App State hung tough with stingy Georgia Southern starter Tyler Owens on Friday night, as the Mountaineers faced a one-run deficit through six innings before the Eagles closed out a 3-1 win in the series opener.
App State (10-10, 3-1 Sun Belt) will send Quinton Martinez to the mound for Game 2 against the Eagles (11-9, 2-2) on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Robbie Young went 3-for-4 at the plate, setting up a run with a single, and Luke Drumheller was 2-for-5 as App State outhit the Eagles by a 7-5 mark.
Trailing 2-0, the Mountaineers loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning against Owens, and Young came home when Andrew Terrell was hit by a pitch. The Eagles added a run to their lead in the bottom half of the inning, but App State’s Peyton Idol (hit by pitch) and Drumheller (single) opened the seventh by reaching against reliever Jaylen Paden.
A popped-up bunt was followed by a single through the right side from Young, but right fielder Christian Avant’s strong throw the plate erased Idol’s attempt to score from second. A strikeout then ended the frame.
App State starter Tyler Tuthill allowed three runs on three hits in 5.1 innings, as the Eagles scored their first two runs on a second-inning sacrifice fly and fourth-inning double.
A leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth inning came around to score on a one-out bunt single off reliever Eli Ellington, who stranded two runners with a strikeout and flyout. Ellington then struck out three batters in a scoreless seventh and pitched a scoreless eighth.
The Mountaineers left 10 runners on base through seven innings and 11 for the game, as Bailey Welch led off the ninth with a walk, but Nick Jones earned his sixth save with three strikeouts.