ASU takes first game from Eagles
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State knows it can get back into the thick of the Southern Conference race by winning its series with Georgia Southern this weekend. ASU used some timely offense to take the first round.
The Mountaineers brought some extra lumber in their 9-5 victory over Georgia Southern at Smith Stadium Friday in the first game of the two team's three-game series.
The Mountaineers hammered out 15 hits, including four from center fielder Jaylin Davis. The freshman, who drove in three runs and had a triple, said he was hitting the ball well in batting practice and carried it over to the game.
"I was seeing it good in (batting practice) and coach told me to stay up the middle, so that's what I did," Davis said.
Georgia Southern, which went into the series in first place in the Southern Conference, slipped to 19-10 overall, 9-4 in the SoCon. Elon (19-12, 11-5), which beat The Citadel 8-5 Friday, moved to within a half-game of Georgia Southern in the SoCon standings.
Appalachian State (16-9, 7-5) leaped over The Citadel (16-15, 5-5) and Western Carolina (17-14, 7-6) into fourth place in the league. Western Carolina lost to Furman 9-2 Friday.
"It's one of those things where every conference game is huge," Appalachian State Billy Jones said. "We don't pay much attention to the standings. We try to win series. We play nine innings at a time and today we were fortunate to come out ahead and (Saturday) we have to go back to work because that's a good team over there."
While Davis provided the most hits of any Mountaineer, Will Callaway arguably provided the biggest hit, a three-run home run in the fifth inning. Callaway hit a 1-2 slider off Chris Myers to give the Mountaineers an 8-4 lead that they would never lose.
It was Callaway's first home run of the season.
"It was good to get that monkey off my back," Callaway said. "It was a little stressful, but it was good to get one."
He and Davis combined to go 6-for-8 with eight RBIs. Davis drove in a run with a triple and scored on a Callaway sacrifice fly in the first inning to give Appalachian State a 2-0 lead.
Dillon Dobson, Noah Holmes, William Head and Gabe Dimock each had two hits for the Mountaineers. Holmes' RBI single in the third inning capped a three-run rally and put ASU in front 5-4. The Mountaineers rebounded when Georgia Southern scored four runs in the top of the third.
"It was real good that we answered right away," Jones said. "It could have gotten out of hand."
After Callaway's home run, the Mountaineers added a run when Davis' double drove in Dimock.
Appalachian State pitcher Jamie Nunn struggled in the third inning when Georgia Southern rallied for four runs to take a 4-3 lead. Nunn, who improved to 6-2 by picking up the win, settled down and did not give up a run in the next four innings he pitched.
"We've been playing well the last couple of games," Davis said. "We're playing together as a team and picking each other up and that helps a lot."
Nunn struck out six, walked four and allowed five hits.
"It was a good day for us," Jones said. "We played pretty good defense and Nunn was able to settle down a little bit after we really didn't help him. We hit in key situations and was able to get some separation."
Georgia Southern finished with seven hits, including two from T.D. Davis. Eagles starter Sam Howard took the loss on the mound.
The Mountaineers play Georgia Southern at 3 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Sunday. Appalachian State will start Sam Agnew-Wieland on the mound today and Jeffrey Springs on Sunday.
Appalachian State 9, Georgia Southern 5
Georgia Southern 004 000 010 -- 5 7 0
Appalachian State 203 031 00X -- 9 15 1
Howard, Myers (5), Johnson (6) and Griffin. Nunn, Wilson (8), Thurber (9) and Dimok. W--Nunn (6-2), L--Howard (5-3). LOB--GSU 8, ASU 6. 2B--ASU, Dimok, Head. 3B--ASU, Dobson, Davis. HR--ASU, Callaway. SF--ASU, Callaway. SB--GSU, Streicher; ASU, Davis. HBP--ASU, Dobson (by Howard). DP--GSU 1, ASU 1.