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Austin St. Laurent
Austin St. Laurent went three-for-four batting with a run scored and two RBI.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Baseball Opens Series With Win Over Georgia State

Inning by inning, App State’s offense kept producing runs. And pitcher Xander Hamilton kept putting up zeroes.

Playing their first Sun Belt Conference home game of the season, the Mountaineers led wire-to-wire in a 10-7 victory against Georgia State, which arrived in the High Country with a 3-0 league record.

App State (12-8, 3-1) scored in each of the first six innings, and Hamilton didn’t allow a run in five of those frames as the Mountaineers built a 9-2 lead heading to the seventh.

Pitching into the seventh inning for the first time this year, Hamilton improved to 4-1 by striking out nine batters and allowing five hits in a season-best 6.1 innings. He capped his 112-pitch night with a strikeout in the seventh before giving way to Skylar Brooks, and Jackson Steensma recorded the final six outs.

He took over with a 9-4 lead, two runners on and nobody out in the eighth. A double play and flyout limited the damage, and Golston Gillespie extended the lead to 10-4 when he hit his seventh homer of the season in the bottom of the eighth.

Alex Aguila (2-for-3, three RBIs, two walks), Austin St. Laurent (2-for-2, two RBIs, one walk) and Gillespie (2-for-3, three runs scored, two walks) had multi-hit games for the Mountaineers. The night began with a dedication of the C. Philip Byers Scoreboard, with Dr. Sheri Everts and others on hand to watch Byers throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

A walk, bunt single and walk loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning for Hayden Cross, who delivered a sac fly to center. The Mountaineers loaded the bases with one out in the second on consecutive walks and a hit batter before St. Laurent hit a two-run single up the middle. Xavier Moronta later scored on a throwing error to make it 4-0, and Gillespie scored on a two-out single from Aguila in the third.

Georgia State cut its deficit to 5-2 on an RBI single and a run-scoring wild pitch in the fourth, but App State answered with back-to-back doubles from Luke Drumheller and Cross in the bottom half of the frame.

Aguila hit a two-run single to score Gillespie and Hunter Wilder in the fifth, and Wilder had an RBI groundout in the sixth to bring home CJ Boyd, who had singled and advanced all the way to third on a two-base error.

Georgia State made some noise with a three-run ninth, helped by a two-out, two-run double that included some hard-luck miscommunication for Steensma, but he induced a groundout to end the game.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday.