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CJ Boyd
CJ Boyd went two-for-four with two runs scored.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Blows Out Winthrop

App State used a dominant mound performance from a pair of pitchers and season highs of 18 hits and 16 runs from its offense to overwhelm Winthrop 16-1 on Sunday.

After dropping their last two road games and having Saturday’s game rained out, the Mountaineers (10-4) bounced back in a big way in the weekend finale against the Eagles (6-8). Starting pitcher Jackson Steensma tied a career high with eight strikeouts and allowed only one hit over four scoreless innings. Dante Chirico, who was scheduled to be the game three starter at the start of the weekend, pitched the final five frames, allowing one run on three hits and striking out five to earn the win. The duo combined to walk only one batter as well.

App State’s offense was on fire early and often, scoring four runs in the first inning and adding 11 more over the final four frames.

Eight of nine starters tallied a hit, while six of nine scored at least one run in the onslaught. Leadoff hitter CJ Boyd shined brightest, going 4-for-6 with four runs, four RBIs, two doubles and a home run. Banks Tolley went 3-for-5 with three runs, four RBIs and a homer. Boyd and Tolley lead the team with six long balls apiece this season.

As a team, the Mountaineers hit six round trippers in two games against Winthrop. Their season total of 24 through 14 games is only five shy of the 29 they hit in all of 2022. Last year saw a major uptick with 67 homers in 55 games.

App State started the day by putting a four-spot on the board in the top of the first. After a Boyd double to lead off the game, Austin St. Laurent was hit by a pitch and then an error led to the first run of the game. App State manufactured three more with a sac fly, single and double steal to take a lead it would never relinquish.

On the mound, Steensma sat down the first nine batters he faced, fanning six of them. Steensma and Chirico only allowed two base runners past first all day. Chirico was stronger as the game went along, striking out the side in the eighth and sitting down each of the last nine batters he faced in order.

App State batters poured salt into the Eagles’ wounds over the final two innings, getting three runs on five hits in the eighth before scoring five in the ninth behind the pair of homers from Boyd and Tolley.

Other Mountaineers with multi-hit days were Xavier Moronta (3 hits), Braxton Church (2 hits) and Joseph Zamora (2 hits). Zamora scored three times from his ninth spot in the lineup. Moronta and Drew Holderbach both drove in a pair of runs.

Next up, App State will play Queens in Kannapolis, N.C. on Tuesday before opening Sun Belt play with a three-game weekend series at Texas State.