Baseball Falls To Appalachian State In Series Opener
BOONE, N.C. – Despite out-hitting Appalachian State 10-6 Friday, the Spartans could only muster two runs as the Mountaineers took the series opener by a 4-2 margin at Smith Stadium.
The Blue and Gold hit into three double plays on the evening and ASU scored all four of its runs on two pitches via a pair of home runs. UNCG racked up double-digit hits for the sixth-straight contest but could not score until late in the contest.
Redshirt junior Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Virginia Tech) paced the Spartan offense, going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Senior Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) and sophomore catcher Jake Hall (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern Randolph) chipped in with two hits apiece while junior L.J. Kalawaia (Wailuku, Hawai’i/Oholone College) drove in two runs. Junior infielder Jordan McDonald had his 17-game hitting streak snapped in the game.
Sophomore Ryan Clark suffered the tough-luck loss and fell to 1-3 overall. He threw 7.1 innings, giving up four runs and scattering five hits while striking out seven. Jamie Nunn hurled his first career complete game for Appalachian State, allowing two runs on 10 hits. He also walked a batter and struck out five.
The Spartans loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first inning, but Kalawaia grounded into a double play to kill the rally. Appalachian State took advantage in the bottom of the frame as Michael Pierson tallied a two-out, three-run home run to right field to make the score 3-0 after the first inning. The Mountaineers added to their lead in the bottom of the third as Tyler Stroup hit his team’s second round-tripper of the contest to lead off the frame.
Clark settled in after the third inning as he held Appalachian State hitless over the middle frames. UNCG had a chance to break onto the scoreboard in the top of the seventh as redshirt freshman Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) singled with two outs and Hall singled to right field to put runners on the corners. However, redshirt sophomore Nin Marrero (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) flew out to center field to end the stanza.
The Spartans broke up the shutout in the top of the eighth inning. MacAneney led off with a single to short before Guite struck out looking. Junior Eric Kalbfleisch (Pilot Mountain, N.C./North Stokes) then reached on catcher’s interference and junior Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) drew a walk to load the bases. Kalawaia came up big with a single through the right side to plate MacAneney and Kalbfleisch and cut the ASU lead to 4-2, but McDonald grounded into a double play to terminate the frame. UNCG could not come up with any runs in the top of the ninth, sealing the win for Appalachian State.
The teams continue their series tomorrow at 3 p.m.