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Mountaineers take home series against No. 13 Chanticleers

Emily Simpson
Junior catcher Braxton Church runs to first after hitting at bat against No. 13 Coastal Carolina March 24. Church had two hits against the Chanticleers.

After a blowout win against Queens Tuesday, the Mountaineers defended their home field against No. 13 Coastal Carolina in their first conference series of the year.

Since the first game on Friday was postponed due to rain, the Mountaineers came out to take a dominating 16-8 win on Saturday.

After falling behind 6-0 by the bottom of the third inning, the Mountaineers mounted a massive comeback.

A 13-pitch at bat ended in a double by junior infielder Adam Quintero sparked a three-run third inning, all of which were driven in by a three-run home run to left by senior outfielder CJ Boyd, his 10th of the year.

This was followed by another three run inning, before an RBI-single groundout in the fifth by graduate student Drew Holderbach, tying the game at 7.

The Mountaineers then poured on the offense with a six-run sixth inning, highlighted by a 461-foot two-run home run by senior outfielder Banks Tolley.

The Black and Gold tacked on three more runs in the seventh to reach the final score 16-8.

Boyd and junior infielder Joseph Zamora had standout games with Boyd hitting 1-3 with a homer, three RBIs and three walks, and Zamora hitting 3-5 with a double and five RBIs.

The pitching staff had a shaky start to the game before locking the Chanticleers down after the fourth inning and allowing the Mountaineers to pull away.

“Down 6-0 against a tough team like that, it’s hard to come back from,” Zamora said.  “We just kept our composure, kept our heads up and the hits just started to fall for us.”

On Sunday, the Mountaineers faced the Chanticleers in a doubleheader.

The Mountaineers took the first game 9-8, coming back to win after blowing an early lead.

The Mountaineers held a 5-0 lead after the fifth inning, having scored two runs in the second and three runs in the third.

Then Coastal came roaring back, scoring eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings to take an 8-5 lead.

App State countered with one run in the seventh on a Holderbach groundout, making the score 8-6 going into the eighth.

The Mountaineers scored three runs in the eighth, with a go-ahead two-run RBI single by junior catcher Braxton Church, giving the Mountaineers a 9-8 lead, which held till the end.

Church and Tolley had good games, with Church hitting 2-5 with three RBIs and Tolley hitting 1-3 with a double, three RBIs and a walk.

The pitchers had a rough outing but did just enough to allow the Mountaineers to walk away with the win.

Sophomore pitcher Jackson Steensma had a solid outing to start the game, pitching six innings while allowing two runs and striking out four.

He was replaced by redshirt freshman pitcher Max Tramontana, who allowed four runs in 0.1 innings before being replaced by sophomore pitcher Everette Harris.

Sophomore pitcher Jackson Steensma throws a pitch against No. 13 Coastal Carolina March 24. Steensma pitched six innings and recorded four strikeouts. (Emily Simpson)

Harris didn’t fare any better, allowing two runs and recording no outs before he was replaced by junior pitcher Collin Welch.

Welch played 2.2 innings, allowing no runs and striking out two, closing out the win for the Mountaineers.

The second game of the doubleheader was a closely contested 12-inning 17-11 loss for the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers were down 1-0 at the end of the first and then rattled off five runs in the next three innings to make the score 5-1 at the end of the fourth.

The Chanticleers had a two-run RBI single and a grand slam in the fifth to retake the lead 7-5.

The Black and Gold scored three runs in the fifth and sixth with an RBI groundout by Zamora and RBI singles by redshirt junior Austin St. Laurent and Wilder to retake the lead 8-7.

In the seventh, Coastal retook the lead 10-8 before the Mountaineers tied the game with a double by Tolley and a wild pitch making the score 10-10.

The Chanticleers then took an 11-10 lead in the eighth with an RBI single.

In the ninth with two outs, Wilder hit an RBI double to tie the game 11-11, sending it to extra innings.

In the tenth and eleventh innings, both teams had multiple opportunities to score the winning runs, but neither capitalized.

This lasted until the 12th when the dam finally broke for the Chanticleers, scoring six runs to take a 17-11 lead.

The Mountaineers couldn’t answer back with the Chanticleers taking a 17-11 win in the final game of the series.

St. Laurent and Wilder had standout games. St. Laurent hit 5-6 with a double, two RBIs and two walks while Wilder hit 4-5 with a homer, double and five RBIs.

This loss meant the Mountaineers scored a 2-1 series win over No. 13 Chanticleers, an improvement over 2023 when they beat then No. 8 Chanticleers in the first game of the series, but dropped the last two.

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About the Contributors
Clay Durban
Clay Durban, Reporter
Clay Durban (he/him) is a junior digital journalism major from Asheville, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
Emily Simpson
Emily Simpson, Associate Photo Editor
Emily Simpson (she/her) is a junior Commercial Photography major. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
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