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Graham Smiley
Graham Smiley hit a grand slam in the second inning for Appalachian State.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Baseball Falls to James Madison

Graham Smiley belted a second inning grand slam to give the Mountaineers the early lead, but the Dukes scored in each of their final four trips to the plate, as App State dropped game two of the series 8-5 at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday.

App State (18-10, 5-6) opened the game strong. Drew Holderbach began the second inning with a double down the left field line to extend his on-base streak to 28 in a row. Xavier Moronta was hit by a pitch one batter later. Adam Quintero then singled to left field to load the bases, setting the table for Smiley’s second grand slam of the season, and third home run overall, putting the Black and Gold ahead 4-0.

Jackson Steensma impressed on the mound in the early going too. Steensma faced the minimum through four innings, erasing his only base runner, a single, with a ground ball double play in the second. Steensma finished his outing with four strikeouts.

The sophomore right-hander lost the shutout in the fifth inning, surrendering a double and a home run, before exiting with an injury.

JMU tied the game with a pair of runs in the sixth, and then scored three more in the seventh, highlighted by a two-run home run from Mike Mancini.

Austin St. Laurent tripled in the eighth inning, extending his hitting streak to nine in a row. Banks Tolley scored St. Laurent with a sacrifice fly to left field. JMU responded with a run in the bottom of the eighth.

Ryan Sleeper tossed the final 0.2 innings, picking up a strikeout in relief. He has tallied three consecutive scoreless outings.

Offensively, Joseph Zamora extended his hitting streak to ten in a row with his ninth double over that span. Quintero also went 1-for-4 and has now hit safely in nine straight.

The Mountaineers will look to salvage the finale on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1 p.m.