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Luke Drumheller
Luke Drumheller was Luke Drumheller went four-for-five batting with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and two RBI.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Baseball Ends Regular Season With Win Over Troy

App State baseball clinched the No. 6 seed in the Sun Belt tournament with a 12-8 victory over Troy in the team’s regular season finale on Sunday.

With the win, the Mountaineers (27-23, 16-13 SBC) bypass the single-elimination round of the tournament and will play on Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET against 3-seeded Troy (38-18, 18-12 SBC). App State tied for its best Sun Belt placement since 2021 when the squad finished sixth with an 11-10 record.

The visiting Mountaineers earned the victory thanks to consistent hitting across the lineup and a stand-out relief performance by Jackson Steensma, who had the best game of his young career while pitching more than two innings for the first time.

App State opened the game with five unanswered runs, thanks in large part to a first-inning grand slam by Golston Gillespie. The opening frame also saw walks for Xavier Moronta, Hayden Cross and Dylan Rogers, while Luke Drumheller punched a double, his first of two extra-base hits in the outing.

Moronta kept the four-run lead steady by recording all three outs in the bottom of the first from left field, including two impressive sprinting grabs. In the next inning, the junior increased the lead to five with an RBI single that brought home Andrew Terrell’s first of two runs in the contest.

After seven unanswered runs by the Trojans, the Mountaineers retook the lead with another five straight of their own. In the top of the fifth, Rogers slammed an RBI triple to score Cross’ second run of the game, cutting the Troy lead to one.

The sixth inning saw more magic for App State’s offense, beginning with a single by Austin St. Laurent, who would eventually score the game-tying run after a Trojan error, the first of two slip-ups by Troy. Drumheller followed that with a go-ahead three-run homer to score CJ Boyd and Terrell.

Steensma, who came in midway through the fifth, helped the Mountaineers pull ahead to a four-run lead by striking out his only batter faced in the fifth, three more in the sixth and three more in the seventh. The freshman pitched the last 4.1 innings, seeing 17 batters and allowing only one run on three hits with eight strikeouts, a new career high.

The Black and Gold recorded their last pair of runs in the top of the seventh. Braxton Church pinch hit and made it count with his first home run of the season, followed by an RBI double from Boyd. Boyd concluded the series with six hits, two home runs, three RBI and four runs. The score became 12-8 and would stay the same for the remainder of the game.