Coming into the game, it was already going to be a tall task for Appalachian to match the memorable season from a year ago. Add to it, Appalachian had to face off against a nationally ranked, in-state opponent who was giving the ball to the best pitcher in the nation. North Carolina State advanced to the NCAA Super regional a year ago and Carlos Rodon went 9-0 with a 1.57 ERA in the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference. Rodon had not lost a game he pitched since his junior year in high school until Friday against Appalachian.
The Mountaineers earned five of their six runs via the long ball, as freshman center fielder Jaylin Davis smacked a three run homer on the first pitch he saw in his college career. Davis finished with two hits in his college debut. If that wasn’t enough, defensive specialist third baseman Noah Holmes hit a solo shot in the second inning. Preston Troutman added another solo shot in the fourth inning. Holmes and Troutman batted in the bottom third of the lineup for basically all of 2012.
Jamie Nunn pitched well enough, perhaps his best start of his career since defeating Duke last season for his first win. Nunn (1-0, 1.50) allowed only three hits to a career high twenty-four batters faced, adding five strikeouts to only two walks. Taylor Thurber relieved Nunn in the seventh going 1.2 innings, holding the lead while only giving up one run on one hit. Tyler Moore got the Mountaineers out of a huge jam in the 8th inning with a big strikeout. Rob Marcello pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save.
This win will give the Mountaineers some much needed confidence for the rest of the weekend, only needing to win one more game this weekend to take the series. Jeffrey Springs, who we believe is the most complete Mountaineer pitcher will get the ball on Saturday, a game that was was moved up three hours to avoid potential winter weather. The Mountaineers should feel right at home if the weather turns cooler, especially after such an uplifting win on opening day.