Mountaineers beat Eagles in 11 innings
by Staff Reports
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Michael Pierson's towering home run off the foul pole in right field snapped a 2-all tie and lifted fifth-seeded Appalachian State to a 3-2, 11-inning win over No. 4 seed Georgia Southern in Wednesday's first game at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
(21-32) advances to face Furman in a winners' bracket game on Thursday at either 5 or 8 p.m. Furman upset Western Carolina 3-2 in the second game of the Wednesday schedule.
Georgia Southern (34-21) drop to the losers' bracket and will
take on Western Carolina at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Appalachian State forced extras with Dillon Dobson's two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth, setting the stage for Pierson's heroics two innings later. Pierson gave the Apps their first and only lead of the day when he crushed Ryan Frederick's 1-1 offering off the pole to lead off the decisive 11th frame.
The Eagles put two on via a pair of walks -- one intentional -- in the bottom half, but Robert Whaley induced a popup to shortstop to end the contest.
Pierson's big hit wouldn't have been possible without a ninth-inning rally. With the Mountaineers down to their last three outs and trailing 2-1, Preston Troutman reached and went to second on a throwing error to lead off the inning. A ground out moved him to third, and after another ground out, Dobson poked a ball into left field to score Troutman and draw the Mountaineers level at 2.
The Mountaineers' rally spoiled a solid effort by SoCon Pitcher of the Year Josh Wirsu, who was in line for the win for the Eagles after allowing just one run on four hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings of work.
Wirsu's counterpart, Tyler Moore, also turned in a gem, allowing two runs on five hits in eight innings. Moore carried a no-hitter into the fourth before allowing Stryker Brown's solo home run to right.
Georgia Southern tacked on another run in the sixth, getting a one-out double from Kody Adams and an RBI single from Ben Morgan to go up 2-0.
Appalachian State halved its deficit in the top of the seventh. Pierson singled to lead off the inning and, after a pair of outfield outs, took second on a wild pitch. Jason Richman then relieved Wirsu, allowing Jaylin Davis' RBI single up the middle before getting a popup to end the frame.
After App State sent the game to extras, Georgia Southern had a chance to win it in the bottom of the 10th but could not take advantage of getting its first two runners on base. Garrett Chapman singled to lead off the frame, and Hunter Thomas was hit by pitch as the Eagles seemed to have a rally going.
After Georgia Southern fouled out on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Whaley took the mound for the Mountaineers and got Dalton Busby to fly into a double play to center, with Chapman unable to retreat to second in time on the play.
Davis was 3-for-5 with an RBI to lead the Mountaineers at the plate, while Pierson had two hits and scored twice. Kody Adams had the lone multi-hit game for the Eagles, going 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Whaley (3-1) worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win, walking two and not allowing a hit. Frederick (4-1) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing a run on one hit in 1 2/3 innings.