Baseball 6, #8 NC State 3

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.

2013 Appalachian State Baseball Preview

Luckily, I was able to in take a few innings of Appalachian’s final scrimmage before their opening series this weekend at NC State. It was hard to keep track of the players, considering the players were not wearing their numbers. It seems the team has not had as much live action as they did last year when the winter was milder in Boone.

The relatively young pitching staff will be depended on heavily this season. Returning are sophomores Jamie Nunn and Jeffery Springs who are expected to be the Friday and Saturday starters. Both Springs and Nunn had great freshman campaigns. Nunn finished 5-2 with a 4.24 ERA in twenty-three appearances, six of them being starts. Nunn spent time in the bullpen in the last half of 2012. Springs was 2-1 in twelve appearances, five starts and held a 4.80 ERA. In a weird twist, last year’s 2012 Sunday starter Rob Marcello has been moved to the closer role, where he will look to fill in production lost from Nathan Hyatt who had 16 saves in 28 appearances. Marcello had trouble getting deep into games last season. Filling in the third starter role will be junior college transfer Sam Agnew-Wieland, who began his career at Georgia State. The right-hander is considered a strikeout pitcher, but will also give up a lot of singles. His 2011 Georgia State statistics can be found here. At Middle Georgia College in 2012, Agnew-Wieland started fourteen games and went 7-3 with a 2.36 ERA with three complete games, while leading the staff in innings pitched (84.0). If Agnew-Wieland does have a weakness, he tends to hit batters quite often. His full 2012 stats can be found here.

In 2012, Appalachian had a memorable season and went to the NCAA regional for the first time in decades. Outside of their starting pitching, the Mountaineers got plenty of run support from their experienced lineup. That lineup lost several seniors to graduation and juniors to the minor leagues. Tyler Tewell was expected to catch this season, but was drafted by the Atlanta Braves after playing right field exclusively last season. Expect Preston Trouman to take over in right field. In center field, Appalachian expected to see the return of Tyler Zupcic who was injured last year in the regional against Oklahoma. Zupcic suffered a setback in rehab late last year and is expected to redshirt. His loss will affect the leadership and run production at the top of the Mountaineer lineup. Taking over in center field for Zupcic will be the freshman Jaylin Davis, who has similar tools as Zupcic. Davis can cover ground in the outfield and will be expected to steal some bases. Brandon Burris will likely be in left field. Burris spent time at several positions in 2012, but was mostly effective in left, and his bat will be counted on as he is one of the toughest outs on the team.

The infield does not see nearly the turnover as the outfield. Alex Leach will start at first base, taking over for the graduated Trey Holmes. Hector Crespo and Will Callaway provide a very solid middle infield on defense and offense. Both have the green light to steal bases and will likely be at the top of the lineup. Third base is a question mark. Noah Holmes has always played great defense at the hot corner, but his bat is shaky. Freshman Dillon Dobson could see time at third base if he can swing the bat. Dobson is maybe the best true athlete on the team. Josh Zumbrook will likely start the season at catcher, but expect to see a rotation behind the plate. Alex Minton was Zumbrook’s high school teammate at West Wilkes, so expect some competition at the position between the former teammates.

Expecting the season Appalachian had last season is a lot to ask for. Even the SoCon writers and coaches feel the Mountaineers will take a step back. The media picked Appalachian to finish fourth while the coaches picked the Mountaineers to finish sixth. Four points separated fourth place Samford, fifth place Georgia Southern and Appalachian in the coaches poll. In the media poll, Appalachian edged out Georgia Southern by one vote and Western Carolina by four votes.

Predicting the season:

Predicting a baseball season is tough, but we will try it for the first time ever. The Mountaineers are scheduled for 56 games, thirty of those  in conference. I think the Mountaineers can easily win 15-17 games in conference play. There is a fine line between the top six and the bottom five in the conference.

The 26 non-conference games include NC State, Butler, Cornell and Gonzaga in three game series. Two games series are scheduled with North Carolina A&T, Georgia, ETSU, High Point and UNC-Asheville. Single games will be played against Canisius, Eastern Kentucky, Campbell and North Carolina. I expect the Mountaineers to also win 16-17 games in non-conference action. So, in the end, I think we are looking at a team that can go 32-24 give or take a few games and rainouts. Appalachian will only be as good as their pitching staff this season, which is very young, but also talented. Middle relief will be heavily relied upon early on. Run production will come, and Appalachian will need a find a way to replace the base stealing, and extra base hits that the team excelled in last season.

@GoASU Memorable Games #2

Catching up with the GoASU memorable games countdown starting on July 4th

Game 2: Baseball 6, Virginia 5

We ranked this game at the #3 spot in our countdown. This was a truly memorable game considering what was at stake. Both Appalachian and Virginia were playing for the right to be beaten twice in a regional championship. The game was played a day late, but brought a great crowd on a Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville. The Mountaineers jumped on the Cavaliers early with six runs in the first two innings. Seth Grant pitched his heart out before giving way to Ryne Frankoff and Nathan Hyatt to close the game.

We improved to 18/29 in the countdown and will most assuredly guess the top game correctly, which we believe is the 1-0 Baseball win over LSU.


@GoASU Memorable Games 9-5

Catching up with the GoASU memorable games countdown starting on July 4th

Games 9: Women’s Indoor Track wins SoCon Title

We had this moment ranked 8th on our countdown. Our track and field program has been so dominant, it should be news when we they don’t take home the title. The women ran away with the title by over 40 points. Our record moves to 12/22 for the challenge

Game 8: Women’s Basketball Claims share of SoCon Regular Season Title

We totally disagree with this selection, mainly because of what it might take away from this team as the countdown progresses. It was nice to win the conference title, but we get a feeling this team is already tired of that being their accomplishment in conference play. This team wants to go earn the berth the NCAA tournament, not clinch a top seed at the conference tournament. This game was nowhere near our countdown and its a huge miss. We fall to 12/23.

Game 7: Men’s Track and Field wins SoCon Title

We had this meet ranked 14th overall. As we mentioned above, the track and field teams are so good at Appalachian, and our only real threat on the men’s side has been Western Carolina. This was the third win in a row and 18th overall for the men. We get our game back and move to 13/24.

Game 6: Women’s Outdoor Track wins Conference Championship

Seems like the countdown is stuck on repeat, but that’s not a bad thing in this case. This gives us our 14th correct guess on the countdown out of 25 games picked.

Game 5: Baseball 5, Western Carolina 4

This was a game that could have taken home top honors as well. The Mountaineers scored five runs in the top of the ninth to clinch their first SoCon title in 25 years. This game was extra special as a rain delay gave the Mountaineers the information they needed. Charleston had lost to UNCG and all the Mountaineers needed to do was win and they did it in the most dramatic fashion. That moves us to 15/26 on the countdown.

With four games remaining, it will be interesting to see what games were selected to top the previous moments. Football will certainly make another appearance, and it is likely Baseball could make two more appearances. Does Women’s Basketball sneak in and grab another game?

@GoASU Memorable Games 15-10

Catching up with the GoASU memorable games countdown starting on July 4th.

Game 15: Women’s Golf Repeats at Low Country

This was a pretty simple pick. Like the Men’s golf team, this was their only tournament victory of the season so we felt confident about this pick. Most likely the only appearance by the Women’s golf team on the countdown. Yue Xu added on to her stellar career with a third place overall finish. This victory gets us back to. 500 on the countdown at 8/16.

Game 14: Baseball 5, Oklahoma 4, NCAA Regional opener

We obviously had this game ranked on our countdown, but we were way off in ranking it. We had this ranked at #7, considering how long it had been since the baseball team even appeared in the NCAA tournament, much less get a win in the opening game. Ryan Arrowood took a no-hitter deep into the game and the Mountaineers held off the Sooners in the final innings. We will take the win in the countdown to move us to 9/17, but this was still somewhat of a miss. We just thought this game meant so much more.

Game 13: Wrestling 21, Chattanooga 17

With consecutive games, or moments we have misjudged the importance of a game to a particular team. We had this game ranked at #5 in our countdown. This was the match that wrestling had to win to have a chance at winning the title and they took to the road and made it happen. We will still take it and that moves our record to 10/18, with our third straight victory.

Game 12: Relay Squad breaks school record, finished 14th at Nationals

Let’s call this miss a baseball hangover. This was a memorable moment but it occurred in the shadows of the baseball season. It’s a miss for us and we totally whiffed on putting this in our countdown. Our winning streak comes to a halt at three and dropped us to 10/19 for the challenge.

Game 11: Baseball wins series with 11-1 beating of LSU

This one does not make sense to us. This game we felt had potential to be considered at the top spot for the most memorable games. This game or moment coming in at 11th is confusing. We had this game ranked at the #2 spot overall. Either the 1-0 win over LSU in baseball is more memorable than the series clinching win or it does not make the countdown. We are not buying it, but will gladly take the win to move us to 11/20 in the countdown.

Game 10: Wrestling 39, Davidson 10

This one is more confusing than Game 11. This game is the equivalent of beating Western in football to win the conference title. You have to do it, and yes, the result gives you an outright title, but is winning the game memorable? In Wrestling, 39-10 is a beat down. It is very similar to a 60-21 football win. Yeah the match starts without a score, but it was over before it started. Mark us down for a top ten miss and our tenth miss and this likely puts us out of the running (11/21) for winning the challenge.


Baseball: Billy Jones named Head Coach

This story hit the social media world last night. GoASU has a full biography and group of quotes from colleagues. Jones seems like a blue collar guy who knows how to identify talent, which in baseball, is a vital asset to have in order to build a program. Jones has helped recruit and teach a number of major league players in his time at Oklahoma State, Arizona State, North Carolina State and Oregon State. It does say a lot about him that he coached at schools from power conferences, rich with baseball tradition.

The link here is obvious with Jones spending three seasons at NC State from 2002-04 while current Appalachian athletic director Charlie Cobb was also employed by the Wolfpack. If there is one sour note to this hire, is that Billy Jones was an assistant on a staff that was just recently replaced at Oklahoma State. It happens all the time in college athletics, but if that is the only red flag on his resume, Appalachian should be in good shape. This may cause some turnover on the current roster as is expected, but it will be interesting to see which players stick around. It will also be interesting to see if Jones keeps Chris Moore or Craig Scheffler on the staff.

Tyler Tewell and Nathan Hyatt drafted by Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves selected OF/C Tyler Tewell and P Nathan Hyatt in back to back rounds on Tuesday in the MLB Amatuer draft.

Hyatt was selected in the 13th round, (#419 Overall) while Tewell was selected in the 14th round (#449 Overall).

Hyatt set a single season record for saves with sixteen, and is still only two saves away from the career saves record at Appalachian. Hyatt worked exclusively as a closer in 2012 for the first time in his career. Hyatt has a fastball that has potential in the upper 90’s.

Tewell was drafted as a catcher, but played right field for the majority of the 2012 campaign. Tewell finished the season batting .357 with 6 HR and 45 RBI. As a catcher, Tewell has great speed, which led to him leading the team in doubles, triples, and hits.

Seth Grant Senior Season Starts

GMU 6.0  21  21  88 0.00 ND
LSU 5.2  23  25  97 3.09 L, 0-1
Rider 5.0  19  23  100 2.70 W, 1-1
Davidson 8.0  27  29  13  97 2.92 W, 2-1
Citadel 6.0  20  26  10  98 3.52 W, 3-1
Elon 9.0  30  31  11  10  117 2.72 W, 4-1
Oakland 5.0  18  21  84 2.42 W, 5-1
Charleston 8.0  29  31  12  100 2.22 W, 6-1
GSU 4.2  10  24  28  96 2.98 L, 6-2
Furman 6.0  5 23  30  96 3.27 ND
Wofford 6.2  25  27  107 3.34 ND
UNCG 6.0  24  26  110 3.08 ND
Samford 7.0  23  29  111 2.82 ND
WCU 7.0  10  30  31  11  113 2.70 ND
Samford 4.2  21  24  77 3.33 L, 6-3
Virginia 6.0  23  30  118  3.49 W, 7-3


Seth Grant was drafted in the 26th round (No. 797 overall) by the Miami Marlins. The durable right-hander set Appalachian’s single-season record with 100.2 IP, and ranks among the program’s all-time leaders with 40 career starts (fifth), 245 innings pitched (sixth) and 180 strikeouts (tied for seventh).

Appalachian State Baseball vs #23 Oklahoma NCAA Regional Championship

Appalachian had two chances to defeat Oklahoma to advance to its first ever regional championship. In the first game, Oklahoma finally cracked their regional hitting slump by tagging Appalachian pitching for 14 runs on 13 hits. Every Mountaineer pitcher who appeared was tagged for multiple runs. Rob Marcello (6-5) got the start for the Mountaineers and went five innings and gave up four runs. Jamie Nunn followed giving up hits to each batter he faced and eventually be tagged with two of his own earned runs. David Port also gave up four earned runs in 1.2 innings, but at that point, the Mountaineers were playing for the second game. Chad Farmer finished the game with two innings of work ang giving up three runs.

In game two, Oklahoma started a former first baseman who was getting his first start of the season. Drew Harrison had only pitched nine innings before the game, but lasted six innings, allowing the only two Mountaineers runs of the game. Appalachian could only muster five hits against Harrison in the loss, all from different batters.

It was a long and slow end to a season that was built on much promise. Despite the sour end to the season, this Appalachian team set numerous team and individual records that will be remembered for a long time. Ryan Arrowood set an Appalachian career wins and strikeouts record. Arrowood also set the single season strikeout record and at one point, set the innings record. Seth Grant broke the innings record the following day. Daniel Kassouf set a single season school record for home runs. As a team, they advanced to postseason play for the first time since 1986, won their first conference title since 1987, and won their first game in a regional since 1973.

Appalachian State Baseball (41-16) vs. #15 Virginia (39-18-1)

Appalachian jumped out to a six run lead after two innings and held on to beat Virginia 6-5, and advance to the regional championship against the winner of Oklahoma and Virginia, who will battle in an elimination game. Seth Grant battled for six innings, giving up six hits and five runs while striking out four batters. Ryne Frankoff came on for the seventh and eighth innings, giving up three harmless hits. Nathan Hyatt worked the ninth for his sixteenth save of the season while walking one batter and striking out another.

The offensive attack was led by a three hit effort from Trey Holmes. Preston Troutman also recorded two hits and scored a run. All six Mountaineer runs were scored by different players. The Mountaineers capitalized by throwing errors on Virginia in the second inning. Appalachian commited four errors themselves, but were able to play through the mistakes. Tyler Zupcic did not play with a strained knee ligament, and Preston Troutman played centerfield with Brandon Burris playing in left. Appalachian is now one win away from advancing to its first ever super regional. Appalachin will have two chances to win one against either Virginia or Oklahoma.