BOONE, N.C. — After dropping a 6-2 home game against Troy on Saturday, Appalachian State’s baseball team will attempt to win the three-game Sun Belt Conference series Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
Joel McDaniel (2-for-4, one double, one run) and Beau Myers had RBI singles during a rainy, chilly Game 2 for the Mountaineers, who were tied through three innings and trailed 4-2 until the sixth. Freshman pitcher Will Sprinkle retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced after relieving tough-luck starter Andrew Vaccacio in the sixth.
A dropped throw on a pickoff attempt set up Troy’s first-inning run, and two runs in a three-run third scored after a one-out grounder turned into a fielder’s choice instead of a double-play ball because of a fielding miscue. App State committed its first error on a double-play ball and had another error on a sixth-inning double that brought in the final two runs.
“It comes down to the ability to catch the baseball,” App State head coach Kermit Smith said. “If we simply catch the baseball, it’s a 2-2 game in the ninth. Again, I thought our pitching staff did a great job.
“At some point, we need to be tired of being average. At some point, we need to put our best product on the field every day and see what happens. That’s the disconnect. It’s not that we lost, it’s that we didn’t play the way that we are capable. We play our best and lose, fine, I can put my head on the pillow tonight, especially on a day like today. Everything was there for us to take the series today — we play well Friday night, we get a good performance on the mound and the weather is way more conducive for us than it is for them.”
Vaccacio struck out seven batters before exiting with one out in the sixth, and Sprinkle lowered his ERA to 1.42 by allowing only one hit in 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. App State catcher Riley Smith erased a steal attempt right after Sprinkle took the mound, and Sprinkle finished with three strikeouts.
After Troy (21-10, 6-5) scored in the top of the first inning, the Mountaineers (8-20, 1-10) broke even when Conner Leonard led off the second inning with a double to left field and scored on McDaniel’s single to left.
The Trojans were ahead 4-1 in the fourth when McDaniel delivered a one-out double to right. He scored from third on a two-out single to left from Myers. Troy starter Daren Osby improved to 5-0 by allowing four hits through six innings.
On Sunday, the first 100 children will receive a free App State Baseball Mini-Helmet, and a post-game autograph session is also scheduled.
Throughout the series, fans can stop by the App State Marketing table to sign-up for the App State Baseball T-Shirt Series. Fans will receive a white App State Baseball shirt for attending four Sun Belt home games and a gray App State Baseball shirt for attending eight Sun Belt home games. For fans that were in attendance Friday and Saturday, they will receive black App State Baseball shirt for attending all 10 remaining Sun Belt home games this season.
Single-game tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE as well as by calling or visiting the ticket office. Weekend games are $10 for adults and $5 for youth.