Facing surging NC State for the first time in six years, App State returned from a weeklong break and played five tight innings before the Wolfpack pulled away in a 13-2 win Tuesday night.
The Mountaineers (11-13) trailed 3-1 after Hayden Cross scored on Alex Leshock’s one-out RBI triple in the fifth inning, but Leshock was stranded at third, and NC State (11-11) hit a solo homer in the bottom half of the frame before adding nine runs off three pitchers in the sixth inning for a 13-1 advantage. The Wolfpack is 7-2 in its last nine games, a stretch that includes a three-game sweep of North Carolina.
Cross went 2-for-3 at the plate for App State, recording the first hit off NC State starter Chris Villaman with an infield single in the fifth, and an RBI single in the eighth from Kendall McGowan (2-for-4) followed a Bailey Welch walk and Luke Drumheller single.
The mound highlights included two strikeouts in a scoreless fourth inning from Jason Cornatzer, four strikeouts over 1.2 scoreless innings from Andrew Terrell, the starting designated hitter, and a scoreless eighth inning on six pitches from Eli Ellington.
At 4-2 in league play, the Mountaineers are scheduled to resume their Sun Belt Conference slate Friday with a series-opening home game against Georgia State.
Last weekend’s conference series at Coastal Carolina was postponed with the Chanticleers pausing all baseball activities for seven days, in accordance with the league’s COVID-19 guidelines. Normal Saturday starter Quinton Martinez pitched one inning Tuesday, giving up one run, and versatile pitcher Noah Hall threw the next two innings.
After a close 3-2 pitch was called a ball with two out and nobody on in the second, Devonte Brown hit a two-run homer for a 3-0 lead.
Cornatzer pitched the scoreless fourth before Shane Roberts, Jeriah Henry, Evan Mauldin, Terrell and Ellington handled the final four innings.