By Matt Present. CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In a game that featured six lead changes, CJ Boyd’s bases clearing double in the seventh inning proved to be the decisive blow, as App State outlasted Marshall, 9-8, to claim the series win at GoMart Ballpark.
Boyd finished the ballgame going 4-for-4, with 5 RBIs, after returning to the lineup earlier this week, after missing several weeks due to injury.
Marshall threatened to draw even in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Mountaineers rose to the occasion. With runners at the corners and one out, and a run in, the Herd attempted a safety squeeze, but App State tagged out the tying run at the plate. Then with two on, and two out, and a 2-0 count, the Mountaineers turned to freshman Jackson Steensma, who got a groundout to end the inning.
Steensma (save, 2) went on to work 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out three, to earn the save. Not only did Steensma escape trouble in the seventh inning, he stranded a runner in scoring position in the eighth, and escaped a bases loaded jam in the ninth to seal the victory.
App State (10-7, 2-0) proved their resilience throughout the ballgame. After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, the Mountaineers drew even in the second on a Boyd solo home run.
After the Thundering Herd (8-8, 0-2) regained the lead in the third, Golston Gillespie delivered a two-run home run for the Mountaineers, to put them in front, 3-2. The home run was Gillespie’s fifth of the season, and his fourth in the last six games.
With the score tied 3-3 in the fifth inning, Austin St. Laurent led the inning off with a double to the wall in left field, and three batters later Boyd plated St. Laurent with a double of his own.
Marshall re-gained the advantage not long after with a three-run home run from Owen Ayers in the bottom of the fifth inning.
App State battled back with a run in the sixth on an Andrew Terrell RBI single to make it a 6-5 Marshall advantage. Then in the seventh, the Mountaineers loaded the bases on walks to St. Laurent and Hayden Cross, sandwiched around a Luke Drumheller single. That set up Boyd who ripped a double into the left field corner for his third extra-base hit of the game to put the Mountaineers up 8-6.
App State will go for the series sweep on Sunday, with first pitch in the finale set for 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.