ELON, N.C. — Because of weather projections, this weekend’s Appalachian State baseball series at Elon will now conclude with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at noon.
Game 1 is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. at Latham Park in Elon. Game 2 will begin at noon on Saturday and be followed by a series-ending Game 3 the same day.
Left-handed junior Andrew Vaccacio is scheduled to start Friday’s game on the mound for Appalachian State (4-6), and the projected starter for Elon (5-8) is George Kirby.
Vaccacio is 1-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 18.1 innings, as he allowed three earned runs and struck out five batters in 6.1 innings against UNCG, allowed one earned run and had seven strikeouts in 6.0 innings against UNCW and recorded the first win of his App State career by allowing two earned runs and recording eight strikeouts in 6.0 innings against Marshall.
STARTING ON THE RIGHT FOOT
With only 16 earned runs allowed in 54.2 innings this season, Appalachian State’s starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 2.63.
In addition to Vaccacio, Saturday starter Colin Schmid is 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 18.0 innings, and Travis Holden is off to a strong start as a senior with a 2-0 record and 1.64 ERA (No. 6 in the Sun Belt).
Brandon Boone has allowed three earned runs in seven innings over his two Sunday starts.
RECAPPING THE HISTORY WITH ELON
The Mountaineers and Phoenix have met 81 previous times, with Appalachian State winning 16 times.
Elon won the lone meeting in 2016 and took two of three games in 2014, as App State claimed a 10-4 victory in Game 2 of their three-game set that year.
PUTTING THE SEASON IN PERSPECTIVE
In its 90 at-bats this season, with two series against teams picked to win their leagues, App State has held the lead after its at-bat 38 times, been tied after 25 of its at-bats and trailed after only 27 of its at-bats.
HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING
When App State held a 10-1 lead after three innings at Western Carolina, it was the first time the Mountaineers reached double figures in the first three innings of a game since the 2012 team that won a SoCon title and reached an NCAA Regional scored 10 runs in the first three innings of a 15-4 win against Rider.
App State has posted at least 11 hits in four of its last six games. There was also a nine-hit performance during that six-game stretch.
SETTING THE STAGE
App State opened the 2018 season with seven straight road games before welcoming Marshall to Boone last weekend for the first home series. It wasn’t able to play Tuesday against South Carolina in Charlotte (cancelled by rain) or Wednesday against UNC Asheville (postponed/rescheduled because of snow).
The Mountaineers are scheduled to play 39 of their 55 regular-season games in the state of North Carolina.
App State has 13 returning players and 18 newcomers following a 19-36 season in which it stood at 18-24 overall and 7-12 in Sun Belt play before closing against South Alabama, Wake Forest and Coastal Carolina.
There are six seniors among the 13 returnees, and the 18 newcomers are split evenly between nine freshmen and nine transfers, including eight from the junior college level. Four freshmen and four transfers have started in hitting roles, two newcomers have started on the mound and five newcomers have pitched in relief.
Three of the team’s five homers have come from newcomers: freshman Kendall McGowan, freshman CJ Brown and transfer Drew Beck. Senior first baseman Conner Leonard has homered twice, raising his career total to 15 home runs.
ESTABLISHING A NEW STANDARD
App State has set a program record for season-ticket sales, beating the mark established in 2013, the year after the Mountaineers captured a league title and won 41 games, including two in an NCAA Regional.
App State junior Colin Schmid’s 11 strikeouts at UNCW are tied for the most by a Sun Belt pitcher this season. ULM’s Trey Jeans had 11 against Northern Kentucky one day earlier.
Schmid, who had seven more strikeouts last weekend against Marshall, has moved forward from a sophomore season in which his 79 strikeouts tied for sixth place on App State’s single-season list.
Schmid’s ERA of 3.61 in 2017 ranked fourth among returning full-time starters in the Sun Belt Conference. After posting four of his six wins in Sun Belt play last year, there were only five returning pitches with more wins in league play.
HOLDING HIS GROUND
The Friday starter in 2017, Travis Holden gave up one unearned run in five innings of a Game 3 win to end the season-opening series at UNCG, which played in a 2017 NCAA Regional and is this year’s favorite to win the Southern Conference. Last week, he allowed two earned runs, struck out six batters and issued no walks in six innings of a 13-3 win at Western Carolina.
Holden is an App State starter for the third time in four years. Saturday is set to be his 27th career start.
RANKING HIGHLY IN THE SUN BELT
Junior catcher Riley Smith is third in the league with five doubles, as App State ranks eighth in the league in that category with 21 as a team.
Senior pitcher Travis Holden is fifth among starting pitchers with his 1.64 ERA.
Junior pitcher Colin Schmid is 11th with 19 strikeouts.
Junior pitcher Andrew Vaccacio is sixth with a .191 opposing batting average.
Freshman center fielder Alex Leshock is 13th with a .346 batting average. Leshock has four two-hit games, including three times in the last four games.