skip to Main Content
Banks Tolley
Banks Tolley was named a first team all-region member this season as well.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Splits Doubleheader With Georgia Southern

Three Banks Tolley bombs, capped by a walk-off shot worthy of an enthusiastic bat flip, clinched top-six Sun Belt Conference positioning for App State Baseball and a spot in the double-elimination portion of next week’s championship tournament.

Already the Mountaineers’ record holder for single-season home runs, Tolley hit solo homers in the third, eighth and 10th innings to lift App State (31-18-1, 16-12-1) to a 6-5 victory against Georgia Southern (29-25, 16-12) in the opening game of a Thursday doubleheader at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. The Eagles completed the doubleheader with a 14-4 victory in seven innings in game two.

Due to forecasted inclement weather, first pitch of the regular-season finale is now scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. with the Mountaineers’ Senior Day ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m.

App State’s 31 wins on the season are the most since 2012, when the Mountaineers set the program record with 41 victories, including an NCAA regional appearance.

Game 1
After Tolley’s 22nd homer of the season gave the Mountaineers a 4-1 lead heading to the fourth inning, he erased a 5-4 deficit with his 23rd homer of the season leading off the bottom of the eighth inning. Leading off the bottom of the 10th, Tolley drilled a 1-1 offering over the wall in left-center, as his 24th homer of the season traveled 449 feet.

Tolley three-homer game is the second in program history, joining Andre Crawford who accomplished the feat against Marshall in 1986.

An excited Tolley flipped his bat straight up into the air before trotting around the bases and being mobbed at home plate by his teammates. Beginning its final Sun Belt series of the regular season in fourth place, App State needed one win to guarantee a finish of no worse than sixth with a tournament format that forces seeds 7-10 to play in single-elimination games Tuesday in Montgomery, Ala., before the double-elimination phase of the event starts Wednesday.

After Tolley’s eighth-inning homer in Game 1 tied the score, Cody Little pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, with first baseman Drew Holderbach snagging a line drive in the air and doubling up the runner who had hit a one-out double in the previous at-bat.

Grey LaSpaluto then pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, stranding runners at the corners with a swinging strikeout to set the stage for Tolley’s heroics.

App State improved to 10-3 this season in starts by Jackson Steensma, who allowed one run over the first four innings before giving up three runs in the fifth. He struck out seven batters before giving way to Little, who pitched the next four innings and allowed just one run.

Tolley finished 3-for-4 with one walk, while Austin St. Laurent went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a two-run single. Joseph Zamora was 2-for-3 at the plate.

Game 2

Despite loading the bases with one out in the first inning, the Mountaineers were only able to score one first inning run, leaving three aboard, and the offense never found its rhythm in game two, tallying just six hits and stranding six runners in the ballgame.

CJ Boyd opened the scoring with an RBI double in the first, but Georgia Southern jumped in front with a three-run third and never relinquished the lead.

The only other offense for the Mountaineers came in the fourth when Joseph Zamora, Austin St. Laurent and Drew Holderbach hit three consecutive singles, followed by a sac fly from Banks Tolley.

Tyler Tuthill delivered a scoreless inning in relief in the sixth-year senior’s final appearance at Smith Stadium. Ryan Sleeper and Jake Beaty also each tossed a scoreless frame for the Mountaineers.

The Eagles scored five in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the seventh to pull away for a run-rule win.

App State will look to earn its fifth consecutive Sun Belt series win, and its first against the Eagles since 2013, in the rubber game on Friday.