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CJ Boyd
In an amazing ending to the season, CJ Boyd finished the season on a 19-game hitting streak, ending his year with a .363 batting average while tying the App State single-season record with 17 home runs.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Continues Run in Sun Belt Conference In Dramatic Fashion

Despite trailing 7-0 early, the App State offense erupted for ten runs in the sixth inning on their way to an improbable 14-10 comeback victory over Troy in an elimination game at the Sun Belt Tournament.

With Troy leading 7-3, the Mountaineers began the sixth inning with back-to-back singles from Hunter Wilder and Andrew Terrell. Then with the bases loaded and two outs, following a walk to Xavier Moronta, Wilder raced home on a wild pitch to make it 7-4. Hayden Cross walked to reload the bases, and Golston Gillespie followed with a walk of his own to force in a run and make it a two-run ballgame.

Austin St. Laurent continued the rally by lining a single to left field to tie the score. On the very next pitch, Alex Reed cranked a two-run triple off the top of the wall in left field, to give the Mountaineers their first lead at 9-7. The Mountaineers were far from finished. Batting for the second time in the inning, Wilder worked a walk and then stole second to get into scoring position. Terrell then singled to shortstop and on the play Wilder hustled all the way around to score and make it 11-7. Boyd then connected on a towering 419-foot home run to left field to push the advantage to 13-7.

Boyd blasted a second home run in the bottom of the eighth to give him 17 on the season, tying Daniel Kassouf’s single-season record, set in 2012. The ECU transfer has now homered 12 times in his last 14 games.

After falling behind 7-0 four innings into the ballgame, the App State bullpen was tremendous, setting the stage for the comeback. Eli Ellington enjoyed his best outing of the season, firing two scoreless and hitless innings, striking out three, to quiet the Trojan attack.

Zach Lewis (win, 3-0) followed Ellington by retiring both batters he faced, while collecting a strikeout. Ryan Sleeper and Collin Welch combined to cover the final three innings adding two more strikeouts. Overall, Mountaineer pitching struck out ten in the ballgame, bringing their season total to 435, one away from matching the single-season strikeout record, set in 2008.

App State (29-24) opened their scoring with three runs in the fourth inning. Singles from Cross, Gillespie, and St. Laurent loaded the bases, and Terrell worked a walk to force home a run. Boyd then lined a two-run single to left-center to make it 7-3.

Led by three hits apiece from Boyd and Reed, the Mountaineers finished with 15 hits for the third straight game, giving them 34 runs on 45 hits across their three tournament games. Boyd extended his hitting streak to 17 in a row, while Moronta has now hit safely in 19 straight.

App State is back in action Saturday at 10 a.m. ET when they face off with second-seeded Southern Miss on ESPN+. A win in that contest would force a rematch with the Golden Eagles at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, for the right to play in the Sun Belt Championship on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.