Mountaineers take two in rain-shortened series

Mountaineers+take+two+in+rain-shortened+series

Ben Cogsdale

Appalachian State baseball won two of a three-game weekend series against UNC Greensboro as two Mountaineer pitchers, junior Jamie Nunn and senior Tyler Moore, tossed back-to-back complete games for the first time in school history since 2004.

Team
Junior second baseman Michael Pierson touches home plate and is greeted by sophomore shortstop Dillon Dobson, freshman outfielder Tyler Stroup and sophomore outfielder Jaylin Davis. Photo by Corey Spiers | The Appalachian

The third game of the series was canceled Sunday due to rain. There is no makeup date at this time.

Game one
Nunn pitched his first career complete game while the Mountaineers offense scored early, knocking off Greensboro 4-2 in the first game of the series.

App State worked its way out of early trouble after the Spartans loaded the bases in the top of the first inning with three hits. Nunn forced junior outfielder L.J. Kalawaia to hit a ground ball to sophomore shortstop Dillon Dobson to force an inning-ending double play.

The Mountaineer bats took advantage and staked Nunn to an early lead in the bottom of the first. Junior second baseman Michael Pierson launched his third homerun of the season that scored three runs.

“I was looking away, and a fastball came inside, and I just kind of threw the hands at it and let it do its thing,” Pierson said.

App State scored its fourth and final run of the game in the first inning on another home run, this time off the bat of freshman infielder Tyler Stroup. Stroup’s deep shot put the Mountaineers up 4-0 and allowed Nunn to settle into a groove.

Nunn allowed 10 Spartan hits but shut the Spartans out for seven consecutive innings before the visiting team finally broke through on the scoreboard.

In the top of the eighth, the Spartans scored two runs off a single from Kalawaia, but Nunn settled in and got out of the inning allowing no other runs.

In the ninth inning, Nunn finished the game.

With two outs, redshirt sophomore infielder Benigno Marrero reached base after Dobson couldn’t handle a ground ball, bringing the tying run to the plate.

Nunn got redshirt junior outfielder Zac MacAneney to ground out to Pierson, ending the game.

“I was getting a little tired, but I got a huge boost of adrenaline in the last inning,” Nunn said. “The last inning might as well have been my first. I felt great.”

Nunn’s complete game is the second one for the Mountaineers this season, the other belonging to Tyler Moore who pitched all nine innings against UNC Asheville in a 7-2 win March 8.

Head coach Billy Jones said Nunn was the difference maker.

“Nunn came out there, commanded the zone and he did what he does,” Jones said after game one. “He didn’t let the game speed up on him. He just trusted his stuff.”

Game two
App State notched a second important conference win over Greensboro during a rainy Saturday afternoon, 15-4.

Moore went the distance tossing the second-consecutive complete game for App State allowing nine hits and four runs as he improved his record to 5-2 on the season.

“I really started to feel comfortable out there in the fourth, kind of settled in after that and came in after the eighth and said ‘I want this night,’” Moore said.

The offense for the Mountaineers was extremely effective, tallying 14 hits and seeing every member of the lineup record at least one hit. The Mountaineers trailed 1-0 early but rallied in the bottom of the third inning, capitalizing on a few Spartan mistakes that would prove to be a theme that afternoon.

Pierson popped a high fly ball into the misty sky, which was subsequently botched by MacAneney plating two runners and tying the game at three.

Sophomore centerfielder Jaylin Davis drove in Pierson on the following at bat to give the Mountaineers a 4-3 advantage.

App State would open the floodgates bringing across 10 runs throughout the final four innings to put the game out of reach of the Spartans.

The hit parade was capped by a huge bases loaded, three-RBI, double down the leftfield  line by sophomore first baseman Alex Leach in the bottom of the eighth.

“Bases loaded, I wanted to drive some runs in and really put a dagger in them,” Leach said.

Five Mountaineers tallied two hits on the afternoon. Jones said he was very pleased with how his team capitalized throughout the afternoon on four Spartan errors.

“In college baseball, you have to take advantage of everything you’re given, and I thought our guys did a pretty good job today,” Jones said. “After mistakes were made, we didn’t stop and settle.”

With the series victory, App State improves to 8-16 overall and 3-2 in SoCon play, including a 5-1 mark at home.

The Mountaineers play Tuesday in Columbia, S.C., for a 7 p.m. game against the Gamecocks. South Carolina is 19-3 on the season and were ranked No. 3 in the most recent USA Today Coaches Poll.

Story: Ben Cogsdale, Intern Sports Reporter

Photo: Cory Spiers, Sports Editor