BOONE, N.C. — Bailey Welch delivered the breakthrough hit. Beau Myers had the tiebreaking one.
Myers’ home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning gave Appalachian State the lead in a 4-2 home victory against Western Carolina on Wednesday. His first career homer occurred two innings after Welch’s first career homer, a two-run shot, erased a 2-0 deficit and put the first blemish on a no-hit outing from Western starting pitcher Caleb Bishop.
Four batters after Myers’ homer, Conner Leonard hit a two-out double down the right-field line to bring home Drew Beck with an insurance run. App State closer Luke Watts replaced Kaleb Bowman, who earned the win by striking out two in a scoreless eighth, and capped his fourth save by inducing a 4-6-3 double play.
Overall, the mound crew of Watts, Bowman, Andrew Papp, Tristan Helms and starter Cameron Kepley combined for 13 strikeouts and seven hits allowed.
Despite opening the game with a four-pitch walk and allowing a fourth-inning run that followed a hard-luck triple, Kepley struck out eight batters in 4.1 crisp innings. After the left-handed Helms entered in the fifth to face back-to-back lefties, Papp escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam by inducing a flyout to Joel McDaniel in shallow right field and striking out the next batter on three pitches.
The Catamounts moved ahead 2-0 with an RBI groundout in the sixth, but Alex Leshock’s two-out walk in the bottom half of the inning set up a clutch, into-the-wind homer to left from Welch.
A perfect seventh inning from Papp and eighth from Bowman (2-0) preceded a 14-pitch appearance from Watts, who gave up a one-out single before inducing the game-ending groundball to Welch, who had shifted from shortstop to his normal spot at second base to begin the ninth.
Welch flipped the ball to McDaniel, who had moved from right field to his normal spot at shortstop with CJ Brown entering the lineup in place of Will Herman, a two-way player who started at second base for the first time since February 2017.
Herman, primarily a relief pitcher in 2018, had three assists and one putout for the short-handed Mountaineers (9-27). Additionally, infielder Robert Langdon recorded a hit while making his first career start in the outfield, where App State is dealing with several injuries.
Appalachian resumes its Sun Belt Conference schedule Friday with the start of a three-game series at ULM (17-19, 6-9).