ELON, N.C. — Elon scored two runs in each of the first three innings as Appalachian State suffered a 10-0 road loss at Latham Park on Friday.
The Mountaineers (4-7) and Phoenix (6-8) are scheduled to finish their nonconference series Saturday with a doubleheader starting at noon. With 18 strikeouts and only three earned runs in 14 innings over his last two starts, Colin Schmid (1-0, 2.50 ERA) is the probable starting pitcher for App State in Game 2. Travis Holden (2-0, 1.64 ERA) is the probable starter on the mound for Game 3.
Conner Leonard (2-for-4) and Drew Beck (1-for-3, walk) had fifth-inning singles Friday as the Mountaineers produced four baserunners on two hits and two walks in the six innings pitched by hard-throwing Elon right-hander George Kirby, who finished with 10 strikeouts.
App State starter Andrew Vaccacio pitched into the third inning and departed following an injury visit to the mound. Reed Howell, Andrew Papp, Tristan Helms and freshman Will Sprinkle also pitched for the Mountaineers, with Sprinkle tossing two scoreless innings. He struck out three batters, including two straight after he entered in the seventh.
“I thought Andrew (Papp) and Will (Sprinkle) threw the ball well on a night that Andrew (Vaccacio) had to leave the game because of injury,” App State head coach Kermit Smith said. “You have to give a lot of credit to Elon on a night like this. They played a pretty complete game. Kirby was really good.”
Elon took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Cam Devanney’s two-run double inside the third-base bag. A single and sacrifice fly in the second doubled the Phoenix’s advantage, and App State trailed 6-0 after three innings.
CJ Brown and Alex Leshock drew walks against Kirby to account for the Mountaineers’ other baserunners against the Elon starter.
App State put two runners on in the eighth when Leshock reached second on a two-out throwing error and Robert Langdon drew a walk on a 3-2 offering, but a strikeout ended the threat. Leonard reached third base with one out in the ninth, and a pair of two-out walks loaded the bases before Josh Broughton ended the game with a popout.
Missing three opening-day starters, App State played Jason Avers in left field and gave Drake Zupcic his first start of the season as a designated hitter. Kendall McGowan did make his return with a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning.
ELON, N.C. — Elon swept a Saturday doubleheader against visiting Appalachian State, winning 5-0 and 5-2 at Latham Park.
With the bases loaded and two out in the seventh inning of the series finale, Calev Grubbs ended the Phoenix’s shutout bid by delivering a two-run single that brought Conner Leonard and Jason Avers home.
App State (4-9) got two more effective starts on the mound, as Colin Schmid (1-1) allowed two earned runs on five hits and struck out eight batters in seven innings to begin the doubleheader. Travis Holden (2-1) limited Elon to three runs and seven singles in the first five innings of the series finale, and Luke Watts struck out two batters in a perfect eighth inning.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Elon and their coaching staff,” App State head coach Kermit Smith said. “They implemented a terrific game plan, and we were unable to adjust all weekend. Their pitching staff did a fantastic job.
“Colin was terrific again today, as he has been all year. It was very frustrating that we couldn’t get him any support. Travis really competed, and I thought that Watts was lights-out at the end.”
The Mountaineers return to action Tuesday with a 6 p.m. road game against North Carolina Central at the Durham Athletic Park. They open Sun Belt Conference play next weekend with a road series against Texas State.
GAME 1 RECAP
Held to two hits in Game 2 of the series, App State trailed just 2-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to another stellar outing from Schmid.
Two of the five hits allowed by the junior left-hander didn’t extend beyond App State’s infield, and Schmid pitched seven innings for the third straight start. He struck out 26 batters and allowed five runs in those 21 innings.
The Phoenix moved ahead thanks to an RBI double and a sacrifice fly that followed a sacrifice bunt during a two-run fourth.
Elon added three runs to its 2-0 lead in the eighth inning as the Phoenix benefited from a hit by pitch, walk and wild pitch with the bases loaded and nobody out against App State’s bullpen. A hit by pitch on an 0-2 offering, a walk and a bunt single to third loaded the bases before Joe Satterfield came to the plate to begin the plate-crossing sequence.
Riley Smith and Drew Beck both went 1-for-3 at the plate for the Mountaineers, and Alex Leshock drew two walks.
Appalachian had the leadoff batter reach in the second inning (walk), fourth inning (Smith single) and fifth inning (walk) against Elon starter Kyle Brnovich, who had 12 strikeouts, three walks and three hit batters in seven scoreless innings.
GAME 2 RECAP
Elon (8-8) held a 3-0 lead before Liam O’Regan hit a solo home run in the sixth, and the Phoenix followed a pitching change with a home run from Zach Evers.
The Mountaineers mounted a threat in the seventh, when Leonard reached on a leadoff walk and moved to second on a single from Avers. A one-out walk to CJ Brown loaded the bases, ending the day for Elon starter Owen Lorenz, and Grubbs pulled a two-out single over the second baseman’s head to trim the deficit to three runs.
Elon jumped ahead with a pair of RBI singles in the second inning, and it increased the lead to 3-0 on an RBI single in the third. Holden prevented the Phoenix from adding on as he induced an inning-ending groundout with the bases loaded.
Grubbs went 2-for-5 to lead App State’s offense. Leshock, Leonard and Avers accounted for the other hits.