LAFAYETTE, La. — Another comeback in Cajun Country, this one to clinch a Sun Belt Conference road series win.
With Appalachian State trailing Louisiana by one run entering the ninth inning, Luke Drumheller delivered a two-run single to give the Mountaineers the lead, and Kaleb Bowman capped a 6-5 win by striking out the Ragin’ Cajuns’ fifth-place hitter with runners at the corners.
Just like in Friday’s series opener, Appalachian (10-12, 3-3) trailed after seven innings but rallied to post a 6-5 victory in Russo Park against the preseason West Division favorite.
With Sunday time constraints due to travel, an inning couldn’t start after 1:30 p.m. CT, and the Mountaineers had seven minutes to spare after Bowman ended the eighth inning by inducing a flyout with a runner on second base in a 5-4 game.
Pinch-hitter Hayden Cross walked to open the ninth, and Luke Allison’s sacrifice bunt put two runners on because pinch-runner Andrew Terrell beat the catcher’s throw to second base. Speedy leadoff batter Alex Leshock’s sacrifice bunt, followed by a high throw to first, loaded the bases with nobody out for Drumheller.
The league’s leading hitter with a .416 average to this point in his freshman season, Drumheller singled to left field on an 0-1 pitch to bring home Terrell and Allison.
Back-to-back strikeouts with the bases loaded left Louisiana facing a one-run deficit going to the bottom of the ninth, and Bowman retired the first two batters on a strikeout and flyout to center. A hit by pitch and single put runners at the corners with two away, and Bowman ran the count to 0-2 against Handsome Monica before recording a swinging strikeout. Bowman, who picked up both App State wins at Louisiana, improved to 3-0 on the mound this season.
If Louisiana (11-14, 3-3) had scored once in the ninth inning, instead of playing extra innings, the game would have ended in a tie because of the Sunday time rule.
App State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but Louisiana broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run fifth against Sunday starter Brandon Boone and held a 5-4 edge following Drumheller’s RBI groundout in the top of the seventh inning. Tyler Leek raced home on the play after pinch-running for Drew Beck, who had hit a long leadoff double to left.
App State’s first-inning runs came after Drumheller was hit by a pitch and back-to-back walks to Smith and McGowan loaded the bases with one out. Dalton Williams hit a sacrifice fly and Phillip Cole followed with an RBI single. Appalachian added a sixth-inning when when McGowan scored on Williams’ RBI single.
Boone, Andrew Papp and Bowman combined for 10 strikeouts. Drumheller (2-for-4, three RBIs), McGowan (2-for-4) and Williams (1-for-4, two RBIs) led App State’s offense.
The Mountaineers return to action Tuesday night at Radford and play host to Texas State in a Sun Belt Conference home series that begins Friday night.
App State Baseball would like to thank AutoStar Nissan of Boone for serving as the presenting sponsor of the 2019 season.