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Hayden Cross
Hayden Cross went two-for-five at the plate with a run scored and two RBI.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Baseball Gets Walk Off Win Over Gardner-Webb

In the home opener at Smith Stadium, the Mountaineers couldn’t have asked for a better ending than the one Hayden Cross delivered.

Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, the fifth-year catcher lined the second pitch he saw just beyond the reach of the Runnin’ Bulldogs diving center fielder, lifting App State to a 12-11 win.

Cross has now hit safely in all nine games this season, going 2-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored.

The walk-off double was the final swing in a game that seesawed back and forth multiple times in the late innings, featuring two ties and seven leads changes in the contest, with the Mountaineers ultimately improving to 8-1 on the year.

Cross wasn’t the only Mountaineer who provided some late-game heroics. Dylan Rogers broke a 6-6 tie with a solo home run to right-center field in the seventh, and after the Mountaineers fell behind 8-7, Luke Drumheller drilled a three-run shot to right in the eighth to put App State ahead, 10-8.

Despite the final score, this was a game that was devoid of offense early, as neither team scored until the fourth inning, and combined for just two hits through the first three frames.

Xander Hamilton started the ballgame for the Mountaineers and struck out four in five innings of work.

App State first got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Alex Aguila lined a double to left-center, scoring Hunter Wilder and Golston Gillespie.

After Gardner-Webb answered with four runs in the top of the fifth. The Mountaineers responded with four of their own in the bottom half of the frame. With one out, Austin St. Laurent reached on an infield single, and with an 0-2 count, Cross ripped an RBI double into the right field corner. Drumheller then fell behind 0-2 as well, and he too came through with an RBI double to score Cross. Later in the frame the Mountaineers loaded the bases and plated runs on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.

App State finished with 12 hits in the contest, with Drumheller and Aguila each enjoying three-hit games.

Jackson Steensma (win, 1-0) got the final two outs of the ninth inning, picking up a strikeout to earn his first career win.

The two teams will play again Sunday at 1 p.m. in the finale of the abbreviated two-game series. Left-hander Ryan Sleeper will make the start for App State. He will be opposed by lefty Tyler Switalski for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.