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CJ Boyd
CJ Boyd holds the career home run record with his 34th and 35th home runs despite the loss.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Defeats UNC-Asheville in Walk-Off

Braxton Church drove in the winning runs with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to power App State Baseball to a dramatic 8-7 win over UNC Asheville on Tuesday night.

With a one-game break from Sun Belt Conference play, the Mountaineers (19-11) led the Bulldogs (12-19) by at least two runs from the bottom of the first all the way until the top of the ninth, when UNC Asheville plated four to take its first lead of the game at 7-6.

App State took advantage of its 1-2-3 hitters facing Bulldog relievers in the bottom of the ninth. CJ Boyd shot a single into center field and stole second to get into scoring position. Austin St. Laurent and Banks Tolley drew walks to load the bases before the left-hand hitting Church stroked a single through the right side against a lefty reliever to score Boyd and St. Laurent and walk it off for the home team.

“I was just trying to get a pitch I could hit well and do the job for my boys,” Church said of his game-winning base hit.

Grey LaSpaluto (4-0) earned the win by striking out the only batter he faced to close the top of the ninth. Starter Trey Tujetsch allowed one run on three hits with two strikeouts in three innings of work before turning it over to the bullpen. Jordan Fisher, Jake Beaty and Everette Harris combined to give up two hits and no runs over the next four innings before UNC Asheville mounted its comeback.

The top of the Mountaineers’ order provided the most damage on the day. Boyd went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, St. Laurent was 1-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs, and Tolley went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI while reaching base four times.

App State started out hot with three straight hits to begin the bottom half of the first. Boyd opened with a leadoff double. He proceeded to score just one batter later, thanks to a St. Laurent two-run home run, his ninth long ball of the year.

Tolley crushed a solo homer to left field in the third, his 13th of the season, to give App State a 3-1 lead after UNC Asheville brought home a run in the top of the frame.

App State was able to bring home two more insurance runs in its half of the fourth inning for a 5-1 lead.

After the Bulldogs scored twice in the eighth, Graham Smiley smashed a 433-footer over the left-center field wall to push App State’s lead to 6-3 before UNC Asheville’s four-run ninth inning. Smiley has homered four times in just 31 at bats this season.

App State is now 46-24 in the all-time series with UNC Asheville after the 70th meeting between the two schools.

App State will host Troy for a three-game weekend set at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. Friday’s game one is slated for a 6 p.m. start time as the Mountaineers look to take down the Sun Belt’s current fourth-place team. Live stats will be provided via appstatesports.com as well as the link to watch on ESPN+.

{Information provided by Appalachian State Athletics}