Catamounts dump App State 9-1
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
A lengthy rain delay could not silence Western Carolina's bats Friday night at Appalachian State's Smith Stadium.
Western scored four runs before rain and lightning strikes in the Boone area forced a one hour, 54 minute delay. When the delay ended, the Catamounts added three runs in the next two innings on their way to a 9-1 victory over Appalachian State in the second game of the teams' three-game Southern Conference series.
The third game is scheduled for noon Saturday, weather permitting, after originally being scheduled for 3 p.m. Appalachian State (27-22, 12-14 SoCon) slipped to sixth place in the Southern Conference standings, just behind Furman (31-23, 14-16).
Appalachian State can jump back into fifth place with a victory over Western Carolina, or the Mountaineers could fall to seventh place if Georgia Southern (25-29, 13-16), currently in seventh beats College of Charleston on Saturday.
The Mountaineers have to find a way to slow down Western Carolina's explosive offense. Western Carolina, which pounded Appalachian State 23-5 on Thursday, has outscored the Mountaineers 32-6 and has out hit App State 36-18 in the first two games of the series.
"We get another nine innings tomorrow and we're looking forward to trying to get a win here before we get down to Greenville (S.C.), Appalachian State coach Billy Jones said.
The Catamounts (38-17, 23-6 SoCon), already leading 2-0, got a two-run home run from Bradley Strong in the second inning to put Western Carolina in front 2-0. Appalachian State (27-22, 12-14) was held scoreless in the second inning and took the field to start the third when lightning was spotted and the delay began.
That meant that Appalachian State starter Sam Agnew-Wieland's day on the mound was over. Agnew-Wieland allowed four runs on four hits and struck out one.
Relief pitcher Taylor Thurber, who started on the mound after the delay, gave up three runs in three innings before Tyler Moore took over in the sixth.
"We were hoping after the rain delay that we could put in Thurber and kind of keep it at 4-0 and scratch back in the thing," Jones said. "It's tough when you're playing from behind all day."
Moore gave up a run in the sixth, but did not give up any runs in the seventh and the eighth inning. The fifth-year senior, who was granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA because of injuries, struck out two and did not walk a batter.
"He did an outstanding job," Jones said. "He had command, he hit his spots and that's what you get when you hit your spots."
Moore was the only App State pitcher Friday to hold Western Carolina scoreless in back-to-back innings.
"I don't know if I did anything different," Moore said. "I attacked my spots and tried to get to them."
Appalachian State picked up its lone run in the fourth inning with Dillon Dobson hit a solo home run over the left field fence off Western Carolina starter Jordan Smith.
It was a rare mistake for Smith, who scattered six hits and struck out three in six innings of work. ASU's Will Callaway sent two fly balls deep to the outfield, but both were caught.
Callaway finally extended his hitting streak to 24 games after hitting a single to lead off the eighth inning. Appalachian State finished with eight hits, but just two of them went for extra bases.
"We had some better at-bats today," Jones said. "I thought we hit some balls hard, but then again, we gave in on some counts and didn't battle enough with two strikes and struck out too much, too."
Tyler White continued his march through Appalachian State pitching by going 3-for-5 with a double. White hit two home runs in the Catamounts' victory over App State on Thursday.
Strong also went 3-for-5, while Aaron Attaway, Dykota Spiess and former St. Stephens standout Jacob Hoyle each had two hits. One of Hoyle's hits was a triple, but he was tagged out by ASU's William Head after Hoyle overslid the base.
Western Carolina, the regular season SoCon champion, has won 11 straight games and 19 of its last 20 games. Western's lone loss during that streak was 12-1 at Clemson. The Catamounts have also scored at least nine runs in 19 of their games this season.
Appalachian State, after taking two out of three games from West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga over last week, has lost three straight, including a 2-0 setback to No. 2 North Carolina.
Western Carolina 9, Appalachian State 1
Western Carolina 221 201 001 -- 9 15 1
Appalachian State 000 100 000 -- 1 8 1
Smith, Waszak and Martin. Agnew-Wieland, Thurber (3), Moore (6), Marcello (9) and Zumbrook. W--Smith (7-3), L--Agnew-Wieland (6-6). S--Waszak (1). LOB--WCU 8, ASU 8. 2B--WCU, Ridings, White, Spiess, Jones; ASU, Zumbrook. 3B--WCU, Hoyle. HR--WCU, Strong (3); ASU, Dobson. SB--WCU, Attaway, Ridings, White 2, Hoyle, Strong. HPB--WCU, Hoyle (by Moore). DP--WCU 2, ASU 1.