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Xavier Moronta
Xavier Moronta went two-for-three batting.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Opens Season With Win

In his first plate appearance as a Mountaineer, second baseman Joseph Zamora belted a two-run home run to right field part of a five-RBI day at the plate, as the Mountaineers took down Gardner-Webb in the season-opener 9-5 at John Henry Moss Stadium on Friday.

Bradley Wilson (win, 1-0) dazzled in his first start of the season, running his fastball up to 98 miles-per-hour, while striking out a career-high eight batters in four innings of one-run ball. Wilson allowed just one hit in his outing.

Zamora’s homer opened the scoring in the second inning, driving home Drew Holderbach, who was hit by a pitch one batter prior.

App State (1-0) scored at least a run in each of the next three innings at the plate as well.

In the third, Xavier Moronta led off with a double and Braxton Church drew a one-out walk. Austin St. Laurent then brought home Moronta with an RBI single. After Holderback was again hit by a pitch to load the bases, Zamora ripped a two-run single to increase the advantage to 5-0.

The Black and Gold added a run in the fourth as Banks Tolley reached on a fielder’s choice to bring home CJ Boyd who reached on a hit by pitch.

App State was hit by six pitches in the ballgame.

Then in the fifth inning, the Mountaineers loaded the bases and added a pair of runs on a walk to Moronta and a hit by pitch of Tolley to push the lead to 8-1.

Collin Welch took over for Wilson in the fifth and retired the side in order, before rolling a double-play ball in the sixth to limit the damage to just a run after loading the bases.

The Bulldogs biggest offensive inning was a three-run seventh, highlighted by a two-run home run from Humberto Torres. App State would get one run back in the next half-inning, as Zamora lifted a sac fly to left to score St. Laurent, who had reached on an error earlier in the frame.

Everette Harris made his Mountaineer debut on the mound in the eighth. Despite loading the bases with nobody out, Harris picked up a strikeout, and despite the pitch getting away, was able to get the ball to Church to tag out the runner from third base for a double play. Harris would fan the next batter and escape the inning unscathed.

Zach Lewis then came in to strike out the side in the ninth to secure the win.

App State finished the ballgame with six hits, led by a pair of doubles from Holderbach and two hit games from Moronta and Zamora.

The teams will face off in the middle game of the series Saturday at 2 p.m. with Jackson Steensma making his first start as a Mountaineer.