UNCG takes third game from ASU
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State went into its final game with UNC Greensboro looking not only to sweep the Spartans, but also to close in on a Southern Conference championship.
The Mountaineers could not hold a six-run lead and fell 10-8 on Senior Day in front of 914 fans at Smith Stadium Sunday. Appalachian State (34-11, 18-6 SoCon) kept its magic number needed to win a SoCon championship to four, making them needing to win games at Samford this upcoming weekend, and at Western Carolina.
Had Appalachian State finished its sweep attempt of UNCG, the Mountaineers could have won the SoCon regular-season championship at Samford if they could sweep the Bulldogs. Instead, the Mountaineers will have to wait one additional weekend for the chance.
“We still control our own destiny,” Mountaineers coach Chris Pollard said. “We still won the series, and I reminded my guys of that. It doesn't feel great right now because we feel like we let one get away from us, but we still won a series and we still protected our home field.”
Samford (32-16, 18-8) is also in the thick of the SoCon title race. The Bulldogs lost 3-2 to Georgia Southern Sunday, snapping an eight-game SoCon win streak for Samford.
Second place College of Charleston (31-14, 19-8 SoCon) was off this past weekend.
Appalachian State took control of its game with UNC Greensboro by taking a 6-1 lead by the end of the second inning. The Mountaineers added a fourth-inning run to go up 7-1.
“We swung the bat well,” ASU right fielder Tyler Tewell said. “We didn't capitalize when we needed to and that hurts you.”
Then things got away from the Appalachian State pitching staff, which issued four walks and hit two batters when the Spartans scored a combined seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Zach Leach ripped a two-run triple and scored on a Lloyd Enzor single in a three-run fifth, but that was just the start of the Mountaineers' problems.
Leach finished with two hits and four RBIs. Enzor and Cambric Moye each added two hits to UNCG's 11 total.
UNC Greensboro scored four runs in the sixth inning after loading the bases with two singles and a hit-batsman. Back-to-back walks to T.J. Spina and Bobby Martin drove in two runs. Another run scored on a throwing error. Eventually, the Spartans added a fourth run when Spina scored, giving UNCG an 8-7 lead.
Appalachian State got an RBI walk from Trey Holmes in the seventh with one out, but the Mountaineers left the bases loaded. Appalachian State also had two runners on base in the eighth inning, but Hector Crespo was doubled off second on a Will Callaway line drive.
“Hector made the right read, it was just a fluke play where the ball carried him toward the bag,” Pollard said. “Hector didn't get caught out of position. If I had to do it all over again, I'd absolutely have Will swing away again.”
By then, UNCG had taken a 10-8 lead when Enzor tripled in a run, and scored on a Thomas Troelstrup single in the top of the eighth inning. UNCG turned a double play in the ninth inning to help seal the victory.
“Give credit to UNC Greensboro,” Pollard said. “Neither team really backed down. Both teams played well, but give credit to UNC Greensboro for staying in there and really battling.”
The Mountaineers used an RBI single from Daniel Kassouf and a three-run Jeremy Dowdy home run off UNCG starter Lee Gilliam to take a 4-1 first-inning lead. Callaway doubled in two runs in the second to put ASU in front 6-1.
Tewell, one of the runners driven in by Dowdy, finished with three of ASU's 12 hits. Dowdy, Callaway and Tyler Zupcic each had two hits.
State plays a doubleheader Saturday at Samford. The teams play a single game Sunday.
Kassouf hit his school-record-tying 16th home run of the season in the bottom
of the ninth inning to lift 28th-ranked Appalachian State to a 5-4 walk-off win
over UNC Greensboro on Saturday afternoon at Smith Stadium.
Leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, Kassouf launched the second pitch from UNCG's Tyler Hollstegge into a steady rain and high over the wall in left center field for the walk-off blast. His 16th home run of the year matched the longstanding Appalachian State single-season record shared by Pete Camelo (1982) and Andre Crawford (1986).
UNC Greensboro 10, Appalachian State 8
UNC Greensboro 100 034 020 — 10 11 0
Appalachian State 420 100 100 — 8 12 1
Gilliam, Taylor (3), Hollistegge (5), Furl (7), Jones (7) and Moye. Marcello, Farmer, Jessup (6), Helms (7), Moore (7), Frankoff (8), Port (8) and Dowdy. W—Jones (1-0), L—Moore (3-2). LOB—UNCG 10, ASU 9. 2B—ASU, Callaway, T. Holmes. 3B—UNCG, Leach, Enzor. HR—ASU, Dowdy (2). SH—UNCG, Harrison, Spina; ASU, N. Holmes 2. CS—UNCG, Leach. DP—UNCG 2, ASU 1. HBP—UNCG Harrison (by Marcello), Edwards (by Helms). Time—3:19. Att.—924