Appalachian Football @ Montana

Here we go with Week 1:

#12 Appalachian State (0-0) @ #20 Montana (0-0)

Time: 9 pm EST

TV/Video: ESPN3, ESPN Gameplan

Radio: WKBC 97.3 Wilkesboro, Charlotte, Winston Salem, Hickory & High Country; WATA 1450 Boone, Blowing Rock; WCOG 1320 Winston-Salem, Greensboro; WMFR 1230 High Point, Greensboro; WSML 1200, Burlington, Greensboro; WCMC 99.3 Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill; WZGM 1350 Black Mountain, Asheville; WTOE 1470 Spruce Pine; WPWT 870 Bristol, Johnston City; WZGV 730 Charlotte, Rock Hill, Salisbury; WDNC 620 Durham, Raleigh; WHKP 1450 Hendersonville; WAZZ 1490 Fayetteville; WLON 1050 Lincolnton

Washington-Grizzly Stadium         

Surface: Field Turf

Capacity: 25,217

Jeff Sagarin Ratings: 

App State: 62.99

Montana: 61.61

Home: 3.01 points

Montana is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 1 ½  points (rounded).

Series: Montana leads 2-1

Last Meeting: Appalachian 35, Montana 27, September 8, 2012

WXAPP’s Missoula Gameday Weather Trends:

Mostly Sunny Skies, Kickoff Temps: Mid 80’s, Halftime: Mid to upper 70’s, End of game: Lower 70’s. Mostly clear throughout     


            It has been a quarter century since there has been this much change in the Appalachian State football program. The offseason after the 1988 campaign still does not compare to the earth shaking changes that were made earlier this spring and summer. The Mountaineers will begin the 2013 season with a brand spanking new coach, a new helmet logo, and a new conference affiliation to look forward to in 2014. There are now more scholarships in the future, as well as a twelve game season that will become the norm. Lost in the shuffle is the old traditional playoff format, whose field was increasing despite the lack of talent, and the odds of hosting a game in the typically rough December weather of the High Country. Also new on Jack Branch Drive is a defensive coordinator that hopes to restore the era of a dominant Appalachian defense, one that used to put more points on the board than the offense in some instances. There has been plenty of change in the mountains these past few months. The teacher has made way for the pupil, and he brings with him all of the lessons that make Appalachian a special place. What occurs off the field will be dealt with in the same manners as they always have, yet what happens between the lines might be what changes the most.

            Nearly a year ago, Montana visited Appalachian for the first time to open the home slate for the Mountaineers. The much anticipated contest was the first between the two schools in the regular season. Twice before, the Mountaineers had fallen on the games final play in the playoffs in Missoula. Last year was somewhat of a victory for Appalachian that healed some old wounds. It wasn’t quite a semifinal playoff win, but it was enough to quench the thirst. A thrilling game saw Appalachian bolt to a quick lead in the first quarter and clinch the victory in the closing minutes by current Jacksonville Jaguar Demetrius McCray. It was a win that was sorely needed for the Mountaineers to avoid starting the season 0-2.

            The star of the game for the Mountaineers on that night was Jamal Jackson. For Jackson, who now honors his mother after changing his last name to Londry-Jackson, 2012 was his first year as a full blown starter for the black and gold. Jackson was unconscious, completing 70% of this passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another touchdown along with 65 yards on the ground. As has been the theme this off season, those numbers will likely change. Londry-Jackson underwent knee surgery after last season to fully repair the injury he suffered in the Western Carolina game. Londry-Jackson is reportedly nearing 100%, but may never be fully healthy once the season starts. Londry-Jackson carried the ball 16 times in that game, and I would be surprised if we see half as many attempts. Also on that night a year ago, Londry-Jackson had Sean Price to throw it to, who caught a team high eight passes that night. Price will most likely not play this weekend has he serves a suspension for some ill-advised decision making. The Mountaineers will only fly as high Londry-Jackson. He needs to stay healthy throughout the season and showcase his passing ability versus his agility in the run game this weekend in Missoula.

            If a team is going to have some bad luck, and lose a player to suspension, it might as well come from the most talented position on the roster. Losing Price this weekend is a big hit, but the Mountaineers will have many weapons running routes on Saturday. Tony Washington and Andrew Peacock provide a perfect combination in all aspects for Appalachian. Washington is perhaps more of the possession receiver than Peacock, but also has game breaking ability. Washington has been honored by several media outlets for his skills in the return game. Peacock is slighter than Washington by an inch and ten pounds, but is a true x-factor on the field. Peacock was second on the team with 79 catches a year ago, and caught five or more passes in eleven games. Peacock also threw two touchdown passes in the final two games last season.

            Despite losing Steven Miller and his 1,750 total yards and fifteen touchdowns to the NFL’s Detroit Lions, the Appalachian running back situation may have improved. Former walk-on Ricky Fergerson, a sophomore, has earned the starting running back role. Behind him are converted quarterback Paul Magloire and true freshman Marcus Cox. Magloire is a true downhill runner with tremendous upper body strength while Cox can stretch the field on the ground and in the passing game. Fergerson is a bit of an unknown with only five career carries, but can hide behind the line at 5’8” and is maybe the better option in pass protection. Chances are high that all three get significant playing time on Saturday.

              The biggest question of the season is found on the defensive side of the ball. There is no question that Nate Woody has brought with him a formula that has worked in the past with what many would consider lesser talent than his previous coaching stop. Eventually it will work, but how long will it take for a very young group to really grasp the scheme? In the trenches the Mountaineers feature a pair of seasoned defensive ends in Ronald Blair and Deuce Robinson. In the middle Thomas Bronson anchors the line. Stephen Burns who started most of the season in 2012 and Greg Milhouse will also see their share of snaps at the tackle position in Woody’s 3-4 alignment. The linebackers are where the youth is officially served. Two freshmen will join two seniors who have not seen a ton of playing time over the years. John Law and Rashaad Townes are the young duo who will be joined by Michael Frazier, who is back on defense after a year at H-back, and Karl Anderson, who has played well when needed in the past. This youth at linebacker occurs every three or four years at Appalachian and the Mountaineers always seem to reload at that position. The secondary provides almost as much turnover in names as the linebackers, especially at the safety position. Joel Ross and Rodger Walker are both all-SoCon caliber bookends on their good days. Freshman Alex Gray may remind some of Corey Hall who played in the late 1990’s as a long and rangy safety that hardly ever let a receiver get behind him.

            Montana looks to be about the typical Montana from past decades. They are big on the offensive line and rely heavily on the running game. They are also experienced on that side of the ball, as the starting five have earned eleven varsity letters. Last year, despite trailing for nearly the entire game, the Grizzlies still ran the ball 45 times, even without being incredibly effective as a team. Montana averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Last year the Griz started freshman Trent McKinney at quarterback against Appalachian, who completed half of his attempts for over three hundred yards and three touchdowns, but was doomed by his trio of interceptions. McKinney is listed as the backup to Jordan Johnson for Saturday. Johnson did not play last year dealing with his own legal troubles in which he was eventually acquitted. How Johnson will adjust to the year off from live football will be something to watch. Halfback Jordan Canada returns from a near 600 yard season. The bulk of Canada’s carries came late in the season, and he was effective much of the time, averaging right at five yards per carry.

            The Montana defense has received some credit from last year being a team that was stingy against the run, allowing less than 100 yards a game on the ground. Looking at the flipside, the Griz were second to last in passing yards allowed, ranking 120th in the country. Part of that ranking was helped by giving up a 660 yard passing day to North Dakota State, but the Griz also gave up a three 300 yard passing games, and four more games they allowed 247 yards passing or more. There are a bunch of upperclassmen in the Montana secondary which makes one believe that they might have improved in that area, at least with experience, but a complete turnaround is going to take some time.

There are certainly questions marks on both defenses. One team has a very youthful group while the other has shown their holes last season. Appalachian and Scott Satterfield have embraced a mentality, “Always Attack”, that promotes running to the line quickly between offensive snaps. The quicker you go, the less time the defense has to react, and to substitute. We have seen instances of this attitude in the past, but never a full onslaught for sixty minutes. In his first game under the helm, what exactly can we expect from the virgin head coach? With all this change, one may wonder if it might be too much all at once, and wonder how long this transition will take. If there is anything about Saturday night that we can be certain of, is that Appalachian is probably going to throw the ball close to forty times. Jamal Londry-Jackson may run a few times, but if anything, it will be to keep the defense honest and it will be toward the sideline, away from any trouble. I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that the Mountaineers leading rusher, in way of yards and carries will not be Ricky Fergerson, who was not extremely healthy for the entirety of fall camp. The Appalachian defense may look rough in spots, but I believe they will be very opportunistic by forcing a key turnover. I could easily see Montana rolling up 250 yards on the ground, as the physicality of the opening game and the volume of Washington-Grizzly Stadium take a toll on a young defense. The last time the Mountaineers played in Missoula, they were flagged for ten penalties for nearly a hundred yards. That lack of focus can prolong drives, and usually favors the home team. Although Montana is coming off a 5-6 season, this is their first regular season night game in school history. The Griz have also scheduled a “Maroon Out”, where fans are encouraged to wear nothing but the schools most dominant color on Saturday evening. Appalachian has had good success on the road when schools have scheduled similar events. Appalachian is 0-9 east of the Mississippi, but that will have to change if they want to guarantee success in the Sun Belt and FBS in years to come. Conversely, the Mountaineers have faired well all time in televised games, including a 5-2 mark on ESPN Gameplan.

The First Pick:

Care Bears                   28       

Mountaineers              31

Tailgate Menu 2013

It is getting close to that time of the year again. Our good friend GreatAppSt has issued his official Tailgater’s Warning which marks the middle of his yearly countdown. What does that mean here? It means it is time to release our menu for the upcoming football season. Some may ask why this is important, to know what food you will be eating on Saturday’s in the coming months? For some, they may have an allergy or a preference not to eat a certain food, and it allows them plenty of time to plan ahead. Another reason to release a menu is that it makes us feel like the long summer is coming ever closer to an end, which brings us to our favorite time of the year.

For our most loyal of supporters, they are very familiar with how our system works. Tailgaters have either paid their “dues” up front at Fan Fest or at the first game for the entire season, or for those who prefer a game by game donation, we are also very flexible in that matter. Although the up front, full donation is always appreciated, and allows for better planning throughout the season, we understand that not everyone can shell it out all at once. Even though inflation has gone up through the years, the dues have never changed. For six full home tailgates a $50 donation per person, $100 per couple, covers everything from plates and napkins to propane and meat. There is not a better deal anywhere else. Enough chit-chat, let’s get down to the business of the menu.

The first home game brings North Carolina A&T, a 6pm kickoff, which is perfect for our most labor intensive meal of the season. Our double beer battered chicken strips are perfectly crisp and we’ll provide ten different dipping sauces ranging from traditional honey mustard and ranch to our homemade barbecue and buffalo sauces

The second home game is against Charleston Southern on September 28th. The Buccaneers will be dominated by our High Country Boil, which is kin to the typical low country or cajun boils, with a touch of the Appalachian Mountains. You will find your typical ingredients of red potatoes, corn on the cob, andouille sausage and shrimp. If you want to know the secret mountain ingredient, you will have to show up!!

Samford brings Homecoming (Oct 12th), which has been our traditional Thanksgiving feast for several years now. A turkey will be deep fried and another turkey will be smoked to a creole perfection while the sides dishes will resemble the fare you are familiar with on the last Thursday of November.

Black Saturday brings the Georgia Southern Eagles, our most hated rival. For the biggest home game of the season, we will prepare what we do best. We’ll put our baby back ribs up against anyone in the parking lot. Low and slow is the key to our super smoked ribs with a perfect Lexington-style sauce that drenches your palette.

The fifth home game of the season brings on the Chattanooga Mocs. Warm up on a late fall afternoon with our Choo Choo Chili, appropriately named for what we prepared each  national championship tailgate in Chattanooga. It is your typical bean and meat chili but with the perfect level of spice that you can dress up with your favorite toppings.

The final home game of the season, and as an FCS school, will be against our neighbors in the southern North Carolina mountains. In what could the last Battle for the Old Mountain Jug, we will go with one of our favorite dishes. Nothing says western north carolina like our slow smoked pork shoulders. Often call the boston butt, our chopped barbecue sandwiches simply cannot be beat with our eastern-style sauce.

Baseball struggles continue

Through forty-one games, the Mountaineer baseball team has experienced a season up high highs and low lows. The traditional wording sounds something like, “an up and down season”, but those words do not explain the roller coaster ride the season has been. Wins are rarely convincing in the past month, and the losses are extremely are extremely brutal. Unfortunately, there are several areas of the game where this team needs to improve, and they are running out of games. For several weeks, it was obvious any postseason play would hinge solely on the conference tournament. The conference as a whole is weaker than last year, and it appears only one team will play baseball into June.

The most glaring of weaknesses is the lack on consistent pitching throughout an entire weekend series. You can’t ask for much more from Jamie Nunn on Friday nights. Nunn is 8-3 on the season, leading the conference in wins, and is fourth in total ERA. Nunn leads all SoCon pitchers in innings pitched. If there is a team MVP for the season award, Nunn is certainly worthy of that billing.

The real issues regarding the pitching staff, is the uncertainty in what kind of starts you are going to get from the Sam Agnew-Wieland and Jeffrey Srpings. Agnew-Wieland recorded back to back complete game shutouts over a month ago, but has been struggling since then. It was seemed to good to be be true, and Sam has currently returned back to earth. Springs has been a mess as well. With your third starter, you would like to think you can get more than four innings a game. Springs has started nine games this season, and appeared in relief on three occasions, and has only recorded 43.2 innings pitched. Springs and Agnew-Wieland have given up the exact same number of runs, unearned, yet Springs has pitched 22 fewer innings.

Another glaring sore spot with the pitching is that first year head coach Billy Jones has had a real difficulty in deciding when to pull a pitcher from a game. Jones has a tendency to allow a pitcher to work through the troubles that he created, or the defense creates for him. From a fan perspective, Jones is slow to make the change, where Chris Pollard, the previous head coach, was well known for a very quick decision to replace a pitcher. To experience one extreme to another has been frustrating for all parties involved.

Finally, a result of short appearances from your starters, a first year head coach, and an inexperienced bullpen is the number of runs surrendered, and how often those runs are scored. Your opponents are going to score, but limiting those opportunities is what decided the difference between a win and a loss. On too many occasions this season, most recently against East Tennessee State on Wednesday, Appalachian has given up five runs in a single inning to their opponent. It has happened eight times, and Appalachian’s record in those games is 0-7. The Mountaineers are 24-17 on the season, and if they could only manage to limit those five run innings, their record could would be much better. Imagine how different we would feel about this team if they could add a couple more wins, and take some of those losses away. Imagine being 27-14. That is not a lot to ask for.

This season is certainly not finished. There are ten games remaining, and getting to 30 wins will not be easy. That would require six wins against the top two teams in the conference in Elon and Western Carolina, a three games series against West Coast conference leader Gonzaga, and a single game against North Carolina, who has the best record in college baseball at 41-4. Despite an extra challenging end of the season, it might be what the Mountaineers need. They have been a team this season that has played up, or down, to its competition, and perhaps the tough schedule at the end of the regular season can propel this team to a deep run in the SoCon tournament.

Ardrey Kell Spring Scrimmage

The Appalachian State football team took its talents to south Charlotte on sunsplashed Saturday afternoon at Ardrey Kell High School. It was the first such event for football using this as a way to market the program off the mountain in the backyard of its most populous alumni base within the state. Although tailgating was permitted for the event, consumption of adult beverages was not permitted and made for a somewhat late arriving crowd. Anyone who knows anything about a football practice, knows that arriving when the event starts is not that exciting. The first half hour was used for warmups, drills and stretching. Actual eleven on eleven drills began right around 2:30 pm.

What we saw was plenty of the pistol formation, using the tight end or H-back in the backfield along with a running back. The same base formation and play, with several options was used for the majority of the scrimmage. It was pretty obvious that the players were being force-fed the concept of the offense. There was plenty of zone blocking. That concept still remains a very effective way to run the football and a major part of what Appalachian does. The tight end or H-back, which we will refer to as the “trigger” was used just like any other back in the backfield. The offense remains one based on reading the defense. The triggger either picked up a blitzer, helped the line, or read the defense and went out for a short pass, by reading the coverage.

Another base play used was almost like a quarterback sweep option, where the option was a nearly lateral pass to a running back or wide receiver to the sideline if a running lane did not exist for the sweep. This was a play that was fairly successful for the offense. When the quarterback runs down the line, it brings all the attention on him running, and sucks in the safety or outside linebacker to middle of the field. When that closed up, a quick sidearm pass to a receiver made it very difficult for the defense to recover. The play puts the defensive back on an island, where he is forced to make a one-on-one tackle in open space to keep the offense behind the chains. Defensive backs make fewer tackles than any other defender on the field, which gives all the advantage to the offense. Just like how quick ball movement creates open shots in basketball, quick ball movement creates open running lanes in football.

Baseball adds series win over Ga Southern, midweek win at UNC-A

Jamie Nunn continued his consistent pitching with another strong 7 innings as the Mountaineers took game one from Georgia Southern on Friday evening 9-5. Nunn was once again over 100 pitches, and did walk four batters. He found trouble in the third inning, an inning that has become a weak spot for every Appalachian pitcher this season. Nunn allowed all four of his earned runs in the third inning. Despite the free passes, Nunn was able to improve to 6-2 on the season.

Appalachian worked the Georgia Southern pitching staff for fifteen hits. Jaylin Davis led the way with four hits and three RBI while Will Callaway added two hits and five RBI. Noah Holnes drove in the other Mountaineer run, giving the 3-4-5 hitters all of Appalachian’s RBI on the day. Josh Wilson and Taylor Thurber finished off the game allowing only two hits.

After twenty-two combined hits on Friday, App and Southern combined for only seven on Saturday afternoon in front of a record crowd at Beaver Field. Sam Agnew-Wieland gave the record crowd a show, allowing only two hits, while throwing a second complete game shutout in a week. Sam has been given several nicknames, from “Hyphen” to “Hacksaw”. The nickname of the week is Hacksaw, or Hack for short. Hack only needed 102 pitches, throwing 69 for strikes to complete the shutout.

Fortunately, for Appalachian, Hack was on fire when the Appalachian offense took a day off. The Mountaineers only had five hits, but made the most of them, scoring two runs. Will Callaway continued his hot streak with three hits. If there is one negative about Hack going nine innings, is that the Mountaineers young pitching staff is kept off the field to experience game situations.

Speaking of the young and inexperienced pitching staff, they showed their true colors in a back and forth game in which Appalachian was going for the sweep. Jeffrey Springs continues to have trouble making it deep in games, as he was able to get through 4.1  innings with his 86 pitches. Taylor Thurber came on for his usual long Sunday relief spot, but also struggled, giving up four hits in his two innings. Josh Wilson held the lead, striking out four of the five batters he faced before handing the ball over to Rob Marcello for the save with a two run lead. Marcello faced four batters. He hit one of them with a pitch and gave up three hits. Marcello was not able to retire a batter, which led to his second blown save of the season. The previous blown save came against Cornell, when Marcello gave up five runs in the top of the ninth.

From this point on, Appalachian would hit the road for a nine game stretch, including two SoCon series at UNCG and The Citadel. Greensboro is 4-8 in conference play while The Citadel is 6-6. A couple of series wins would be good for the Mountaineers, but however they came, four conference wins are needed in this stretch.

Against UNC-Asheville on Tuesday night, the Mountaineers pounded out fourteen hits, but left thirteen runners on base before eventually rallying for a 6-3 win over the Bulldogs. Chad Farmer got the start, and he has been sharing a very similar look to his outings as Springs has this season. Getting four or five innings this season from either one has been a blessing, but it comes with its adventures. Farmer was rolling along into the third inning before giving up a three run home run. The home run was all the runs Farmer allowed in his 4.1 innings while he struck out five batters. Tyler Moore would allow the tying run to come to the plate for Asheville in the ninth inning before giving way to Josh Wilson, who got the final out and his first save of the season.

The Mountaineers are now 18-10 on the season, and 8-6 in SoCon play. The remaining conference schedule is a combined 39-33 in league play, but the heavy hitters have to come to Boone while the weaker opponents are on the road. Prior to the season, we thought an 18-12 conference record was where this team would finish, and that seems to be on target for now. Considering three road conference series were played in the first half of the conference season, that number could inflate. Keep in mind, the cancelled game at College of Charleston will have huge implications on the conference tournament seeding. Currently, the top seven teams in the conference standings are separated by only three games.

Furman edges App Baseball in Game 1

It was a rough night for the Appalachian battery in what turned out to be a pitchers duel in Greenville as the Paladins won the first game of the series 3-1. The Mountaineers outhit Furman 10-7, but could not get the clutch hit that would send runners across the plate. Appalachian stranded ten runners for the game, five in the final two at bats, and six in their last four innings. The bottom third of the Mountaineer lineup was a combined 0/10 at the plate, outside of a pinch hit by Dillon Dobson. Noah Holmes was granted a night to be the designated hitter while Dobson was slumping, keeping William Head at third base. Holmes batted fifth in the lineup, pushing Jaylin Davis down to sixth spot.

Jamie Nunn (3-1, 2.00) was good enough on the mound to keep the Mountaineers in striking distance, but did not receive any support on offense, or behind him in the field. The Mountaineers committed two errors on the night, one from Will Callaway and another from Jaylon Davis. Nunn pitched seven innings, adding six strikeouts, and twelve ground outs while throwing 98 pitches. Tyler Moore worked the eighth inning on 14 pitches, but did strikeout two batters. The loss was Nunn’s first since a relief effort against Western Carolina last season.

Baseball visits Furman for first place

It is extremely early in the season, only the second conference series for both teams, but Furman has made its presence known early in the season. The Paladins are fresh off of a series win over Elon where the Paladins crushed Elon in their two wins, scoring ten runs in both games. Even more impressive was that the series was played at Elon. Furman then went on to win two games at usually strong Coastal Carolina in the midweek. The Chanticleers are now only 4-8 this season, but have lost to North Carolina, Kentucky, Elon, and NC State. Coastal’s record may not look great, but those are some good baseball programs they lost to. Furman’s other losses are to Gardner-Webb and South Carolina. Seems to me that Furman is legit, and this series will be huge in determining the SoCon race.

Furman was predicted to finish 7th in the SoCon by the coaches and 8th by the media, so this record is a surprise to everyone in the SoCon world. This is best start to a season for Furman since 2001. Last year, Appalachian had one of its best weekends of the season against Furman in a Friday game and Saturday doubleheader. The Mountaineers outscored Furman 34-7 in those three games, with the Mountaineers scoring fourteen runs in two of those games.


Baseball (7-2, 2-1) wins series over Davidson

Reminder: Baseball updates will be abbreviated until after the SoCon Basketball Tournament concludes this weekend in Asheville.

Game One:

Appalachian opened its conference schedule with a 4-1 win over Davidson on the road. Jamie Nunn continued his strong start to the season, keeping Davidson off balance over seven strong innings. Nunn scattered five hits and struck out eight Wildcat batters, while walking three batters. Nunn is now 3-0 on the season, pitching 20 innings and striking out 19 to only five walks.

William Head, who has assumed the starting role at third base, picked up two hits as did Alex Leach. The corner infielders also picked all three of the Mountaineers RBI in the game. Jaylin Davis and Preston Troutman walked twice each. Taylor Thurber pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Rob Marcello picked up his fourth save of the season.

Game Two:

Appalachian carried a 3-1 lead into the ninth inning before falling in the final at bat to Davidson. Billy Jones made his first mistake as coach by leaving in Josh Wilson for what was going to be a three inning save. The Mountaineers could only retire one batter in the bottom of the ninth as Davidson produced three runs and three hits while capitalizing on two Mountaineer errors.

Jeffrey Springs pitched well enough to win despite giving up nine hits to the Wildcats. Springs struck out six batters in six innings, but had to work for it as he threw a season high 108 pitches for the game. Wilson was relieved by Thurber in the ninth, but the damage was done, as all runs were charged to Wilson.

Appalachian had six hits in the game, but no Mountaineer collected multiple hits in the game. In all, the Mountaineers struck out ten times for the game. This was a winnable game for Appalachian, even with the offense scoring their fewest runs of the season in their second loss.

Game Three:

Appalachian woke up on Sunday morning and made up for lost time from Saturday. After only accumulating six hits on Saturday, the Mountaineers pounded out 15 hits and exploded for ten runs. The Mountaineers bolted out to a 7-0 lead and never really looked back. The Mountaineers did get into a small jam in the eighth inning, where they led 10-4, but were able get out of a bases loaded jam against the Wildcats.

Sam Agnew-Wieland (3-0, 4.82 ERA) pitched seven innings striking out eight while walking one. The “Hyphen” was also wild on occasion as he hit two batters and had two wild pitches. Luckily the offense built enough of a lead for those statistics to become moot this time around. Ryne Frankoff made his first appearance of the season and gave up a run in the eighth inning. Tyler Moore threw six pitches in the ninth inning and was rewarded with three easy groundouts.

C-Notes: Appalachian has stolen 22 bases this season, with Hector Crespo tying a school record on Sunday with his 85th career stolen base…..Both Mountaineer third baseman are batting over .380…..William Head is second on the team batting .440 while Noah Holmes is batting .381….DH Dillon Dobson may lose some AB’s to Holmes as he is batting a team low .156…Appalachian failed to hit a home run against Davidson


Baseball now 5-1 after late rally vs. High Point

Southpaw Chad Farmer will make his first start on Wednesday afternoon against High Point. This will be Farmer’s third career start and his first since his freshman year in 2011. Coincidentally, Farmer’s first career loss came to High Point. Farmer has primarily been a long reliever throughout his career, mostly being used when the Mountaineers were trailing in games. Farmer only pitched 15.1 innings last season, all of them coming out of the bullpen.

High Point starter Ryan Retz was scheduled to start against the Mountaineers last season off the mountain, but that game was a complete washout that was never made up. Retz works mainly as the High Point first baseman, where he is one of the leading batters on the team. Retz has yet to pitch yet this season.

This game pits a battle of two different styles, as High Point has used small ball thus far this season to lead them to five wins, while Appalachian has become a team of bomb squaders, already with ten home runs on the season in only five games. Appalachian has six regulars currently batting over .300 while seven different Mountaineers have hit a home run this season, led by Alex Leach, Jaylin Davis and Preston Troutman with two home runs each.


Chad Farmer struggled from the start, giving up six hits and only striking out two batters through the first three innings before he was relieved by Josh Wilson out of the bullpen. Wilson came in a held the Mountaineers close until the bats warmed up in the eighth inning. Wilson only gave up two hits in four complete innings and is credited with his first win of the season. Once the Mountaineers tied the game in the seventh, Taylor Thurber came on and retired the side.

High point scored four runs in the first three innings, taking a 4-1 lead after the third inning and holding onto it until the home half of the seventh. High scored in the first and second innings on back to back lead off doubles to start both innings. Appalachian scored in the third inning on a slew of fielders choice plays by High Point.

Appalachian used a triple by Alex Leach, a double by Josh Zumbrook and a sacrifce fly by Will Callaway to draw even with High Point in the seventh inning. High Point used three pitchers in the inning. In the eighth, Jaylin Davis was hit in the head by a pitch and gave way for Thomas Kincaid to pinch run with one out. A single by Hector Crespo and a fly out by William Head put runners on the corners for Alex Leach. As he has done all year long, Leach came through in the clutch, delivering a two out double to left field that easily scored Head and the speedy Crespo to give Appalachian its first lead of the game

The ninth inning was left for Rob Marcello who retired the side in order on a pair of ground outs and a strikeout to end the game. Marcello picked up his third save in only the sixth game for Appalachian. Alex Leach drove in four Mountaineer runs, giving him twelve on the season. Leach is the first Mountaineer with ten hits this season. His ten hits break down to 5 doubles, 2 home runs, 2 singles and one triple. His slugging percentage is a ridiculous .958.

Conference season starts this weekend as the Mountaineers visit Davidson for a three game set.

Baseball (4-1) takes two games from Butler

NOTE: While basketball is still in season, baseball updates will be abbreviated to series entries. Once the SoCon Basketball Tournament concludes, regular baseball entries will return.

Appalachian won the home series over Butler by splitting the doubleheader on Saturday and winning the rubber match on Sunday afternoon. Both games were played in very cool weather, as Saturday was overcast, while Sunday was sunny, but very windy. Pitching was the difference all weekend long for the Mountaineers.

In game one, Jamie Nunn struck out six batter in seven innings, while only giving up two runs on five hits to get his second win of the season. Appalachian scored four runs in the sixth inning which brought on mostly by a three-run home run by first baseman Alex Leach. Jaylin Davis hit his second home run of the season , a solo shot, on a laser to left center field that never elevated over twenty feet in the air when it went out. Taylor Thurber finished the last innings of the game in a non-save situation giving the Mountaineers the 6-2 win.

In game two, Jeffrey Spring struggled for the second time this season. Many of the hits Butler got off of Springs were just finding the holes as nothing was really hit with too much power behind it. Springs was pulled in the fourth inning after giving up nine runs on nine hits. Only five of his runs were earned as Appalachian committed five errors in the game. Noah Holmes was uncharacteristic with three errors and Will Callaway was charged with two. Butler banged out 17 hits in the 12-7 win. Freshman Preston Tiller and Dillon Dobson were given starts in right field and first base respectively.

In game three, Appalachian got a decent start from Sam Agnew-Wieland. Also known as “The Hypen”, Agnew-Wieland had a rough fourth inning, giving up five runs in the frame, but otherwise put up six zeroes on the board through seven innings. Sam struck out seven batters, while only walking one. Alex Leach hit his second home run in as many days, this one a solo shot in the third inning. Brandon Burris added a two run homer in the four run seventh inning for the Mountaineers. The Hypen earned his second victory of the season while Tyler Moore worked a scoreless eight inning and Rob Marcello pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season.

Appalachian is now 4-1 on the season and will face off against High Point (5-2) on Tuesday.

SoCon Baseball SoCon Overall
Team Record Pct Home Away Neutral Record Pct Home Away Neutral
Furman 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 5-1 .833 5-1 0-0 0-0
Appalachian State 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 4-1 .800 3-1 1-0 0-0
Samford 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 6-3 .667 4-1 1-1 1-1
Davidson 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 4-2 .667 4-1 0-1 0-0
Georgia Southern 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 4-2 .667 3-2 1-0 0-0
UNCG 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 4-2 .667 4-2 0-0 0-0
Citadel 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 4-3 .571 3-1 1-2 0-0
Elon 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 4-3 .571 2-2 2-0 0-1
Wofford 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 4-3 .571 4-2 0-1 0-0
College of Charleston 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 3-4 .429 3-1 0-1 0-2
Western Carolina 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 3-4 .429 3-1 0-0 0-3