Furman got off to conference play to a rough start, getting swept by Charleston and losing two out of three on the road to Samford. Since the 1-5 start, the Paladins have played .500 baseball in conference play, with series wins over Elon, Georgia Southern and UNC-Greensboro. However, the Paladins went on the road to Western Carolina and were outscored 23-7 and swept for the first time since their conference opening series against Charleston. Furman is 3-6 on the road in conference play, with those wins coming against UNCG (2) and Samford. Furman scored a 5-4 win over #26 Georgia on Tuesday.
This is a very important series for the Mountaineers. The weather over the past month of the season has absolutely had an effect on the team rhythm. After two midweek games were rained out against Eastern Kentucky, it brings the total to four rainouts on the season, all in the middle of the week.
ASU Sr. RHP Ryan Arrowood (6-0, 4.18) vs FU Sr. RHP Bobby Lyne (5-3, 3.78)
Appalachian sent thirty-eight batters to the plate Friday evening in a 14-2 romp over the Furman Paladins. The night was highlighted by several great performaces by the Appalachian battery. Daniel Kassouf went 4/5 with 3 RBI and hit his 14th and 15th home runs of the season. Kassouf is now one home run shy of the school record. Not to be outdone, Tyler Zupcic hit his second homerun of the season, a grand slam in a seven run sixth inning that broke the game wide open. It was Zupcic’s first grand slam at any level of baseball. Zupcic finished with three hits as did leadoff batter Hector Crespo.
Ryan Arrowood scattered seven hits and moved to 7-0 on the season. Arrowood did not walk a batter for the first time all season. Arrowood also went seven innings for the third consecutive start, and for the fifth time this season. The senior also recorded five strikeouts on the night, to give him sixty strikeouts on the season.
ASU Sr. RHP Seth Grant (6-2, 2.98) vs FU Jr. LHP Nate Smith (3-4, 6.39)
Games two and three were played as a doubleheader to avoid incoming inclement weather, but that did not slow down the Mountaineer offense. After eighteen hits on Friday, Appalachian pounded out seventeen hits in the second game. However, the hits did not produce many runs, as Appalachian needed its final at bat to hold off Furman. Tyler Zupcic led off the ninth inning with a single on a 1-2 count to put the winning run on base with nobody out. Will Callaway who had been in a hitting slump, bunted between first base and the pitchers mound and reached based to put Zupcic in scoring position. That brought Daniel Kassouf to the plate with a chance to be the hero. Kassouf was hit by the third pitch in the at bat to move all the runners up a base. Zupcic was 90 feet away with still no outs in the inning. All that was needed was a fly ball to the outfield to get the speedy Zupcic to the plate. Tyler Tewell fouled off the first pitch of the at bat before ripping a sharp single off the first baseman’s glove into right field which brought in the winning run. It was Appalachian’s second walk off win of the season, but the first one in a nine inning game. The win clinched the series and it was Appalachian’s first one run win since March 18th.
Appalachian’s pitching staff allowed Furman a leadoff baserunner in every inning except the first. The Mountaineers lone error came on a throw over to third base to check a runner and was charged to Seth Grant. The error allowed a run to score. Nathan Hyatt earned his first win of the season pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Tyler Zupcic, Tyler Tewell, Noah and Trey Holmes had three hits each for the Mountaineers.
ASU Jr. LHP Rob Marcello (4-3, 4.59) vs FU So. RHP Tyler Wood (3-5, 6.08)
The final game was shaping up to be another close one with both teams scoreless through the first three innings. In the fourth, Will Callaway (.385, 5 HR, 38 RBI) opened the scoring with a solo home run. Daniel Kassouf followed with a double to left field. Tyler Tewell tripled the following at bat to score Kassouf. Jeremy Dowdy scored Tewell with a groundout to the shortstop. The score remained 3-0 until the sixth inning, when Appalachian opened the inning with three straight singles from Zupcic, Callaway and Kassouf, who drove in Zupcic. A walk to Trey Holmes and two wild pitches allowed another run to score, which set up Preston Troutman, who tripled to score Holmes and Tewell.
In the seventh inning, Hector Crespo (.322, 25 BB, 26 SB) led off with a walk. Zupcic (.322, 11 2B, 26 RBI) doubled in Crespo to move the score to 8-0. Callaway and Kassouf (.387, 15 HR, 45 RBI) were both hit by pitches unintentionally to load the bases for Tyler Tewell (.393, 5 HR, 36 RBI), who hit the second grand slam of the weekend for the Mounaineers. Two more runs were scored in the eighth inning on a sacrfice fly by Alex Leach, and back to back wild pitches that scored Zupcic. Appalachian’s eleven hits were accumulated by seven batters, but only six players scored the 14 runs. Tewell, Zupcic and Callaway scored three times each.
Rob Marcello (5-3, 4.11) picked up his fifth win of the season, pitching six shutout innings. Jamie Nunn, Ryne Frankoff and Jordan Jessup pitched the final three innings to complete the shutout. For the weekend, Appalachian outscored Furman 34-7 and outhit the Paladins 46-25.