By David Rogers. MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Down 7-0 against No. 3 seeded Troy in the May 26 “elimination game” for the Sun Belt Conference championship baseball tournament, Appalachian State was neither done nor done in. In fact, the No. 6 seeded Mountaineers were just getting started en route to an upset win over the Trojans, 14-10.
There is an old Three Dog Night song suggesting that “one is the loneliest number.” That may very well be true, but put a zero behind it — such as the 10 runs App State scored in the 6th inning — and “one” becomes a beautiful number indeed, a “10” even, if you will.
The Mountaineers’ offensive half of the 4th inning was the ignition point. Three singles by Hayden Cross, Austin St. Laurent, and Alex Reed loaded the bases for Andrew Terrell, who worked the pitch count to 3-2 before earning an RBI walk, scoring Cross and keeping the bases loaded with just one out. We will hear more about C J Boyd’s offensive exploits later, but on this particular at-bat he singled straight to center field, allowing both Reed and St. Laurent to cross the plate, ratcheting down the deficit to 7-3.
After Mountaineer reliever Eli Ellington blanked the Trojans in the fifth frame and combined with Zach Lewis to shut out the Alabamans in the 6th inning, App State reached a pivot point. They batted around in the bottom of the 6th, scoring a whopping 10 runs that would eventually make Lewis the winning pitcher of record — even though he only face two batters, getting the final two outs of the top half of the 6th inning.
App State’s offensive eruption included Hunter Wilder scoring on a wild pitch, Terrell being forced home from third on a bases loaded walk, a 2-RBI triple off the bat of Alex Reed, a 2-RBI single by Terrell (his second single of the inning), and a 2-RBI home run by Boyd. For an encored, Boyd hammered a second home run in the 8th inning, a solo shot over the left field fence.
In the press conference that followed, Mountaineer head coach pointed out that playing Troy five times just since the first one on May 18 meant that the two teams were pretty familiar with each other and all of the contests were pretty close, with all but one being high scoring affairs.
“We have two different styles of play but when those two styles match up we seem to have very dynamic baseball games,” said Smith. “I am very proud of our guys’ resiliency.”
With the loss, Troy is eliminated from the tournament after also losing to Southern Miss on May 25, while App State advances to the semifinal round where they will face the No. 2-seeded Golden Eagles of Southern Miss at 10 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time, at Riverwalk Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.
Since Southern Miss and Coastal Carolina have yet to lose in the double elimination tournament, if either of them should lose in the the morning game, they will play a second, elimination game on Saturday afternoon. The top-seeded Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina will take on the No. 4 seed, Louisiana, in the second semifinal matchup, currently scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.
KEY INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES
- APP – C J Boyd: 3-6, 2 runs scored, 5 RBIs, HR (2)
- APP – Hayden Cross: 1-3, 2 runs scored, 2 walks
- APP – Austin St. Laurent: 2-5, 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs
- APP – Alex Reed: 3-4, 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs, 3B, one walk, SB
- APP – Andrew Terrell: 2-4, 2 runs scored, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, SB
- TROY – Kole Myers: 3-5, 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs, 2B
- TROY – Ethan Kavanaugh: 2-5, 3 runs scored, 1 walk
- TROY – Tremayne Cobb, Jr.: 2-4, 1 run scored, 2 RBIs, 2B
- TROY – Donovan Whibbs: 1-3, 2 RBIs, 2 walks
WINNING PITCHER: Zach Lewis (3-0)
LOSING PITCHER: Brady Fuller (3-4)