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.