By David Rogers. BOONE, N.C. — For a college baseball slugfest, it was icing on the cake. Appalachian State catcher Hayden Cross ripped a 2-out, 2-RBI double to centerfield in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Mountaineers a 12-11 win over Gardner-Webb in Smith Stadium, on March 4.
It appeared that the Bulldogs’ centerfielder got part of his glove on the long fly ball, but unable to haul it in, the white orb rolled all the way to the fence, allowing shortstop Alex Aguila to score from third and third baseman Andrew Terrell to race home from second base.
The Mountaineers’ 9th inning heroics followed three home runs by the Bulldogs in the last two innings, one in the 8th and two in the 9th, to take an 11-10 lead going into the game’s final at-bat.
Neither team scored until the bottom of the 4th inning when Aguila looped a two-out double to left field, scoring Golston Gillespie and Hunter Wilder. That opened the scoring floodgates, which saw the Mountaineers drive home four more in the 5th inning, 1 in the 7th, and 3 in the 8th. The Bulldogs kept pace with 4 runs in the 5th inning, one each in the 6th and 7th, two in the 8th and three runs in the top of the 9th.
App State second baseman Luke Drumheller and Cross were the biggest bats on the day for the Mountaineers. Drumheller went hit 3-for-5, with 2 runs scored and 4 RBIs. His hits included a double and a home run. Cross was 2-for-5, with 2 runs scored and 4 RBIs. His hits included two doubles, with the one in the 9th inning putting an exclamation point on his day.
App State reliever Jackson Steensma only pitched two-thirds of an inning in the top of the 9th, facing only two batters, but picked up the win thanks to the team’s offensive outburst in the bottom of the inning. He recorded one strikeout and one foul out after three earlier Mountaineer hurlers had given up 11 runs on 13 hits.
Gardner Webb got solid offensive production from a trio of Bulldogs, including Alec Burns (3-for-5, 2 RBIs, 1 DB), Humberto Torres (2-3, 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs, 2B, HR) and Nate Anderson (4-for-5, 3 runs scored, 5 RBIs, DB, 2 HRs). GW pitcher Dalton Wood faced six batters in two-thirds of an inning and was credited with the loss.
The teams meet again on Sunday, March 5, in the finale of the abbreviated 2-game series. Lefthander Ryan Sleeper gets the start on the mound for App State, Tyler Switalski for Gardner-Webb. First pitch is at 1 p.m.