In one of the most dominant performances in NCAA Championship history, the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears captured…
App State Baseball Downs Old Dominion in Walk-Off Fashion
With the Mountaineers down to their final out in the ninth inning, and the home crowd roaring at Smith Stadium, App State rose to the occasion, hitting back-to-back RBI singles to tie the ballgame and then win it, 7-6, over Old Dominion Friday night.
The Mountaineers (18-17, 8-7) entered the ninth inning trailing 6-5 after the Monarchs grabbed a late lead on a go-ahead two run home run by Jake Ticer in the eighth inning. The Black and Gold got right to work. With one out, Xavier Moronta singled up the middle, and two batters later Hayden Cross drew a walk to put runners at first and second. That’s when freshman Jonathan Xureb ripped a ball inside the first base bag to score pinch runner Caleb Cross and tie the score.
Dylan Rogers was next. With a full count, the lefty shortened up with two strikes, and slapped a ground ball through the left side, just out of the reach of the Monarchs’ (25-12, 9-7) diving third baseman, to score Hayden Cross in walk-off fashion.
Xander Hamilton gave the Mountaineers a strong start on the hill. The righty worked a career-high 7.2 innings, striking out five, while walking just two. He retired nine consecutive ODU hitters from the fifth to the eighth innings.
Collin Welch (win, 1-1), recorded the final four outs of the ballgame to earn his first win of the season.
The contest was back and forth the whole way. Trailing 1-0 early, the Mountaineers plated their first two runs in the second inning, on a two-run double from Luke Drumheller to take a 2-1 lead.
Then, behind 4-2 in the fifth, the Mountaineers again seesawed in front. Moronta, Drumheller, and Cross hit back-to-back-to-back doubles to score a pair, and then after an Old Dominion pitching change, Rogers ripped a go-ahead double to right to make it 5-4.
Moronta reached base four times in the ballgame, while Drumheller extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games. Cross, meanwhile, has now reached base safely in 24 straight contests.
The middle game of the series is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. Right-hander Bradley Wilson will make the start for the Mountaineers, against ODU lefty Sam Armstrong.