First off, a little housekeeping. I have been away for a couple weeks for a variety of reasons. The basketball season can get long, and I just needed a break after starting a new job in December. The slower start than some expected by the baseball season, coupled with the typically late Boone winter, provided some low moments. Winter seems to be over, and a more consistent baseball season appears to be on the horizon. Without any hesitation, I am back.
In game one of the series, the Mountaineers ran into a veteran pitcher from Wofford in Brandon Yarusi who won his first game of the season pitching the full nine innings. Yarusi used 120 pitches to strike out nine Mountaineers, while only walking one batter and giving up only four hits.
Jamie Nunn was moving along nicely until the fifth inning on Friday night. Nunn walked three batters in the inning. Wofford would record four hits, three singles and a double en route to scoring five runs in the frame. The five run inning has hurt the Mountaineers all season long, and this one would eventually do the Mountaineers in. Nunn fell to 5-2 while his ERA jumped up to 3.45 on the season.
In game two, Sam Agnew-Wieland countered Yarusi with a complete game of his own. The Hyphen struck out ten batters, yielding only five hits and walking only two. Along with sending ten Wofford batters straight from the batters box to the dugout, Wieland also forced twelve groundouts and only three fly balls. The infield did a great job behind him, completing the game without an error while also converting two double plays.
Game three was the typical rubber match as both teams combined for eleven of the games thirteen runs during the second, third and fourth innings. Appalachian edged Wofford in the bottom of the ninth with a walkoff win to take game 7-6, and the series two games to one.
Appalachian recorded ten hits on Sunday afternoon and eleven on Saturday, which led to both of their wins. When the bats are creating opportunities and giving their pitchers leads, this team can be successful. When this team struggles is when they fall behind on the scoreboard and start pressing. It is obvious that Appalachian is missing Alex Leach right now, he continues to work back into the lineup from his concussion he suffered in Georgia. Even though Leach has been out of the lineup, Appalachian has managed to stay in the SoCon race.
Six teams are separated by only 2.5 games with Georgia Southern leading the conference at 9-3. Elon comes in second at 10-5, having played one more series than the rest of the conference. Charleston sits at 7-4, while Western Carolina comes in at 7-5, followed by Appalachian at 6-5. The Mountaineers and Charleston have played one less game as their rubber match was cancelled due to rain last weekend. Georgia Southern visits Boone this weekend after losing a series to Greensboro last weekend. The Eagles also face a midweek test on the road at Jacksonville before making their way back to the mountain this weekend. The Eagles could be road weary, and this a big spot for Appalachian. In the meantime, Appalachian will hit the road to Richmond for a game against Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday. The Colonels have lost seven in a row and are 5-18 on the season.