Of the last five opponents Appalachian has played in baseball, four of them have had rain play a part in the games, whether it be a three games series or a single game midweek opponent. We can go back to the High Point game which was a complete rainout. The first game in the Elon series had a rain delay. The Oakland series last weekend was a scheduled doubleheader on Saturday, but the second game was postponed until Sunday. Tuesday, the East Tennessee State game was called in the third inning, which is technically another rainout. This weekend’s series against College of Charleston is forecasted to be generally seasonable temperatures, but will be cooler than what we have experienced in the past few weeks. Freeze warnings and frost will come into play on Friday Night and Saturday Morning.
Runs will most likely come at a premium, especially with the cooler weather in play. That sets up perfectly for two of the best pitching staffs in the Southern Conference. Charleston and Appalachian rank first and third respectively in team ERA. The teams are also first and or second in hits allowed, runs allowed, walks allowed and home runs allowed.
Generally, Charleston is the team in the conference who has led in most hitting statistics, but that role has been reversed, and it is Appalachian who leads in many of the power categories. Appalachian ranks first or second in the conference in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs scored, runs batted in, doubles and triples.
ASU Sr. RHP Ryan Arrowood (4-0, 5.50) vs. CofC Sr. LHP Josh Renfro, CofC, (4-2, 3.05)
Appalachian shook off a couple of early errors in the first three innings and rallied to beat College of Charleston Saturday Night in Boone. Trey Holmes commited his second and third errors of the season that led to four Cougar runs and gave them a quick 4-0 lead through two and a half innings. Appalachian chopped away with single runs in the third and fifth innings which led to a two run deficit at the stretch.
The home half of the seventh inning was when the Mountaineers finally got to work. With one out, Tyler Zupcic was hit by a pitch for the second time. Will Callaway singled on the first pitch of the next at bat, giving the Mountaineers two runners on with SoCon Player of the Month Daniel Kassouf coming to the plate. Kassouf looked at one pitch, and smashed it over the wall in right center field to give the Mountaineers their first lead of the game. With two outs in the inning, Jeremy Dowdy doubled down the left field line to give Appalachian another runner in scoring position in the seventh. Trey Holmes then hit his third home run in a week on the first pitch from Josh Renfro, which gave Appalachian a three run lead through seven innings. Renfro gave up all eleven Mountaineer hits and hit Tyler Zupcic three times and Daniel Kassouf once with pitches.
Appalachian was led by Will Callaway who had three hits and two RBI. Daniel Kassouf hit his eleventh home run of the season. Jeremy Dowdyand Hector Crespo also had two hits on the evening. Ryan Arrowood lowered his ERA for the first time all season and secured the win while staying a perfect 5-0 on the season. Nathan Hyatt collected his eight save despite giving up two walks, a run and a hit in the ninth.
ASU Sr. RHP Seth Grant (5-1, 2.42) vs. CofC Jr. RHP Matt Pegler (5-1, 2.11)
Appalachian clinched the series with an 8-2 victory over Charleston. For the third time this season, Seth Grant pitched eight innings or more and allowed four or fewer hits in picking up his sixth straight win. Grant (6-1, 2.22) struck out six batters, his second highest total of the season, in the 100 pitch effort.
The Mountaineer offense came alive in the fifth inning, which was highlighted by back to back doubles by Tyler Tewell and Jeremy Dowdy. Tyler Zupcic scored the final run of the inning on a triple, but advanced home due to a throwing error. At that point Appalachian led by 5-1 and would never look back. Will Callaway hit a three run home run in the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to twenty games. Hector Crespo stole his team leadig 21st base of the season.
ASU Jr. LHP Rob Marcello (4-1, 3.76) vs. CofC Jr. RHP Christian Powell (5-1, 1.51)
Charleston’s pitching staff finally delivered a decent effort on the weekend and avoided the sweep on Easter Sunday. Christian Powell gave up only three runs in six innings and struck out five batters in the win. Rob Marcello has now given up seven hits or more in three consective outings. Marcello (4-2, 4.30) has also allowed five runs or more in those same three outings.
Will Callaway (.407) extended his hitting streak to twenty-one games with an RBI double in the sixth inning. Callaway also stole his 17th base of the season. Jeremy Dowdy (.333) and Hector Crespo (.319) added two hits each in the loss.
Despite the loss on Sunday, Appalachian was still able to extend their lead in the conference standings. Elon lost two out of three at Furman. Wofford won the series, two games to one over Western Carolina. Appalachian’s next conference opponent, Georgia Southern, swept Davidson. Samford won two of three at home over The Citadel.
Western Carolina 7-5
Georgia Southern 8-7