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HomeCollegeHamilton strikes out 15 to lead Mountaineers past No. 8 Coastal Carolina

Hamilton strikes out 15 to lead Mountaineers past No. 8 Coastal Carolina

By Matt Present for App State Sports. CONWAY, S.C. – App State’s offense put up six runs in the first three innings, and Xander Hamilton was nearly untouchable on the mound for the Mountaineers, striking out a program-record 15 batters in eight scoreless, one-hit innings, en route to a 11-0 win May 5 over 8th-ranked Coastal Carolina at Spring Brooks Stadium.

The win for the Mountaineers (23-19, 12-9) was their first victory against a ranked opponent since taking down 24th-ranked Wake Forest in Winston-Salem in 2020, and it marked the highest ranked opponent that App State has beaten since it knocked off 8th-ranked NC State to begin the 2013 season.

Hamilton (win, 8-2) didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. The looping, leadoff single to center was the only hit he would allow on a night in which he broke his own single-game strikeout record, as he yielded just seven baserunners in eight scoreless innings. Hamilton upped his strikeout total to 94 on the season while setting the program’s single-season strikeout record.

The Raleigh, N.C., native was dominant the entire night. He rolled a double-play ball to erase a leadoff walk in the first inning, and he went on to strike out at least two batters in six of the next seven innings, fanning the side in the eighth. The Mountaineers are now 10-2 when Hamilton starts, including a 7-1 mark in Sun Belt play.

The offense wasted no time getting on the board in support of Hamilton. CJ Boyd led off the ballgame with a double to the gap in right-center, and after advancing to third on wild pitch, he came into score on a Xavier Moronta sacrifice fly.

App State plated three more runs in the second, ignited by Dylan Rogers’ leadoff single. With two outs, Andrew Terrell and Boyd hit back-to-back singles to push Rogers across the plate. Moronta then followed with a two-run double to center to make it 4-0. Rogers and Moronta both extended their hitting streaks to eight straight games.

The Mountaineers turned to the long ball to pad their lead in the third. Hayden Cross led off the frame with a towering home run to right field, his sixth of the season, to put the Black and Gold ahead 5-0. With two outs in the inning, Alex Reed cranked his second home run of the season to increase the advantage to 6-0.

Cross has now reached base safely in 31 consecutive games.

App State continued to add on runs through the middle innings. Cross led off with a single to right in the fifth and came in to score on a Reed RBI single two batters later. In the sixth, Boyd walked and Moronta was hit by a pitch, setting up Luke Drumheller for an RBI single through the left side to make it 9-0.

Golston Gillespie joined the fireworks in the eighth inning, launching a solo home run to right field to put the Mountaineers ahead 10-0. The redshirt senior has now hit 13 home runs this season, which moves him into a tie for fifth-most in a single campaign in program history.

The Mountaineers scored one more time on a throwing error in the top of the ninth.

After Hamilton took the mound for the bottom of the ninth and walked the leadoff batter, the Mountaineers turned to Seth Whitley, who recorded the final three outs to finish off the shutout.

The Mountaineers have now posted a one-hitter in back-to-back seasons after Eli Ellington and Caleb Cross combined to one-hit UT Arlington on May 14, 2022. The win is the 23rd victory of the season for the Mountaineers, their most in a season since winning 30 games in 2013.

App State will go for a series win on Saturday at 2 p.m. when it sends righty Bradley Wilson to the mound to face off with Coastal left-hander Liam Doyle. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.


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