-season victories over nationally ranked teams in school history (3). All of App State’s accomplishments came despite the fact that its roster featured 14 freshmen and 10 sophomores and true freshmen started 52 of the Mountaineers’ 54 games on the mound.

Appalachian State University wrestling competed in the 2016 University Freestyle National Duals on Saturday at George Mason University. The Mountaineers won their pool C bracket and advanced into the gold championship bracket where they finished fourth.

Appalachian competed in pool C against ACC foe Virgina and American. The Mountaineers dropped their opening match to American in a close, 5-4, battle. After UVA defeated American in the second match, App State wrestled the Cavaliers for a spot in the gold bracket.

App State took six of the nine matches against Virginia to claim the top spot in pool C. The Mountaineers were fueled by technical falls from Michael Longo, Nick Kee, Marcus Johnson, and Denzel Dejournette.

The Mountaineers' opening match in the gold bracket was against Big Ten member Rutgers. App State edged Rutgers, 5-4, with wins from Vito Pasone, Longo, Angel Najar, Forrest Przybysz, and Dejournette.

In the semifinal match, Appalachian dropped a close match to in-state rival NC State, 6-3. Demetreus Kostis, Longo, and Kee all recorded wins in the loss.

The third-place match came down to the Mountaineers and Pitt of the ACC. After winning the two of the first three matches of the dual, the Panthers won the next four to narrowly edge App State, 5-4, to claim third place.

The Mountaineers continue to prepare for the upcoming 2016-17 season after coming off Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles in 2015-16.

Individual Records

Michael Longo - 5-0
Vito Pasone - 4-1
Denzel Dejournette - 4-1
Nick Kee - 2-0
Forrest Przybysz - 2-1
Logan Durham - 2-3
Cary Miller - 2-3
Matt Zovistoski - 1-1
Marcus Johnson - 1-1
Angel Najar - 1-2
Taylor Jackson - 1-2
Demetreus Kostis - 1-3
Randall Diabe - 1-4
Michael Elliott - 0-2
Elliot Raiford - 0-3