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Drew Holderbach
Drew Holderbach hit a three run home run in the seventh inning to give the Mountaineers the lead for good.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Powers Past Coastal Carolina in Sun Belt Tournament

Cody Little escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh inning and Drew Holderbach followed with a go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom half of the frame, lifting sixth-seeded App State to a 6-3 win over seventh-seeded Coastal Carolina in Sun Belt Championship tournament play Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.

The Mountaineers (32-20-1) staved off elimination by beating the Chanticleers (34-23) for the third time in four games this season and advanced to face the loser of a Thursday game between second-seeded Southern Miss and third-seeded Troy on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.

With the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh against Coastal, Hunter Wilder hit a ball back to the mound and sprinted down the first-base line, forcing an errant throw and reaching safely to begin the inning. Two batters later, Austin St. Laurent was hit by a pitch, setting up Holderbach, who delivered a missile over the left-field fence to push the Mountaineers in front 6-3. The home run was Holderbach’s ninth of the season and gave the Mountaineers their largest lead of the game.

Coastal Carolina loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning, but closer Zach Lewis bounced back to pick up a strikeout and a game-ending double play ball to seal the win.

App State’s pitching was strong throughout. Jackson Steensma struck out five in two scoreless innings before departing with an injury in the third. After Grey LaSpaluto came out of the bullpen to work two innings in relief, Little followed with three innings, earning his second win of the season.

Little allowed just one run on two hits, striking out three. Despite loading the bases, with the go-ahead run 90 feet away in the top of the seventh, he picked up a strikeout to keep the score tied at 3-3. App State pitching fanned 12 batters in the ballgame and stranded 13 Coastal base runners.

After falling behind 2-0 on a pair of Coastal sac flies, App State took its first lead with a three-run fifth inning. Hit by a pitch with one out, Wilder advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw and to third on a passed ball. After Joseph Zamora was also hit by a pitch, St. Laurent put the Mountaineers on the board with a sac fly to left field.

With two in scoring position after a wild pitch, Banks Tolley drilled a go-ahead two-run single off the top of the left field fence to put the Mountaineers in front 3-2. Tolley has reached base six times in nine plate appearances through two tournament games.

The Chanticleers tied the score on a solo home run from Jake Books in the sixth.

The win marks the Mountaineers’ fourth win in two seasons when facing elimination and comes in the first-ever meeting with the Chanticleers at the Sun Belt tournament.

{Information provided by Appalachian State Athletics}