By David Rogers. TROY, Ala. — Three home runs, including a first inning grand slam by Golston Gillespie and a 3-run shot in the sixth frame off the bat of Luke Drumheller, highlighted the potent offensive effort of App State on May 20, defeating host Troy, 12-8, and securing the coveted No. 6 seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament.
After the Mountaineers’ 5-run effort in the first two innings, Troy rallied back for seven unanswered runs, including a 5-run fourth inning that gave the hosts a 7-5 lead. Undeterred, App State cut the deficit in half in the 5th inning on an RBI triple ripped through the gap in right center by Dylan Rogers, scoring Hayden Cross.
An inning later, the Mountaineers erupted for four runs. The rally got started with a single by Austin St. Laurent, who scored moments later on a fielding error by Troy. Then Drumheller broke things open with his 3-run shot to put the High Country visitors ahead to stay.
App State got late innings relief pitching help from freshman Jackson Steensma, hurling 4.1 innings, allowing only one run on three hits while striking out eight of the 17 batters he faced.
Earning the No. 6 finish in the Sun Belt regular season standings means the Mountaineers avoid the “play-in” round of the championship tournament. Instead, they will face the No. 3 seed, Troy, on Wednesday, May 24, 10 a.m., in Montgomery, Ala.’s Riverwalk Stadium.